There are few wines in the annals of the Italian wine industry that are as revered as Barolo. A wine has to be pretty special to attract the label of “The King of Wines”, never mind starting a war among producers.
Barolo is that wine and it’s one of the most stellar examples of an Italian red that you’ll find. Naturally, this infamy drives interest from consumers, which in turn means that a lot of producers want to show you what makes their Barolo so special.
That leaves us with a bit of a conundrum when it comes to reviewing Barolos. Just who do we choose to shine the spotlight on with so many amazing options out there?
Our choice for this review comes from a producer that has a 200-year history with the wine. Moreover, they have a commitment to producing a Barolo that’s in keeping with the rich traditions that made the wine so popular in the first place.
We’re talking about Marchesi di Barolo, who are so committed to the wine that they have its name in their company name.
Before looking at the wine itself, let’s take a little look at the company’s background.
The history of Marchesi di Barolo starts with a wine cellar. This isn’t just any old wine cellar though, as it’s located in the heart of the town of Barolo and overlooks the Castle of the Marquis Falletti. It is here, over two centuries ago, that Marchesi di Barolo’s story begins.
It is in those very cellars that the company first started to produce its own Barolo. More importantly, it was in these cellars that the wine took on the name of the town that bore it. This was done in the French tradition and lent the wine a certain regional allure that continues to this day.
It is in these cellars that the King of Wines was truly born.
Let us take you back to 1807. In this year, the Marquis of Barolo, Carlo Tancredi Falletti, married a French noblewoman named Juliette Colbert de Maulévrier in France’s capital, Paris. An avid wine enthusiast, Juliette loves the wines that came from the Barolo region and saw the potential that they had to become an extremely popular product. However, the wine needed help to reach that potential.
It was Juliette who introduced the ideas of ageing the wine for long periods in wood barrels and extending the fermentation period. This allowed time for the wine to truly extol the virtues of the region’s soil and the quality of the Nebbiolo grape used to make the wine. Powerful and regal, the wines that started emerging from the Barolo region were truly fit for kings.
Juliette passed away nearly 60 years later, and with it came the fall of the Falletti dynasty. However, the Fallettis were fondly remembered for their work, particularly in the charitable domain. This led to the creation of the Opera Pia Barolo, which was founded in their honour and situated in Turin’s stunning Palazzo Barolo.
It was this gesture that plays directly into the history of Marchesi di Barolo. It’s also where the Abbona family comes into play.
The family maintained its own cellars near to the Castle of Marquis Falletti. But it was upon the birth of Pietro Abbona that the family started to expand its vision. A extremely skilful and tenacious winemaker and business man, Pietro worked along his siblings, Marina, Celestina, and Ernesto, to purchase the Opera Pia Barolo. In doing so, they had access to the ancient cellars in which Juliette and the Falletti family had crafted their wines. In this moment, Marchesi di Barolo was born and became the winemaking company that we know today.
It is this family that continues to run the company to this day, with Pietro’s descendants now taking the role of creating wines that gathered infamy over 200 years ago. The family prides itself on its ability to craft remarkable wines and they focus on enriching their output year after year.
They’ve also undertaken a modernisation process that brings these old cellars right up to modern standards. All of this is done with an eye towards the traditions that make Barolo such an important wine in the first place.
With stunning vineyards that have great heritage, coupled with the benefits of five generations of knowledge passed down over the centuries, the family now creates one of Italy’s best examples of Barolo.
Of course, that just leaves the wine itself.
The Marchesi di Barolo Barolo della Tradizione 2014 may just be the most remarkable vintage of the wine to emerge from the company’s estate in quite some time.
As the name suggests, this is a Barolo created with one eye towards tradition.
When poured, you’ll note that the wine has a primarily garnet red colouring. However, a little closer examination will reveal just the slightest of ruby hues that seem to disappear almost as soon as you’ve spotted them.
To the nose, the wine presents an intense bouquet that instantly enraptures the drink. The persistent scents of cinnamon, tobacco, and rose bushes create an interesting bouquet. Those willing to dig a little deeper will also spot various spicy notes, with just the faintest whiff of absinthe adding an interesting twist to the bouquet.
To the taste, you’ll experience a wine that’s truly representative of the Barolo region. It’s wonderfully balance, with a full and elegant texture that accentuates the soft tannins. It is here that the spicy notes really come to the fore, as they blend wonderfully with the wine’s more floral notes to create an interesting taste.
The 2014 vintage has received acclaim from a variety of sources, with the Xtrawine team giving it a 91/100 rating due to its enormous quality. It’s also among the more affordable examples of high-end Barolo available on the market today. We recommend drinking it with game or beef to get the absolute most out of it, though it also goes well with several types of cheese.