I was really introduced to Barolo wine when I was on a press trip in Alba for the White Truffle Fair. We had been taken to a wine tasting event and were offered several wines to try. One of them was Barolo. One of the journalists on the trip was a food writer and she was doing the job properly by spitting it out after tasting it. The rest of us drank it and thoroughly enjoyed it. Spit out £80 a bottle Barolo? Not me!!
Since then I have regularly drunk Barolo but perhaps not the £80 a bottle variety!
Anyway the story I am getting round to telling is about one of our days out on our holiday in Piedmont last year. I have a friend who lives in Barolo and is married to an Italian and she works in the Marchesi Di Barolo Winery. We decided to go to see her. Off we went, past Asti and Alba right down to Barolo. There were vineyards as far as the eye could see . We parked up and went to meet my friend. She told us we could have a tour around the winery in the afternoon so off we went to explore Barolo and have some lunch. Mine was a mushroom and truffle pasta dish and was to die for. Replete, we had a wander around Barolo before our tour started. There was a lot to see and unfortunately we didn’t have time to go in the castle or the corkscrew museum. But that only gave us an excuse to say we would return .
Arriving at the winery we were fascinated to see a truck full of grapes being tipped into a container which sent them down to the cellar below. Barolo is made from Nebbiolo , a small, thin skinned red grape variety generally high in acid and tannins. Generally these grapes are one of the last varieties to be harvested. We were there in mid September and they were obviously in the midst of it then. It is popularly known as the King of Wines and the Wine of Kings.
We really enjoyed our tour around the cellars and were interested to find out the history of the Winery. Barolo wine as we know it today was first made in the 19th century by the Marchese Carlo Tancredi Falletti di Barolo and his wife Guilia. The Marchesi had no children and the wine dynasty was left with no heir. Marchesa Guilia who was a great philanthropist made sure that the family assets were donated to charity and a non profit foundation was created in their name. Called “Opera Pia Barolo ” it helped the needy in nearby Turin. The sales of wine from their Barolo vineyards continue to fund the charity, which still exists today. In 1929 local winemaker Pietro Abbona purchased the cellars formerly owned by the Marchesi and eventually all their vineyards as well. Today it remains a family business and since 2006 it has been under the direction of Pietro’s great grandson Ernesto Abbona .
Once we had finished our tour we got to taste the wines . I think one day we will rent somewhere nearby and spend a bit more time in this beautiful area. I thoroughly recommend a trip to Barolo and especially the Marchesi di Barolo Winery.
Via Roma, 1 (Cantina storica) -12060 Barolo
Tel +39 0173 564400