Considering Barolo is considered Italy’s greatest wine, the pressure to produce stunning versions of this wine is understandably high. Barolo, is a wine made from Nebbiolo grapes and is known for its light color and grippy tannins. In more recent times, modern styles have become more popular – and there has been a “war” concerning the new modern approach and styles of making the wine compared to old-school styles. Although classical styles will always have their place, there are a number of winemakers currently doing extraordinary things with modern approaches to the varietal.
Enrico Rivetto has followed four generations of winemakers in his family – each producing reputable wines. Throughout the generation, certain practices and traditions have been instilled that has Enrico truly gained respect for the land and winemaking art. His theories are based on producing wines that are biodynamic and uses alternative energy and green practices during production. With most of the Barolo produced here, harvesting is left as late as possible to ensure complete ripeness of all the grapes. Apart from the all-natural approach, there are other unique aspects to his wines: Enrico allows his wines to go through spontaneous fermentation, as well as leaving the seeds intact during the fermentation for added tannins. Enrico is also constantly dabbling in innovative ideas – like fermenting his wine in concrete tanks or open wooden vats. These different methods have allowed his Barolo to truly shine internationally for its uniqueness and quality.
In the Piedmont region of Italy, Roberto is one of the most celebrated wine producers in the region. The practices in producing the Barolo from this winemaker also incorporate natural practices. No clarification is used during production; therefore, the wines are encouraged to be kept for five to six years (although it can age splendidly for up to 20 years.) Robert is famous for his dedication to modern twists on winemaking – producing Barolo that is rich with softer tannins than usual. His belief in keeping true to the natural state of the wines means that there are no alternations done to the wine. His absolute passion and respect for the wine have been part of the reason his name (and his Barolo) is on everyone’s lips.
In Piedmont, Elio Altare’s Barolo is known for its richness; bringing to life modern winemaking ideas in an old-world region. Traditional methods of ageing Barolo here often include prolonged time in huge Slovenian oak caskets. Elio, on the other hand, ferments his wine briefly in steel tanks before ageing it smaller French barrels. The great thing about the wines produced here, is that Elio and his family are directly involved in all aspects from pruning, harvesting, blending and bottling. They also believe in 100% natural and biodynamic practices – which even go as far as avoiding clarification and filtration of the wine. Their intense dedication to producing wines that are sustainable, healthy and delicious is what has made their wine, especially their Barolo, stand out.
Barolo has so many tremendous producers and sometimes it is hard to stick out of the pack. The region always evolving, there are so many exceptional producers but these are just some great producers to look out for.