Famous for their reputations as great-tasting reds and for the histories behind their evolution, top Italian wines Barolo and Brunello di Montalcino are sometimes confused. It’s easy to see how these well-known Italian wines with similar-sounding names could be mistaken for one another–that is, until you understand what makes each of these wines distinct.
Enthusiasts call Barolo “the king of wines and the wine of kings.” This tart, complex Italian wine is so high in quality that it’s often compared to grand cru Pinot Noir from Burgundy. Like exceptional Burgundy, top-rated Barolo is acidic and bracing in its youth, but develops multilayered flavors of earth, dark dried fruit, and alluring floral aromatics as it ages. Great Barolo is worth waiting for.
In Langhe, wine is more than a beverage—it’s a way of life. Winemakers in this hilly area located in the Piedmont region of northern Italy have been cultivating grapes here for many centuries. The region even has a coveted spot on the UNESCO World Heritage list due to its long history of winemaking. The best Langhe wines (particularly Nebbiolo) are intense, tannic, and long-lived, full of heady perfume and bright acidity. Its rich history coupled with the incredibly high quality of the wines has made Langhe a top destination for wine-loving tourists and serious collectors.
Vintage quality is an important factor to consider whenever you buy fine wine, but when you buy Barolo, it’s absolutely essential. That’s because the quality of Barolo significantly impacts its aging potential, and a fine aged Barolo is truly a special experience. A well-made wine from a top-quality vintage will taste astoundingly complex at age 20 or 30. Even some of the best wines from the 1950s and 1960s are still drinking well today. However, for Barolo to be this long-lived, it must be high in quality and perfectly balanced.