Barolo vs Barbaresco: What Are The 8 Important Differences To Know in 2023?

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Barolo vs Barbaresco
This is our comparison of Barolo vs Barbaresco wine. Do you know what are the 8 important differences? Let's find out!

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.

Our best value bottle selection for you is Silvio Grasso Barolo 2018.
 
If you are after the best overall bottle, our recommendation is Cordero di Montezemolo Barolo Monfalletto 2017.
 
Our best value bottle selection for you is Castello di Neive Barbaresco Santo Stefano 2019.
 
If you are after the best overall bottle, our recommendation is Cascina Baricchi Rose delle Casasse Barbaresco Riserva 2016.

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.

Barolo Selection

Cavalier Bartolomeo Altenasso Barolo 2017
4.2/5

The three things that make this wine the best budget are:

1) It’s refined and complex, which means you’ll get many layers of aromas and flavors combined together in fine way.

2) It ages well up to 10-20 years so that you can store it and enjoy over time.

3) It cost ~$40 (😲) yes, it’s unbelievable for the quality you get.

Try it with a variety of roasted meats, such as lamb and beef, or with mushroom risotto and beef ragu or aged cheese and it’ll be a delight!

Read our full review here.

Silvio Grasso Barolo
2018
4.3/5

The three things that make this wine the best value wine are:

1) It’s complex, balanced and elegant, which means that you get various layers of  flavors and aromas that are not overpowering.

2) Ageing: It aged for 2 years in oak barrels and 1 year in bottle, resulting in a complex and elegant wine and can age for another 10+ years.

3) It offers great value for your money, it’s one of the best Barbaresco in this price range and it’s $30+ cheaper than Cordero di Montezemolo Barolo 2017.

Try it with mushroom risotto and truffle tagliolini, roasted lamb, Parmigiano Reggiano or dark chocolate and it’ll be a delight!

Read our full review here.

Cordero di Montezemolo Barolo Monfalletto 2017
4.4/5

The four things that make this wine stands out compared to the competition are:

1) Winemaking Tecnique: the Montezemolo family’s expertise in winemaking has been passed down through generations, resulting in a wine that truly embodies the essence of the region.

2) Brings Barolo to next level: this wine’s complexity and depth make it an excellent choice for those looking to enjoy on special occasions, or simply indulge in a moment of relaxation.

3) You can drink it now or let it age: the wine’s ability to be cellared for several years showcases its full potential. With each passing year, the wine evolves and matures, creating an even more exceptional drinking experience.

4) Priced competitively against its peers, so you’ll save several $10s and still get an outstanding wine.

Read our full review here.

Barbaresco Selection

Ronchi Barbaresco
2019
4.3/5

The three things that make this wine the best budget are:

1) It’s rich and layered, which means you’ll get intense aromas and flavors that will evolve as you drink it.

2) It ages well up to 10 years so that you can store it and enjoy over time.

3) It cost ~$34 (😲) yes, it’s unbelievable for the quality you get.

Try it with a variety of roasted meats, such as lamb and beef, or with mushroom risotto and beef ragu and it’ll be a delight!

Read our full review here.

Castello di Neive Barbaresco 2019
4.5/5

The three things that make this wine the best value wine are:

1) It’s balanced and elegant, despite its full body and powerfull tannins, which means it’ll be a great pleasure to drink.

2) Ageing: It aged for 2 years in oak barrels and in bottle, resulting in a complex and elegant wine and can age for another 10 years.

3) It offers great value for your money, it’s one of the best Barbaresco in this price range and it’s $50+ cheaper than Cascina Baricchi Riserva 2016.

Try it with mushroom risotto and truffle tagliolini, roasted lamb or Parmigiano Reggiano and it’ll be a delight!

Read our full review here.

Cascina Baricchi Rose Riserva 2016
4.6/5

The four things that make this wine stands out compared to the competition are:

1) Terroir: This wine is made from Nebbiolo grapes grown in the Barbaresco DOCG area, which is known for producing high-quality wines with complex flavors and aromas.

2) Aging: The Barbaresco is aged for four years, with at least one 9 months in oak barrels which help to develop complex flavors and aromas and create a smoother and more refined texture.

3) Winemaking technique: This Barbaresco is made using traditional winemaking methods which help to preserve the natural characteristics of the grapes and result in a wine with greater complexity and depth of flavor.

4) Priced competitively against its peers, so you’ll save a few $10s and still get an outstanding wine.

Read our full review here.

Comparison

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. [1]

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.

Our Verdict

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 Silvio Grasso Barolo 2018.

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 Castello di Neive Barbaresco Santo Stefano 2019.

If you are after the best overall bottle, our recommendation is Cascina Baricchi Rose delle Casasse Barbaresco Riserva 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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