This is our comparison of Barolo vs Barbaresco wine. We’ve extensively researched both these two popular wines to help you pick the best for you.
They are both top-quality wines produced in the southern part of Piemonte in Italy, although from different areas, and both have a DOCG appellation.
They are both known for their intense red fruit aromas, high acidity, and high tannins content which makes them suitable even for decades of ageing.
I come from a nearby area and I know Piemonte very well, let’s say that you are going to have some local insight here.
Let’s begin with the review!
Wine Selection Overview
Find below our Barolo vs Barbaresco wine selection for you where you’ll find our recommendation for you.
Mauro Molino Barolo
If you are looking for a bargain, you’ve found it! This Barolo offers great value for money as similar wines usually cost 2 times as much.
Garnet red colour with very intense bouquet of cherry and dried rose.
Warm and dry palate, persistent with intense tannins.
Renato Ratti Barolo Marcenasco 2016
This Barolo offers a very good value for money, it’s rated 4.3/5 stars by more than 2.3k+ wine lovers in the Vivino community and 97 points by Wine Enthusiast, what do you need to know more?!😉
Expect garnet red color, a full flavored, full-bodied and elegant wine with a bouquet with traces of licorice and tobacco.
Cordero di Montezemolo Barolo Monfalletto 2017
If you are after something exceptional yet extremely well priced, that’s the wine for you!
Intense garnet in color, the nose shows floral and spicy notes perfectly blended.
Tobacco, cherries, cocoa and fresh raspberry highlights. The palate is rich, full-bodied and elegant.
Adriano Marco e Vittorio Basarin Barbaresco
This is a great entry level Barbaresco that offers great value for your money!
The bouquet is layered with forest floor, violet, rose and berry, while the palate delivers ripe cherry, white pepper, cinnamon and mint flavours.
The tannins are still youthful and tight.
Moccagatta Bric Balin Barbaresco 2016
Bric Balin is another great Barbaresco bottle at a very competitive price for the quality it offers. I’ll be quick if I were you!
Lively, juicy and nicely balanced, with harmonious acidity framing the wine’s red fruit and medicinal flavors.
Very good depth and length here, with the tannins nicely supporting the wine’s finishing fruit.
If you are after an outstanding bottle yet extremely well priced, look no further!
Rich and ethereal nose with a clear “goudron” (tarry) aroma, tobacco, spices, with an excitingly evolving bouquet.
Interesting escalation of different olfactory sensations.
Full, austere and elegant taste with a great structure, consistent with the olfactory sensations.
Let’s now take a closer look at Barolo vs Barbaresco wines so that you’ll have enough details to make an informed decision.
To make your life easier, we have listed below the most common aromas and flavors that you should expect.
Barolo vs Barbaresco: Where are they produced?
Here you’ll find a brief overview of Barolo vs Barbaresco from regions and wine styles point of view.
Although they are both produced in the southern part of the Piemonte region in Italy, they come from a different soil.
Barolo is produced in the southern part of Piemonte in Italy across several villages and communes all in the province of Cuneo, south-west of Alba.
You can find Barolo primarily in three different styles:
- Barolo DOCG requires 3 years of ageing of which 18 months in oak before release.
- Barolo Riserva DOCG must age for at least 5 years, of which 18 months in oak before release.
- Barolo Chinato is a dessert wine, very aromatic and smooth, that is generally used as digestive.
It’s made with Barolo DOCG and a series of spices amongst which you find cinnamon, coriander, cinchona tree and vanilla.
Barolo wine are very tannic, as such you should wait at least 7 to 10 years after vintage before drink it.
Find more about Barolo here.
Barbaresco is produced in the comunes of Barbaresco, Neive, Treiso and frazione San Rocco Seno d’Elvio in the area of the Langhe in the Piemonte region in Italy.
You can find Barbaresco primarily in two styles:
- Barbaresco DOCG requires 2 years of ageing and at least 9 months in oak.
- Barbaresco Riserva DOCG must age for at least four years and at least 9 months in oak.
Find more about Barbaresco here.
Barolo vs Barbaresco: Which grapes are used to produce them?
Here you’ll find a brief overview of Barolo vs Barbaresco from a grape point of view.
