In an effort to shed some light on how I study for WSET Diploma Course’s D3 exam, Le Club des Vins is running a series of posts covering wine regions. Today’s topic: Barolo
Barolo lies in the north-west region of Italy and is part of the Langhe region.⠀⠀⠀
In a nutshell
- Moderate continental climate
- Calcareous and sandy
The centre of Barolo is dominated by the Po river plain and surrounded by the Alps and Apennines. The Apennine limits the moderating sea influence, creating a moderate continental climate. The Alps protect against the rain and creates a hot and muggy summer. The famous ‘nebbia’ (fog) draws out the ripening period. Biggest risk is hail; vineyard location is crucial due to aspect variation.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
The vineyards are situated on the hillsides at 150-400m, above the fog line, on well drained, eroded, calcareous and sandy soils. The 5 most important communes can ROUGHLY be divided in two types when talking about soil. Barolo and La Morra give more aromatic and elegant wines because of their calcareous, blue/grey marl soils with a high clay content. These soils are relatively young and perform better in drought years. Castiglione Falletto, Montfort d’Alba and Serralunga d’Alba are situated on grey/yellow sandstone with marl and limestone. They produce slow maturing wine with more structure.⠀⠀⠀⠀
🍇 Grapes & styles
It’s all about Nebbiolo, locally named ‘Spanna’. This variety is the first to budbreak in spring and the last one to harvest. Very susceptible for weather change. Typically, Nebbiolo gives a complex bouquet of dried fruits, violets, roses, liquorice and tar. The wines are full bodied, high in tannin with high acidity and a pale colour with a distinct orange rim after 3-5 years. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
💡 Something you didn’t know (did you?)
Although Barolo DOCG is world renowned for its high quality Nebbiolo, it covers only 10% of the plantings (quite terroir-specific). Rest of the plantings are of Dolcetto, Barbera (2/3 of the plantings is a red variety) and a tiny amount of (local) white grapes, for example nascetta and timorasso.
Your turn now
I always put a new region on instagram first. If you have any additions or comments on a region, please do share. You can drop a comment on instagram or on the website – see below. Your help is much appreciated!