BARBARESCO “The jewel of modern Italian wine”



Barbaresco is like Barolo wine made with distinctive Nebbiolo grapes grown in Piedmont region of northwestern Italy. Nebbiolos are thin-skinned, fussy grapes which make some of Italy’s finest and most expensive red wines today. Nebbiolo has been grown in Italy more than a few centuries, however their current style of prestigious dry red wine making was started late 19th century. It although makes up only a small percentage of vineyards in Italy; currently, most of them in the Piedmont region. Barabaresco’s entire annual production today is still less than 100,000 cases a year from 50 plus vineyards which is equivalent to just one mid-size wine producer in California. So it likes cultivating precious natural pearls in a large pacific ocean. 


Nebbiolo Grapes are high in tannin and acid, therefore necessary to have a long fermentation and particularly long aging process, especially for traditional wine styles, and they are often aged for 3-5 years in large wooden casks to help tame the puckery tannins, and additional aging in bottle also improves balance and flavor in the wine (long painstaking steps and time to bring to the market.). 

Today’s modern wine production techniques preserve more of the fruit flavors while minimizing tannin extraction which allows these wines to be drinkable sooner. The grape (Italian style) is unsuccessfully grown elsewhere outside to bring the original character and structure to the wine. So the region permits Piedmont Nebbiolos distinctive and prestige.

Two of the best known Piedmont Nebbiolo wines are Barolo and Barbaresco, named for the localities; villages/towns around nearby city of Alba (center of famous for white truffle country) where the grapes are grown, apart only about 15 miles but they have slightly different climate that Barbaresco grapes mature earlier than Barolo.


Under DOC (Denominazione di Origine Controllata), and DOCG (Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garntita) rules, Barolo requires at least 3 years aging and Barbaresco is for 21 months. Most Barolos are full-bodied, more robust, and tannic and take longer for maturity. Barbaresco tends to be lighter in color and body, with less tannin that soften the wine quickly, yet having delicious flavor and good acidity is excellent as food friendly wine. Both Barolo and Barbaresco are best with additional aging, and some will be drinkable 10-20 years past of the vintage.


In the comparison, Barbaresco wines are usually regarded as more elegant and refined; the Barolos are thought to be more robust and longer-lived. Barbaresoco’s wine production is about ⅓ of Barolo, and therefore the wines are not as widely available out on the market elsewhere however it’s increasing popularity and highly fashionable wine in recent years. 



Flavors/aromas:
Cherry, blackberry, strawberries, prunes, rose, violet, licorice/fennel, oak, vanilla, tobacco, tar, leather, truffles. Rich, robust and tannic wine.

Character/structure:
Much variability in color and body, depending on the vineyard and their style of winemaking. Medium to full-bodied, light to deeply colored (and lighter with age), very dry, velvety. High in tannin, acidity and alcohol (typically about 13.5%).

Food Pairing:
Best with hearty foods such as chicken cacciatore, bollito misto (boiled mixed meats with warm anchovy-garlic sauce), brasato al Barolo (beef braised in Barolo), roast veal or pheasant, stewed hare, stewed meats (stracotto), aged cured meat, and wild mushroom, salmon, tuna, or white truffles risotto, or Agnolotti pasta, well-aged Parmesan cheese. They are better for autumn and winter dishes.

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