One of the marvels of this region is the “Terre del Barolo” winery in Castiglione Falletto, established amidst the vineyards that grow one of the world’s most illustrious wines: Barolo. A family of smallholders – because that is what each of its three hundred members has remained – living, farming and nourishing the land, while adding value to their enterprise with their own culture, history and customs. Every cluster tells the story of the miracle of the seasons, of the sun and the rain, of work that encompasses thousands of nuances.
This is “Terre del Barolo”.
The magic of a community of workers that has turned that wine into a miracle. A miracle that culminates with the harvest, when the clusters leave the vineyard and go on to evolve in wood. Great vintages are defined here over time, encapsulating a special land where a group of growers crafts wine with character. And this story – a great idea that has become something of a fairy tale – has saved many vignerons from having to abandon their land, ensuring their work would be rewarded with respect, dignity and prestige. Today those grapes and that wine embody what Made in Italy stands for, and the winery has become a cultural focal point for a world that cherishes the past while serving as an emblem in the present.
The center of the production of the world’s most exclusive and age-worthy red wines made from Nebbiolo, the Barolo wine region includes five core townships: La Morra, Monforte d’Alba, Serralunga d’Alba, Castiglione Falletto and the Barolo village itself, as well as a few outlying villages. The landscape of Barolo, characterized by prominent and castle-topped hills, is full of history and romance centered on the Nebbiolo grape. Its wines, with the signature “tar and roses” aromas, have a deceptively light garnet color but full presence on the palate and plenty of tannins and acidity. In a well-made Barolo wine, one can expect to find complexity and good evolution with notes of, for example, strawberry, cherry, plum, leather, truffle, anise, fresh and dried herbs, tobacco and violets.
There are two predominant soil types here, which distinguish Barolo from the lesser surrounding areas. Compact and fertile Tortonian sandy marls define the vineyards farthest west and at higher elevations. Typically the Barolo wines coming from this side, from La Morra and Barolo, can be approachable relatively early on in their evolution and represent the “feminine” side of Barolo, often closer in style to Barbaresco with elegant perfume and fresh fruit.
On the eastern side of the Barolo wine region, Helvetian soils of compressed sandstone and chalks are less fertile, producing wines with intense body, power and structured tannins. This more “masculine” style comes from Monforte d’Alba and Serralunga d’Alba. The township of Castiglione Falletto covers a spine with both soil types.
The best Barolo wines need 10-15 years before they are ready to drink, and can further age for several decades.
Responsible for some of the most elegant and age-worthy wines in the world, Nebbiolo, named for the ubiquitous autumnal fog (called nebbia in Italian), is the star variety of northern Italy’s Piedmont region. Grown throughout the area, as well as in the neighboring Valle d’Aosta and Valtellina, it reaches its highest potential in the Piedmontese villages of Barolo, Barbaresco and Roero. Outside of Italy, growers are still very much in the experimentation stage but some success has been achieved in parts of California. Somm Secret—If you’re new to Nebbiolo, start with a charming, wallet-friendly, early-drinking Langhe Nebbiolo or Nebbiolo d'Alba.