Breaking Down Barolo

If you are a wine enthusiast, you are probably like me and have been studying and dreaming about visiting the Langhe region of Italy (Piedmont). The Langhe region is one of the most famous Italian wine-producing regions, especially known for its production of Barolo. This stunning area is filled with rolling hills, soaring castles, and small hilly towns that make it the perfect backdrop for producing this iconic Italian wine. I feel so lucky that my husband and I were able to visit this magical region for our 5th wedding anniversary, and that Savor’s talented Italian distributor, Iacopo Di Teodoro of Artisanal Cellars, is highly connected and knows the Langhe region like the back of his hand. As I mentioned above, there is A LOT to unpack, so I am going to break out the information in the easiest way possible to give you all the tips, tricks, and recommendations of my new favorite wine region!



First, let’s talk about the region itself and the grape responsible for producing Barolo: Nebbiolo. People need to understand that wine tourism in Old World countries (Italy, France, Spain) is a completely different experience than going to Napa or somewhere in the United States. In the US, wine tourism is more about hospitality and experience, whereas in Old World countries, wine tourism is more about the actual production of wine. Simply, they just don't prioritize tasting rooms and marketing the way that the New World does.

Barolo is known as the, “King of Italy,” producing 100% Nebbiolo wines. It is up to us to know that when a bottle is labeled, “Barolo,” it is actually the Nebbiolo grape variety. Nebbiolo is rich and full-bodied, powerful yet delicate; simply beautiful and enchanting. The appellation of Barolo is made up of eleven villages or townships. The most famous, and identified as the highest quality (in my opinion), are La MorraSerralunga d'AlbaMonforte d'AlbaCastiglione Falleto and of course Barolo (Barolo is the region but also a village). In Barolo, there are 170 “crus” found within these eleven villages (a “cru” means that it is a designated single vineyard, making wines only with grapes found from that specific vineyard which are 100% Nebbiolo).

 With that being said, the Langhe region can be overwhelming and hard to understand, even for a wine educator! I would say it is as complicated and complex as the beloved Burgundy region in France and that the terrior and vintages are extremely important. However, if you take the time to understand the region, it will reward you with beautiful, age-worthy dynamic wines!



The biggest tip I have for learning about wine is to taste a variety of different wines from within the same region. Do not get caught up at one vineyard tasting the same expression of wine because the different terroirs offer such different taste profiles and styles.  I will link below the artisanal producers who are driving change producing biodynamic wines in Piedmont, and the original iconic producers who are must-visits while in the area. I also cannot recommend enough visiting the wine bar, “La Vite Turchese” in Barolo. At this wine bar, they are passionate about teaching you about Barolo and the different expressions of wines that Barolo has to offer. If going, I would suggest asking for wine flights like this: 

EXAMPLE 1: Can I try a 2016 vintage and 2002 vintage Barolo from Castiglione side by side?

EXAMPLE 2: Can I try a 2016 Barolo from La Morra and another 2016 Barolo from Monforte d’Alba?

The sommeliers will bring out a physical map of Barolo and you will learn so much, I promise! Speaking of vintages, we got to taste through so many, and after picking the brains of many vintners and locals, we landed on the following as the best vintages of Barolo: VINTAGES - 2013, 2010 2015, 2016 and 2021 as a great vintage to age. 


The artisanal and more unconventional tastings we did were at GianLuca Colombo ( ) and Margherita Otto ( At these locations, we met with the winemakers themselves and they shared their passion and vision for their unbelievable wines they are producing. Unfortunately, you will not be able to find them in the states… yet! We are so excited to announce that our Barbera D'Alba included in our Fall Allocation is from GiaLuca Colombo. This wine showcases his meticulous dedication to the land and the wine itself is THE BEST Barbera I have tried to date. The iconic producers that you have to try while out there are ViettiOdderoGiacomo ConternoGaja. 




One of the best pairing tips that I have learned is when in doubt, pair the wine with food that is familiar from the region it is produced. With Barolo being this powerful wine, it was not surprising that the local Piedmontese food was very meat-driven. Let’s just say, it was hard to find a vegetable and a lot of the restaurants offered very similar menus. I would suggest branching out and trying a traditional dish to fully engage in the experience! The less risky yet traditional dishes we loved were the Tajarin al tartufo and Plin. I would also suggest grabbing a bottle and a pizza and finding a breathtaking view for a causal yet delicious dinner immersed in the beautiful environment.



Felicin (Monforte d'Alba) - amazing view and great for dinner 

More e Machine (La Morra) - great for lunch 

We stayed at the newly renovated Casa di Langa and loved it. It was about a 20 minute drive from all the different villages and we loved the remove and quiet vibe of the hotel. The other resort I had my eye on and will probably stay at next time is Reva Resort  in Monforte d'Alba. We fell in love with the town and it seemed to be more in the mix than where we stayed. Both places are great options!



While in the Langhe region I would suggest trying other native grape varietals like Barbera (red), Dolcetto (red), and Arteis (white). Also, I wanted to point out that Barbaresco is also made of 100% Nebbiolo and is about a 20 minute drive from Barolo. Personally, unless you get reservation at Gaja, I wouldn't recommend it. There are so many cute towns and villages to explore that I don't find it necessary to make the drive to Barbaresco.

I would 10/10 recommend the Lange region for any wine lover. It is about a 2 hour drive from Milan and an hour from Turin. We flew into Milan and rented a car, then left from Turin to continue our travels on the high speed train to Florence and Rome. I know that this was A LOT of information, but after this trip and knowing how intimidating Piedmont can be, I wanted to be a resource to encourage people to go visit this magical area. Please let me know if you have any questions, and I hope this helps! 



To learn more about our Fall Allocation or join our seasonal wine club please visit us here! Savor the Wine Club Membership or Single Allocation 

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