The Barolo DOCG is a legendary red wine made from grapes of the nebbiolo vine variety in the beautiful hills of the Langhe in Piedmont, Italy. Known the world over and appreciated by sommeliers and wine lovers alike only as 'Barolo', it actually has a very complex geographical fabric. Since 2010, in fact, it has been possible to add the sub-zone on the label among 181 Additional Geographical Mentions (AGAs), 11 of which are municipal. It sounds like a detail, but in reality this wine varies so much from area to area, and therefore knowing them at least in part helps winelovers choose the Barolo wine most suited to both their tastes and drinking time. Indeed, in some areas this wine is ready for consumption much earlier than in others, and the family of aromas can be completely different. Just think of the 'Bussia' sub-zone, which gives a Barolo wine with sweet spice aromas that is ready to be enjoyed practically from the month it goes on sale, or the 'Serralunga' sub-zone that gives Barolo with animal scents that need many years in the bottle to be appreciated as they deserve. Events such as Great Langhe 2024 in Turin help professionals better understand the differences between the various MGAs of the Barolo and are invaluable for this.

Barolo DOCG: are Italian MGAs and French Cru the same thing?

Additional Geographical Mentions are something profoundly different from the concept of Cru, which originated in France but is now also used in Italy (also under the name of 'Vigna' especially in Tuscany and Piedmont). A Cru is a particular vineyard that belongs to a single winery, i.e. a vineyard that due to its soil characteristics, exposure and altitude is capable of yielding the winery's best grapes. The Additional Geographical Mention is a territory - a sub-zone - that includes vineyards - vines - of different wineries that share similar characteristics of soil, exposure and altitude as well as similar winemaking traditions and final product.

Best Italian wines: sparkling wines from the Go Wine Guide 2024

I tasted about 40 references of the wines on the counter. This is my selection in order of tasting, on the premise that I chose only one wine per cellar. The wines I liked best are marked as always with one or more hearts.

Great Langhe 2024, Tasting #1: Barolo DOCG Bussia 2020, Marrone ❤️❤️❤️

It presents itself transparent garnet red, consistent. The nose is delicate and elegant with floral aromas, milk chocolate, walnut and a hint of cinnamon. In the mouth it is consistent and even more satisfying, structured, with tannin that is well present, but also well blended, very balanced and very long. Spectacular.

[HERE you can read about the other tastings of Barolo wine Marrone.]

Agricola marrone barolo bussia grande Langhe 2024

Grandi Langhe 2024, Tasting #2: Barolo DOCG Riserva Parussi 2018, Rosoretto ❤️

It presents itself transparent garnet red, consistent. The nose is very elegant with notes of Trinir chocolate, violets, Sichuan pepper, soluble coffee and cherries under spirits. In the mouth it is fresh, savoury, structured, with a great acidic backbone and great balance. Great ageing potential, but already very enjoyable. 

Barolo parussi grandi Langhe

Grandi Langhe 2024, Tasting #3: Barolo DOCG 2019, Pietro Rinaldi

It presents itself transparent garnet ruby red, consistent. On the nose notes of rose, white pepper, milk chocolate. In the mouth it is fresh, structured, savoury and with a long finish. Excellent drinkability.

Barolo Pietro Rinaldi Large Langhe 2024

Great Langhe 2024, Tasting #4: "Ornato" Barolo DOCG Ornato 2020, Pio Cesare +

It presents itself brilliant ruby red, consistent. The nose is elegant with notes of black pepper, herbs and cherries in spirit. In the mouth it is fresh, savoury, tannic, structured and with a long, salivating finish.

Barolo ornate large Langhe 2024

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Grandi Langhe 2024, Tasting #5: Barolo DOCG Serra 2016, Icardi +

Appears red Dark and bright ruby, consistent. Delicate and elegant nose with barely perceptible notes of chocolate, rose and hay. In the mouth it is consistent, fresh, savoury, tannic and well balanced. Not yet ready, but promising.

