Easy to reach, Barolo is just one hour in driving distance south of Torino, the capital of Piemonte, and the same distance east of Cuneo. Both cities are served with an airport if you’re thinking to fly in the region. Barolo itself is nestled in the very heart of le Langhe, an area in the south-east of Piemonte where some of the most famous italian wines are born: Barolo, Barbaresco and Nebbiolo all come from here.

In this ultimate guide, we’ll unravel the secrets of this noble wine, exploring its origins, main features, wineries and must-try tours for 2023. So, grab a glass and get ready for a journey through the vineyards of Piedmont, where Barolo reigns supreme and let the experience unfold sip by sip.

Where is Barolo Italy?

First of all, let’s start with a bit of context.
Nestled in the enchanting Barolo region of Italy from where the vino takes its name, this wine lover’s paradise is as charming as it gets. If you pull out a Barolo map, you’ll find yourself tracing the picturesque hills and vineyards that make up this esteemed wine-producing area. But let’s not stop there. Barolo is not only a place; it’s also a DOCG (Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita), which means it has the official stamp of approval for producing some seriously impressive wines.

barolo wine map

What are the main towns in the Barolo Wine Region?

Now that you know where Barolo is, let’s explore the charming towns that call this region home. You’ll want to make sure to visit the main players, such as:

  • Barolo (of course!)
  • La Morra
  • Serralunga d’Alba
  • Castiglione Falletto.

These towns not only boast stunning views but are also the heart and soul of Barolo wine production. We also recommend a visit to the Castello di Grinzane, where Cavour, the first Prime minister of the unified Kingdom of Italy, was experimenting and creating Barolo in the XIX century.

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What is the Barolo grape?

Ah, the grape in Barolo—the key ingredient behind the magic. The noble Nebbiolo grape takes center stage in this prestigious wine. Known for its thick skin, high acidity, and powerful tannins, it’s no wonder Barolo wine has gained a legendary reputation. When it comes to Barolo, Nebbiolo reigns supreme, creating wines that are as bold and captivating. This magical grape is, in fact, also the base for another great wine coming from this region: Barbaresco!

What does a glass of Barolo taste like?

Barolo’s tasting notes are often full-bodied with complex flavors. The taste can vary depending on the vintage year and the particular winery you purchase your wine from. However, some of the general flavor characteristics of Barolo include cherry, violet, rose, red fruit, sweet spice, and earth tones. Each flavor note has a long finish and full-bodied. Its tannins are firm, yet velvety, leading to a long, lingering finish that whispers, “More, please!”

barolo italy

What are the best years of Barolo so far?

Barolo is one of the wines that get better with each year passing. This is because the same tannins, that give it its unmistakable taste, soften with time and make it easier to drink. This means that just like fine art, some Barolo vintages are hailed as masterpieces. Among the best Barolo vintages, you’ll find stellar years like 2010, 2013, and 2016. These vintages have achieved a near-mythical status, showcasing the power and elegance that Barolo is capable of. So, if you stumble upon one of these bottles, don’t miss the chance to savor every sip!

Best Barolo Wine to Try in 2023

When it comes to exploring the world of Barolo Italian wine, the possibilities are as vast as the rolling vineyards of Italy. Piemonte, with its rich winemaking heritage, offers a tapestry of Barolo wines that showcase the region’s distinct terroir.

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Our suggestions have to start with Giulia Negri’s winery. This amazing woman has inherited the production from her dad and, since then, she has massively improved the quality. it won’t be hard for you to spot Serradenari, the area in which the vineyards are, because it sits on top of the highest hill in La Morra. Otherwise, you can ask anyone in town where to find her because everyone knows this energetic woman creating fantastic Barolo! A must try is her “Barolo La Tartufaia” from 2018. Being already 5 years old it is ready to drink; however, this amazing wine doesn’t suffer aging and you can leave it in your pantry to smooth those tannins. You can expect sour cherry, a hint of licorice and eucalyptus, and a beautiful finish of toasted spices.

From the same year, we highly recommend also “Pio Cesare Barolo“. This 142-year-old company produces one of the finest Barolos you can find in the region. Located in the beautiful town of Alba, in the heart of le Langhe, we suggest you to visit them in autumn when truffles are in season: a perfect match! This wine is 100% Nebbiolo grape, produced in steel containers and left to age for not less than 30 months in French wood oak barrels. Its taste is a perfect example of elegance, mixed with ripe red fruits, hints of spices and tobacco, and significant but not overwhelming tannins. Being a Barolo from 2018 you can either stock up on it and let it age or pop up the cork and pour it into your glass straight away!

3. Azelia Barolo San Rocco 2015

 

After 8 years of aging, the 2015 “Azelia Barolo San Rocco” is the perfect Barolo to drink. This winemaker is all about tradition and slow-producing methods. The company itself is more than a century old, and the vineyards must be at least 30 years old before being used to produce Nebbiolo grape! In the glass, you will find hints of the terroir on which the grape is grown, Serralunga d’Alba: the typical aroma of licorice is very common for Barolos originating from this area. You can expect a silky taste, with notes of cherry, currant, and blueberry. In this mature wine, the tannins are well integrated.

