Barolo is a 'DOCG' red wine produced in the northern Italian region of Piedmont. Made from the Nebbiolo grape and is often described as one of Italy's greatest red wines. The zone of production extends into the communes of Barolo, Castiglione Falletto, Serralunga d'Alba and parts of the communes of Cherasco, Diano d'Alba, Grinzane Cavour, La Morra, Monforte d'Alba, Novello, Roddi, Verduno, all in the province of Cuneo, south-west of Alba.
Only vineyards planted in primarily calcareous-clay soils in the hills with suitable slopes and orientations are considered suitable for Barolo production.
The present day Barolo zone is nearly 3 times the size of the nearby Barbaresco; it is still relatively small and is only 8km at its widest point.
In addition to restrictions on yield and alcohol levels, to be labeled DOCG, a Barolo must have at least two years aging in oak and at least one year aging in the bottle prior to release. For wines labeled Barolo 'Riserva', five years of total aging is required with at least three of those years in oak.
In the past Barolos often used to be very rich on tannin, taking more than 10 years for the wine to soften up and become ready for drinking. In order to appeal to more modern international palates, which prefer fruitier, earlier drinking red wine styles; several producers have cut fermentation times and age the wine in new French barriques (small oak barrels). Traditionalists have argued that the wines produced in this way are not recognizable as Barolo and taste more of new oak than of wine.
Barolos tend to be rich, deeply concentrated full bodied red wines with pronounced tannins and acidity. Barolos have the potential for a wide range of complex and exotic aromas with charred oak and roses being common notes. Other aromas associated with Barolos include chocolate, dried fruit, plum, eucalyptus, leather, liquorice, dinner-mint, mulberries, spice, wild strawberries, tobacco, white truffles as well as dried and fresh herbs.