Barolo serra icardi

Grandi Langhe 2024, Tasting #6: Barolo DOCG Ginestra 2017, Cascina Chicco +

It presents itself transparent ruby red, consistent. The nose enters delicately and elegantly with notes of black pepper, vanilla, a hint of liquorice and a floral nuance. On the palate it enters coherent, tannic, structured, long and with good evolutionary potential.

Barolo ginestra cascina chicco grande Langhe 2024

Grandi Langhe 2024, Tasting #7: "35" Barolo DOCG Bussia 2017, Massimo Rattalino ❤️

It presents itself garnet red, consistent. Delicate and elegant nose with notes of cocoa, black pepper, herbs, vanilla, milk chocolate. On the palate it is consistent, savoury, structured and with a nice acidic backbone and excellent ageing potential. 

Barolo massimo rattalino

Grandi Langhe 2024, Tasting #8: Barolo DOCG Silio Riserva 2018, Rizieri ❤️+

It presents itself brilliant ruby red, consistent. Delicate and elegant nose with very intense but pleasant wood notes.

Barolo rizieri grandi Langhe 2024

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Chiara Bassi book sommelier illustrated manual

Sommelier: the illustrated manual

All my notes on wine and food in one book. Maximum portability to study where you want, when you want... and even with your smartphone unloaded! To all aspiring sommeliers... drink the wolf! 😄🐺🍷🍀

Chiara Bassi

Great Langhe 2024, Tasting #9: Barolo DOCG 2020, Verduno Castle +

It presents itself brilliant ruby red, consistent. Delicate nose. On the palate it is soft, balanced, tannic and has excellent drinkability.

Barolo grandi Langhe 2024 verduno castle

Great Langhe 2024, Tasting #10: Barolo DOCG Lazzarito 2017, Villadoria ++

It presents itself garnet red with orange highlights at the edges, consistent. Delicate and elegant nose with hints of withered rose, tobacco, dark chocolate and pink pepper. In the mouth it is fresh, savoury, structured, tannic and with a long, dry finish. 

Barolo villadoria lazzarito

Grandi Langhe 2024, Tasting #11: Barolo DOCG Panerole 2019, Vietto ❤️+

It presents itself transparent garnet red, consistent. The nose is intense and elegant with notes of cocoa, berries, bread crust. In the mouth it is fresh, savoury, structured and with a long finish. Already more ready.

Barolo panerole vietto

Great Langhe 2024, Tasting #12: Barolo DOCG Cannubi 2020, Reva ❤️+

It presents itself brilliant ruby red, consistent. Delicate and elegant nose, consistent. The nose enters delicately with a hint of vanilla and undergrowth. In the mouth it enters fresh, savoury, structured and very balanced. Long.

A reflection on the cover photo dedicated to Mirko Morini

Have you ever thought about how many passions are really yours? If I sum up the passions I have cultivated since childhood, today that I am almost 39 years old, I have to say that very few are the fruit of myself alone. Most of my passions are the fruit of the contamination of the people I have met so far. My passion for Franco Battiato came from the LP album La Voce del Padrone that I listened to with my father, and my passion for drawing and architecture also comes from him. The passion for cooking came from my maternal grandmother. The passion for plants came from my mother, but my father also knew the botanical name of anything green. My passion for history was passed on to me by my grandfather, with his tales of war and imprisonment that punctuated my afternoons as a child. My passion for jazz and in particular for John Coltrane was passed on to me by a colleague and friend at the time, Guido Barosio, when he played me a wonderful album right here in Turin. I developed my love for Klimt in Ravenna, when I grew up, lived and studied in the midst of gold and mosaics. And wine? My passion for wine was passed on to me by Mirko Morini - now the AIS Faenza delegate - when I was barely 18 years old, and although we lost touch with time, meeting him again at Grandi Langhe 2024 was wonderful for me.

The only passion truly mine that I can remember is for the Far East: from the ancient passion for Japan to the recent passion for South Korea (and the Korean cuisine). Everything else is, indeed, contamination.

This is to invite every sommelier to be contaminated by ideas, wines, people. The world is extraordinary and full of possibilities if you are open to it.

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