Rediscovering a love for Barolo


Two great recent experiences with Barolo, which I’ve struggled to love a lot in the past. I love the idea of Barolo, but I’ve often found the wines to be a bit too difficult, with firm drying tannins and no pleasure. Yet occasionally I have had the most sublime experience with this region. It’s very confusing. And then there’s this whole modernist/traditionalist thing, which doesn’t correlate closely with the good/bad experiences I’ve had.

Coupled with this, there seems to be a subtle pressure to love Barolo unquestioningly. I guess if I’d actually spent much time in the vineyards, I’d get things much more, but my bad experiences have sort of put me off exploring. Often, I’ve found it cheaper and less risky, and more consistently enjoyable to get my Nebbiolo fix from Langhe Nebbiolo, the little sibling.

So my latest ray of hope was on Friday night at Noble Rot, where a friend pushed me in the direction of the 2008 Vietti Castiglione Barolo. This was a superb wine with real focus and elegance, and a lovely purity. I didn’t take notes, but just enjoyed it.


The second was a few weeks ago in Scotch Bar, in Blenheim New Zealand. It was the Albe from GD Vajra, and this showed a similar silky elegance and refinement. And real drinkability. It’s the second bottle of this that I’d had in Scotch, Vajra can do no wrong it seems.

So, buoyed by these experiences, I’m going to give Barolo a serious chance. I would love to hear of readers’ personal favourites, in the more elegant and pure vein.

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