Drinking Barolo


What is the ideal age to drink Barolo? Enzo Brezza (pictured) of the Barolo winery Giacomo Brezza (tastings) paid the Sydney wine trade a visit recently and confessed that he preferred to drink his own Barolos relatively young.

At dinner with a group of local nebb-heads named Club Nebb, Brezza was observed to be enjoying such superb wines as 1999 Aldo Conterno Barolo Colonello (tasting), and his own 1996 Brezza Barolo Sarmassa (tasting) – two smashing wines, incidentally – although he’d said at a masterclass earlier in the day that his preference was to drink the wines within six to 15 years of harvest. A 1978 Barale Barolo Riserva Castellero (tasting) was also found to be drinking rather well.

The funny thing was that when another top Barolo producer, Roberto Voerzio (tastings), visited last November he professed to love older Barolos. I’d have to concede that in my view, his Barolos fall into the long-ageing category. His tip on his own wines was that they needed at least 10 years before you think about opening them.

Of course, some producers’ wines do suit longer ageing than others, and some sub-regions (especially Monforte d’Alba) are firmer and demand more time before they enter the drinking window. But the most important factor at play here is that people’s taste preferences differ. Even winemakers in the same region. Chacun à son goût (each to his own taste), as the French say.

*I tasted 23 Brezza wines, including Barolo Cannubi (tasting), Sarmassa (tastings) and Bricco Sarmassa (tastings) from vintages 2003-2012, and all my notes are on the app now.

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