Barolo Food Pairing Guide
Barolo is known as the “King of wine and the wine of kings.” The best way to enjoy Barolo need not be a feast fit for royalty . . . but it should be food with enough weight and depth to complement Barolo’s beautiful flavor profile. Learn more about Barolo food pairing with our useful guide.
Overview of Barolo
- Barolo is a red wine made from grapes grown on the hillsides of Northern Italy’s Langhe region, which is in Piedmont.
- Barolo is made entirely from Nebbiolo.
- Barolo was the first wine to receive the highest designation in Italy: Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita (DOCG).
- Only two other regions were given this designation when it was first announced in 1980.
- All Barolo undergoes a minimum of 38 months of aging. Eighteen of these months consist of aging in wooden casks.
- Reserve wines are aged for a minimum of five years; the wine is aged in oak for at least three of these years.
- Barolo is a fantastic wine for aging. Older vintages should be decanted.
Barolo flavor profile
Barolo is known for its famous “tar and roses” aromas. Dark chocolate, licorice, leather, plums, strawberries, and tobacco often appear alongside these floral and earthen notes. The wine is rich, deep, and concentrated. It has a high alcohol content, a present acidity, and strong tannins.
When young, Barolo has violet or ruby hues; as it ages, it takes on colors of brick and orange.
Tips for pairing Barolo with food
When pairing Barolo with food, one should take into account the wine’s strong tannins and match them with a rich dish that will withstand the wine’s robust nature. Consider dishes with braised or roasted dark meats and rich sauces.
One should also keep in mind that Barolo’s high acidity helps it pair beautifully with richer, fattier meats. Pork and duck both complement a classic Barolo, as does a tomato and pork-based ragu.
Vegetarians need not stray from such an intense wine: mushrooms, which are plentiful in Piedmont, pair beautifully with Barolo as well. Consider pairing Barolo with a mushroom or truffle risotto. Aged Piedmontese cheeses such as Castelmagno (which is aged for a minimum of 60 days, but more often aged for 180) and Bra Duro (which is aged for a minimum of 180 days), also pair well with the wine, as do roasted hazelnuts (which the region is known for).