Saturday, December 6, 2014

Differences between Barolo and Barbaresco of Piedmont

Welcome to the 2nd #ItalianFWT (Italian Food, Wine, Travel) bloggers group where we feature our own thoughts and experiences on all the regions throughout Italy as we cover one region at a time. This month we feature the region of Piedmont located in northeastern Italy. 

Piedmont borders France to the west, the Aosta Valley or Valle d'Aosta to the north, Liguria to the south and Lombardy to the east. The primary red grape of this region, nebbiolo, is one of my favorites and some of the wines produced from this grape in Piedmont are some of the most highly regarded wines in all of Italy. They hold their own in comparison to some of the most famous and well-regarded wines of the world so it makes sense that I share this wonderful grape with you for our first time covering Piedmont in this group.
Barbaresco wines of Piedmont

Their are many wineries throughout Piedmont and some other regions like the Valtellina area of Lombardy that produce wines made from nebbiolo, but two of the most notable wines of Piedmont and Italy are the famous Barolo and Barbaresco wines. I've visited a number of wineries from both areas and wrote a previous article on my top 5 producers in Piedmont. Today I want to discuss the difference between these two amazing wines, Barolo and Barbaresco.
Barolo, La Morra, Novello in Piedmont


  • Both Barolo and Barbaresco are located in northern Italy in the region of Piedmont. Barolo is the name of an actual town/comune located near to Alba in the Langhe, or Langa, wine zone. Barbaresco is also named after the town/comune in the Langhe wine zone.
  • Both wines are produced 100% with nebbiolo grapes. Part of what creates the difference in these wines are the defined territories in which each producer is situated, hence why “crus” where established to decipher the differences in these wines.
  • Both demonstrate profiles on the nose and palate of truffles, tar, roses and licorice
  • Generally both wines are powerful, structured wines with lengthy finishes


  • Barolo is produced in 11 communes including Barolo, Castiglio Falletto, La Morra, Monforte, Serralunga d'Alba, Novello, Diano d'Alba, Grinzane Cavour, Cherasco and Roddi. Barbaresco is produced mostly in Barbaresco, Nieve Treiso and parts of Alba territories.
  • Barolo is known as the “king wine of Italy” and Barbaresco as the “queen”.
  • The soils of Barolo are more limestone based where Barbaresco has sandier soils
  • The tannins in Barbaresco are typically softer than those over Barolo. Barbaresco is typically a more approachable and elegant wine where Barolo is meatier, tannic with rich depth.
  • There is a 1 year difference in the aging requirements of Barolo and Barbaresco. Barolo must be aged at least 3 years where Barbaresco must be aged for 2 years. For a riserva style there is a requirement of 5 years for Barolo before release and 4 years for Barbaresco.

Vineyards in Piedmont

As you can see there are many similarities and differences between these two and the fun part is experimenting with different styles of Barolo and Barbaresco based on where they are produced. It's a perfect way to experience the differences in terroirs and the results of such. What are some of your favorites of each and have you compared and contrasted the differences in terroirs yourselves?

Thanks for joining again our 2nd Italian Food, Wine & Travel event on Piedmont, but it doesn't stop here.  Follow along with some other great blogs featuring all elements of life in Piedmont and what it has to offer.  

Here are our featured articles this month:
Cooking Chat – Porcini Mushroom Risotto with a Nebbiolo
Food Wine Click – A Walk from Neive to Barbaresco and Back
Flavourful Tuscany – Moscato and their appellations
Girls Gotta Drink - The Ultimate Guide to Piedmont Food and Wine Pairing 
Curious Appetite - A quick cheese guide to Piedmont

Make sure to join our bloggers conversations on Twitter throughout the day at #ItalianFWT .  We also post on #ItalianFWT throughout the month so feel free to join us all the time and share your Italian experiences!  

Make sure to check back on January 3rd for our 3rd Italian Food, Wine & Travel event.  Next month's feature will be Emilia Romagna!   


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