DOCG area for dry red wine in the Italian region of Piedmont, named after the municipality of the same name 15 kilometres south of Alba. It was classified as DOC in 1966 and DOCG in 1980. The area covers about 1,300 hectares of vineyards with countless parcels in the Langhe mountains with the districts (or parts thereof) of Barolo, Castiglione Falletto, Cherasco, Grinziano, La Morra (by far the largest area, covering one third of the area), Monforte d'Alba, Novello Rossi, Serralunga d'Alba and Verduno. These are mainly southern locations on steep slopes. The historical core areas of Barolo, Castiglione Falletto, La Morra, Monforte and Serralunga account for more than 80% of production.
Until the middle of the 19th century the wine was not vinified dry. Due to the late maturing Nebbiolo and therefore fermentation only taking place in the cold season until December, there was insufficient yeast. Thus a relatively high residual sweetness always remained in the wine. To support this, Giulietta Falletti (Marquesa of Barolo) called the French oenologist Louis Oudart into the country. He transferred the fermentation process to newly built underground wine cellars, ensured constant temperatures and improved cellar hygiene. King Victor Emmanuel II provided the technical equipment for the cellar experiments. (1820-1878) and his son Emanuele Alberto (1851-1894) even made the vineyards available to his hunting lodge Fontanafredda in the mountains of Serralunga d'Alba (province of Cuneo). Oudart started dry vine growing around 1850 (he later gave similar support to Barbaresco). A second version, however, names oenologist Paolo Francesco Staglieno as the main developer of dry Barolo. He worked from 1836 to the 1840s, among other things on the royal winery. In any case, this was the beginning of Barolo's unstoppable triumphal march.
The DOCG classification also includes permission for vineyards or sites(Vigna) to appear on the label. The most famous are Arborina, Arione, Cannubi, Cerequio, Brunate, Bussia, Fisaco, Francia, La Serra, Lazzarito, Monprivato, Ornato, Rocche, Sarmazza and Vigna Rionda. The Barolo is made from 100% pure Nebbiolo grapes (the addition of Barbera, which used to be permitted, is no longer permitted), which find the best conditions here. There are essentially two different types of soil. In the districts of Barolo and La Morra, calcareous marl predominates (here called Tortonium). These wines are somewhat milder and mature faster. The second type of soil, with a higher content of sandstone in the districts of Castiglione Falleto, Monforte and Serralunga (here called Helvetium) produces more intense wines that require a longer ageing period. However, all Barolo wines have some common features. This is a garnet red colour, relatively high alcohol, tannin and acidity content and a complex aroma of plums, roses, tar and liquorice.
The red wine needs a long maturing period of up to ten years or more to completely remove the tannin hardness. The colour changes from ruby to brick red. It has an extremely long shelf life, namely at least 25 years and more. It rightly enjoys true cult character; the Italians call it the "King of wines and wine of kings". The Barolo has to mature for 38 months, 18 months of which in wood, the Riserva for 62 months, 18 months of which in wood. Both have a minimum alcohol content of 12.5% vol. There is also a bitter version, Barolo Chinato, which is mixed with cinchona bark and other spices and sprinkled to an alcohol content of around 16% vol. From the mid-1990s onwards, the young generation of winemakers in particular began to try out new winemaking techniques. These include short maceration times, mash heating and barrique maturation. The best vintages are 1982, 1985, 1988, 1989, 1990, 1993, 1995, 1996, 1997, 2000, 2002, 2004, 2006, 2007 and 2010.