Press Area

March 2018

The World’s Best Barolos

Natalie Sellers | February 2018, Wine Searcher

Nestled in the foothills of the Alps in northern Italy lies Piedmont, a foodie’s paradise.
Piedmont is home to […] the highly sought-after truffles that grow wild in the hills. Famously difficult to find, truffles require the expert nose of a truffle-hunting dog (or, if you’re feeling really old-school, pig) and, once found, these prized fungi can fetch hundreds even thousands of dollars. So what to drink with such delicacies? Well Piedmont provides that too: Barolo.
Like truffles, good Barolo is seldom cheap. Traditional to the Barolo commune itself and the surrounding villages of Castiglione Falletto and Serralunga d’Alba, for a wine to bear the Barolo name it must have been aged for at least 38 months, and in the case of riserva, 62 months before release.
It can only be made from the native Nebbiolo grape. Fussy and hard to grow, this little grape packs an awful lot of promise and, when respected, can deliver the classic rose and spice and all things nice effect that Barolo has become known for. However, all this doesn’t come cheap, so don’t be surprised at some of the prices the top wines can command.
A movement in the 1980s towards younger, fruitier wine that hadn’t spent a decade in cellar has led to the rise of a more “modern”, accessible style of Barolo. Naturally, this was initially met with disgust – there’s a reason the wheel was only ever invented once. You don’t deconstruct deep Italian tradition and expect no one to notice. And notice they did, fueling, in true Italian style, the start of the Barolo wars. However, since then, tempers have cooled and there is now a growing realization that there is room in this world for both.
So, like a good truffle hog, we’ve hunted out the top 10 Barolos according to Wine-Searcher’s aggregated critic scores. Some will be more traditional in style and others more modern, but all are worthy of a top 10 spot.

10. Massolino Vigna Rionda Riserva, Barolo DOCG We wrap up our great Italian adventure with the family-owned Massolino estate. Founded by Giovanni Massolino in 1896, it was just one of Giovanni’s achievements. Described as a “tenacious and creative” man, he not only founded the estate but brought electricity to his village. Giovanni’s son, Giuseppe then took up the reins with gusto, building the first wine cellar and helping found the Consortium for the Defence of Barolo and Barbaresco. He also had six children, three of whom continued to run the estate and purchased the golden sites of Margheria, Parafada and Vigna Rionda. And it is the Rionda Riserva that rounds out our list. Released six years on from the initial harvest, this is a grand wine capable of very long ageing. The 2004 vintage scored 18 by Walter Speller of Jancis Robinson’s team and is down to carry on until 2046(!).So with an aggregated score of 93, that probably fits the bill for “great wine” and, at an average price of $109, it is one of the more affordable on this list.


So there you are, this truffle pig has dug up the goods and now you can sit down to your fontina fonduta and crack open a bottle – just make sure it’s at least 10 years old.