On a warm summer day in July, I found myself driving through Italy’s Piedmont wine region and stopped by the beautiful village of Barolo. Mesmerizing with its continuous hills of vineyards and historic sites, the scenery of this region is as brilliant as the wine it produces.
I spent much of the day tasting the lovely wines at Marchesi di Barolo. A medium- sized winery controlling just over 100 hectares of vineyards, it produces wines ranging from Barolo, Barbaresco, Barbera, Gavi, Arneis, and more. The Marchesi di Barolo estate, and the castle that it overlooks, formerly belonged to the Marquis Falleti. In the late 1800’s, Pietro Abbona purchased the estate and it has remained within the family ever since.
During my visit, I had the pleasure of meeting with Anna Abbona, wife of proprietor Ernesto Abbona. According to Anna, what sets their winery apart from others is that they emphasize the importance of keeping tradition. One of these traditions is blending wines that were oaked in French barriques with the same wines from medium-sized French oak casks. Not only using the traditional processing of their wines, the family has also prioritized growing simple grapes on traditional terroir. Rather than moving forward to modern technique, they look backwards and embrace the methods that made Marchesi di Barolo a monumental factor in gaining the world’s respect for Barolo wines.
Another notable asset to the estate is the Marchesi di Barolo Enoteca. This impressive wine repository contains their Historic Reserve Wines that date all the way back to 1861. Wandering through the numerous shelves of reserve wines organized by year, I felt as if I was stepping back through time. It was so fascinating to look back historically at how the style of wine labels evolved into what they are today. To be in the presence of a winery with so much history behind it was quite humbling to me.
In addition to having first-rate grapes and impeccable winemaking, wine is still only as good as the people who make it. Anna and Ernesto are absolutely incredible people who sincerely love what they do. Their sheer passion for the traditions of their estate and the wine that has been created there for centuries is inspiring. What is truly marvelous about Anna and Ernesto is that with as much success as their estate has had within the wine industry, they both still strive to share this fervor for quality wine with those who stop by the winery. Whether you are a connoisseur or a novice wine drinker, a visit to Marchesi di Barolo is an utterly splendid experience.
Top 3 Wine Choices:
Sarmassa Barolo 2007
A personal favorite of Anna’s, this 100% nebbiolo wine is both vibrant and elegant. Its aromas of spice and black cherry are harmonious to its taste characteristics of meat, black pepper, cigar box, and tobacco. With 2 years of aging in medium sized casks and in French oak barriques, this wine has undertones of wood that pleasantly fuses with the savory and spicy notes.
Paiagal Barbera d’Alba 2008
Paiagal is a hill that is typically ideal for the nebbiolo grape. Because of that, this is more full-bodied than most Barbera wines and has notes of crisp black fruits such as blackberry and blackcurrant. This bold wine is also enhanced by its traces of violet and earthy tones. Beautifully accented by hints of oak and vanilla, this Barbera is a rare and exceptional find.
Roero Arneis 2010
Arneis is a white grape variety that originates from the Roero region of Piedmont. This refreshing wine is fragrant with pear, almond, and herbal notes. What makes this wine remarkable is that although it is a dry white, it also has savory and peppery flavors that resemble a strong red wine. This superb white wine is both unique and memorable.