Both Barolo and Barbaresco are produced from the same grapes, i.e. Nebbiolo.
The winemaking technic and the terroir are though different, as we have seen above, giving a distinct characters two both wines.
Barolo vs Barbaresco: What's their alcohol content?
Here you’ll find a brief overview of Barolo vs Barbaresco from a alcohol content point of view.
Alcohol content or more precisely Alcohol By Volume, i.e. ABV, measures the alcoholic strength of a drink.
There is a direct relationship between the sugar left in the wine after the alcoholic fermentation has taken place, i.e. Residual Sugar or RS, and ABV.
During the alcoholic fermentation, the yeast transforms the sugar in the grape juice into alcohol. Grapes with high residual sugar will therefore produce dry wine with a high ABV.
Barolo and Barbaresco’s ABV are usually similar and range between 13.5%-15%.
Barolo vs Barbaresco: What's their taste profile?
Here you’ll find a brief overview of Barolo vs Barbaresco from a taste profile point of view.
Both Barolo and Barbaresco have intense red fruit, roses, licorice and tar aromas, high acidity, and high tannins content which makes them suitable even for decades of ageing.
There are some subtleties though.
Barbaresco’s tannins are usually softer than Barolo making it more approachable.
Another important difference is that Barbaresco doesn’t need to age as much as Barolo to be consumed, so you don’t have to wait too long to enjoy it!
Barolo vs Barbaresco: Are they sweet or dry?
Here you’ll find a brief overview of Barolo vs Barbaresco in terms of sweetness level or residual sugar.
The sweetness level of a wine is expressed in grams of sugar per liter, aka g/L, or as a percentage.
10 g/L equals 1% which, if you are interested, represents 6 calories per 5 oz serving.
You will usually find both Barolo and Barbaresco as dry wines.
A dry wine contains less than 15 g/L.
Learn more about wine sweetness level here.
Barolo vs Barbaresco: Which are the right food pairings?
Here you’ll find a brief overview of Barolo vs Barbaresco from a food pairings point of view.
They both pair very well with earthy dishes, cocked and raw meat and strong flavor cheeses.
Classic pairings for appetizer are Porcini Mushroom, Truffle Risotto/Tajarin, Vitello Tonnato, Grilled Radicchio, and Butternut Squash.
Meat wise, they pair extremely well with Battuta di Fassona (Meat Tartare),
Braised Duck, Roast Turkey, and Ribeye Steak for example.
Cheese wise go for Parmigiano, Pecorino and Gorgonzola to name some.
Barolo vs Barbaresco: How should you serve and store them?
Here you’ll find a brief overview of Barolo vs Barbaresco in terms of serving and storing the wine.
Barolo should be decanted for at least 1 hour and served at 59 – 68 °F (15 – 20 °C) in an Aroma glass. 
As seen before, Barolo is suitable for aging. The recommended storing period is 10 years for normal bottles and 30+ years for the finest bottles.
Barbaresco should be decanted for at least 1 hour and served at 64 – 68 °F (18 – 20 °C) in an Aroma glass.
As seen before Barbaresco is suitable for aging. The recommended storing period is up to 10 years for normal bottles and 20+ years for the finest bottles.
Barolo vs Barbaresco: How much do they cost?
Here you’ll find a brief overview of Barolo vs Barbaresco from a price comparison point of view.
Barolo and Barbaresco are rarely affordable wines but you can find good entry-level bottles around $30-$40.
Great bottles will generally priced around $50-$100 price range.
For those of you who are after the luxury segment be prepared to spend several $100s.
If you have been through the guide, by now you are a Barolo vs Barbaresco expert!
Both are great wines and as seen share some similarities.
Our recommendation is therefore based on what you’d fancy the most at a particular given moment or event.
If you are after a high tannic wine our best value bottle selection for you is Renato Ratti Barolo Marcenasco 2016.
If you are after the best overall bottle, our recommendation is Cordero di Montezemolo Barolo Monfalletto 2017.
If you prefer a more smoother wine, then our best value bottle selection for you is Moccagatta Bric Balin Barbaresco 2016.
As always make sure to serve them at the right temperature so that you can enjoy them at their best.
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