Alberto Ballarin

Barolo 2017

Nebbiolo is the grape behind the Barolo and Barbaresco wines and it is almost exclusively planted in Piedmont. It takes its name from the Italian word "nebbia” which means fog; fog is common in the vineyards of Piedmont late in the season when Nebbiolo is harvested.

Nebbiolo is notoriously a difficult grape to grow; this grape flowers early and ripens late and it needs to be well exposed to the sun. It is worth planting Nebbiolo only on south-facing slopes as there is no chance of making decent wine from this grape if it is not exposed to optimal sunshine.

Nebbiolo wines are very light in colour and have a delicate smell of rose, violet and cherry. On the palate, in contrast, Nebbiolo offers robust tannin and high acidity that can tamed only by a long ageing.  

Barolo was originally a sweet and unrefined wine made of Nebbiolo. In 1840 the royal House of Savoy and in particular the Count Camillo Benso of Cavour (who played a pivotal role in the unification of Italy) and the last Marquess of Barolo Giulia Colbert Falletti, with the help of the French oenologist Louis Oudart, started the production of Barolo in a dry style. This wine highly improved in quality that soon after was apprecciated in the royal courts of Europe and became the emblem of the royal House of Savoy and, in general, of Piedmont .

This Barolo of Cascina Ballarin is made from Nebbiolo grapes harvested from three different vineyards in La Morra, Monforte d’Alba, Novello.

Vineyard location: La Morra, Monforte d’Alba, Novello

Altitude: 250 metres a.s.l.

Exposure: south-east

Vine training technique: guyot

Age of vines: 15-60 years

Yield per hectare: 65 quintals of grapes/ha

Soil: limestone – blue marlstone

Following on from an almost perfect 2016 growing season in Piedmont, 2017 was certainly not as straightforward. 2017 was the driest vintage on record and the earliest picking dates of the last five years however, despite the heat, the wines are surprisingly vivid, fresh with a lovely rich fruit.

Harvest: October

Vinification: traditional in temperature controlled tanks

Ageing: 26 months in wooden barrels (14 months in french oak barriques, 12 months in bigger slavonia oak barrels)

Ruby red colour of medium intensity with orange reflections. Rich and elegant floral bouquet of rose and violet. On the palate it is imperious, powerful, elegant, smooth and mouth-filling. Suitable for moderate ageing.

Barolo is made to be drunk with food and will often taste too acidic or tannic on its own. It goes particularly well with full-flavoured meat dishes like steak or with beef casseroles and game dishes such as venison and pheasant as the tannins will cut through the meat proteins.

Vintage: 2017
Grape: 100% Nebbiolo
Region: Piemonte
Winemaker: Giorgio and Gianni Viberti
Alcohol (ABV): 14.5%