4. Fontanafredda Barolo Vigna La Rosa 2016

 

 

Even if this winemaker is one of the biggest in Le Langhe, their wines are completely organic since the grapes are selected between 280 producers in the region. The “Barolo Vigna La Rosa” from 2016 is part of the DOCG, as you will see on the label. The name of the wine, Vigna La Rosa, is inspired by Bella Rosina, the official lover of the first king of Italy Vittorio Emanuele II. Its name is particularly fitting also considering its aroma: hints of rose can in fact be found in the glass! Bright red-ruby when poured, you will find notes of thyme, jasper, and ripe red fruits such as sour cherries, and licorice.

5. Paolo Scavino Barolo Cannubi 2018

Another century-old winemaker, Paolo Scavino is well known in le Langhe for the qualities of their wines. The 2018 “Barolo Cannubi 2018” is a perfect choice to get to know his products. Named after the most famous vineyard in the area surrounding Barolo, it is a full-bodied wine with a delicate texture on the palate. In your mouth, you’ll find cherry, and vegetable notes such as sage and thyme, with a small fresh hint of menthol at the end. Expect a rich and long aftertaste of smoked wood.

Join these Barolo tours in 2023-2024

Now that you know about which wines to choose and where Barolo is, why don’t you enrich your Barolo experience with a visit to the vineyards which produce the king of wines? Here’s a list of the best guided tours you can choose from:

Enjoy this guided tour lead by Olivia, the co-founder of Italian Wine Tales. Discover the gastronomic delights of the region, learn how to make pasta in a private cooking class and hunt truffles that you will shave on your tajarin for dinner! Discover Torino and taste the local vermouth before moving to le Langhe and visiting Barolo, Alba and La Morra. Be dazzled by the vineyards covering these magical hills and the medieval castles quielty resting at their top. It doesen’t get more authentic than this!

2. Private Truffle Hunt with Wine Tasting

Experience two of the culinary prides of Piemonte with this tour that combines a truffle hunt with Barolo tasting. First, you’ll be taken by a trifulau, a “truffle hunter” in the local dialect, to search for black and white truffles. Once these precious delicatessens have been collected, you’ll visit a local winemaker of Barolo where you’ll learn the production methods and a wine tasting.

3. From Alba: Barolo and Barbaresco Wine Tasting Tour

If you’re staying in Alba, this tour will take you right to the heart of the wine region. Starting from the comfort of your hotel, a personal driver will pick you up and take you to Barolo while you relax and gaze at the countless vineyards that will pass outside the window. Once there, you’ll enjoy the charming little town from where the wine takes its name and will visit a winery. After tasting the King of wines, you’ll get to meet another celebrity of the wine world: Barbaresco. Visit the beautiful village and enjoy a winery tour.

4. Full-Day Langhe Region Tour with the Wine Tasting starting from Torino

Step out of your hotel in Torino where a chauffeur will be waiting for you. From there, the tour will take you to the beautifiul city of Alba, the world capital of truffles. Then off to Neive, a delightful village where Barbaresco is produced, before arriving in Barolo where a wine tasting will be waiting for you. Finish the tour with a delicious lunch in a local trattoria before being driven back to Torino.

What to Eat When You Order Barolo Wine?

When it comes to pairing food with Barolo, you’re in for a treat. The wine’s robust character matches perfectly with traditional Piemontese food. A plate of truffle-infused pasta, or a hearty mushroom risotto, or again a tasty starter made of carne cruda (raw beef meat) or insalata russa . Barolo’s complex structure and earthy undertones make it a match made in culinary heaven for dishes that can hold their own against its power. It is also great with aged cheese: toma, robiola and castelmagno will bring joy to your mouth if paired with regal Barolo.

Where to Stay in Barolo

After indulging in the pleasures of Barolo, you’ll want a cozy retreat to rest your head. Luckily, Barolo offers a selection of charming hotels in Italy that cater to all tastes. From luxurious boutique hotels to traditional agriturismos, you’ll find accommodations that exude the same rustic elegance as the wine itself. Relax, unwind, and let Barolo work its magic on you.

When looking for Barolo wine why not stay in the little charming village of Barolo itself? Enjoy this private house where you can relax in the middle of nature.

2. Palas Cerequio

A stupendous resort nestled in the hills near La Morra, at the very center of Le Langhe. Walk between the all-surrounding vineyards or relax by the pool with a glass of wine in your hand.

3. Arborina Relais

Another marvelous hotel located in La Morra, where you can relax by the pool while being surrounded by vineyards.

4. Uve Rooms and Wine Bar

In the very center of La Morra, this renewed old palace is guaranteed to give you a royal experience. Walking distance from wine tasting in town.

5. CIVIICO

Luxurious rooms in this hotel in the center of Barolo, where you can enjoy a jacuzzi while gazing out on the vineyards. Which better way to relax after a day of wine tasting?

What are some Barolo Alternatives?

If you’ve already fallen head over heels for Barolo or simply want to explore other Piemontese treasures, Barbaresco is a worthy contender. Often referred to as Barolo’s little sibling, Barbaresco is made from the same Nebbiolo grape but exhibits its own unique personality. With its elegance and finesse, Barbaresco provides a delightful alternative that showcases the incredible diversity within the region.

There you have it—the ultimate guide to Barolo, a wine that embodies the passion, beauty, and flavors of Italy. So, whether you’re sipping a glass in a bustling trattoria or strolling through the rolling vineyards, embrace the spirit of Barolo and let it transport you to the heart of Italian winemaking excellence. Salute!