For many people Barolo stands right at the pinnacle in the pantheon of fine Italian wines. The opinion is so far reaching that the drink has achieved the title of ‘King of Wines’ in some quarters, with the moniker dating back more than 200 years. While some may argue against that title in the modern era, the fact still stands that Barolo is one of the most storied and beloved Italian wines of all time.
While the modernisation of the drink, which came about as a consequence of the ‘Barolo Wars’, may have gone some way to altering the opinion of many traditionalists, the wine is still immensely popular in all of its formats, marking it as one of the most desirable drinks and ensuring that the wineries that produce it are amongst the most popular destinations in Italy for fans.
With this in mind, we have compiled a small list of some of the best Barolo wineries in Italy. In no particular order, here are five of the best Barolo wineries to visit.
- G.D Vajra
One of the leaders in the current modernisation era, the G.D Vajra winery has a strong belief in improving the overall quality of their Barolo, going so far as to reduce the use of tractors and unnatural chemicals in an effort to ensure their wine is as natural and healthy as possible. Instead they utilise natural yeast as part of their production procedure, making them an extremely ethical group.
The winery, which has been family-run since its inception, also crafts a variety of other wines however it is the Barolo for which they are most known. Their claim to focus on beauty, craftsmanship and creativity is demonstrated in every bottle that they produce and is evident for anybody who chooses to visit the winery and explore the vineyards.
Featuring a young and passionate team who are more than happy to discuss the wine-making process with visitors, the G.D Vajra winery is an ideal place to start if you want to get a taste for a modern winery that still represents traditional values.
- Fratelli Barale
On the more traditional side of things we have the Fratelli Barale winery, which can trace its existence back to 1870. This family-run winery found its roots soon after Barolo was introduced to the Langhe region through the work of both the Faletti Marquis and Camillo Benso, Count of Cavour. In fact, it is through the efforts of the count that the French enologist Louis Oudart was invited to the region to help craft a form of winemaking that would most suit the Nebbiolo grape used in the production of Barolo, so the region bears as much responsibility for the Barolo name as any other.
Beyond Barolo, the Barale family has been involved in winemaking since the 1600s, meaning that there is plenty of history behind this particular winery that is ripe for consumption by eager visitors. Featuring a dedicated team that adheres to tradition whilst accepting modernisation, the Fratelli Barale winery is an ideal family trip. Furthermore, the 19th century palace in which the family is based is perfect for history and architecture buffs who want to explore something other than the great wines the family produces.
- Marchesi di Barolo
This winery is one of the largest Barolo producers and is also amongst the most popular with wine tourists thanks to its interesting tours, amazing history and the fact that the company goes out of its way to ensure visitors are provided with an exceptional experience.
The winery features a hospitality area where visitors can experience samples of the Barolo that they produce alongside some spectacular cuisine. Furthermore, the winery also maintains a veritable museum of winemaking history in their cellars, chronicling more than 200 years working in the industry.
Finally, the winery also holds a number of annual events in which visitors are invited to watch the workers during important periods of the wine making process, such as the current harvest of the grapes used in their fine wines. Simply put, this award winning winery is the ideal attraction for Barolo lovers.
- Cantina Francesco Borgogno
A fairly new winery, at least in comparison to a number of the others featured on this list, the Cantina Francesco Borgogno has been operating since the 1930s but has quickly established a reputation as one of the finest producers of Barolo in Italy.
Featuring a dedicated cellar that perfectly demonstrates many of the more modern techniques used following the ‘Barolo Wars’ the company is more than happy to accommodate visitors, who are able to contact the group to arrange a visit at any point during the year.
Furthermore, the winery also demonstrates an admirable dedication to the innovation of new techniques for use in the production of its wine, with 2014 seeing the introduction of a new machine that streamlines the crushing of grapes that have been harvested for the wine. While the winery perhaps does not quite have the history of other, more established, groups, it is still ideal for those who are interested in modern-day Barolo production.
- Azienda Agricola Brezza
This privately owned winery can be visited on appointment and is located in a gorgeous spot right next to the village of Barolo and is operated by the Brezza family, who also run the Hotel Barolo and Restaurant Brezza that can be found nearby.
This winery is interesting because, again, that focus on using modern methods to complement the traditional production values that the family has fostered since the winery’s inception in the late 1800s.
Perhaps the most remarkable aspect of the wines produced here is the glass cork that is used for many of their Barolo vintages. Following identification of the issue that traditionally corked bottles sometimes get disturbed or are improperly corked, leading to the wine inside being ruined, the family decided to develop glass corks that ensure the delicate aromas and textures of the wine are maintained whilst also signalling a modernisation that doesn’t hamper the group’s traditionalist values.
Of course there are many other Barolo wineries in the region that are well worth a visit and we heartily recommend that any true connoisseur spends time visiting as many wineries in the region if they happen to make a visit. However this list will at least act as a great starting point, providing a mix of the traditional and the modern that perfectly mirrors the evolution of the Barolo itself.