Barolo, a village in the Piedmont region of northwest Italy, has given its name to what are possibly Italy's most profound and sought after red wines, fashioned from the enigmatic Nebbiolo grape. Traditional-styled Barolos are hard and tannic in their youth, needing at least a decade to become approachable, but new winemaking techniques have succeeded in taming Nebbiolo while retaining its intrinsic qualities. At their best, these wines possess complex aromas coupled with a firm yet elegant structure that ensures great aging potential.
The steep hills where Barolo is made provide an ideal microclimate for the grape, which is grown on the most favoured south-facing slopes. The remaining sites are planted with the less fussy Dolcetto and Barbera grapes. With the general rise in interest in Barolo over recent years, there's been an increasing move towards single-vineyard designated wines. Overall quality here is generally high, as are prices. But these are justified by the fact that Barolo is a unique and often beguiling style of red wine, quite unlike any other.