Some Barolo crus get overshadowed by their better known neighbours, says Tom Hyland. He picks five wines demonstrating the originality and value on offer by the lesser-known crus...
Over the last two to three decades, there has been a noticeable shift in how Barolo is presented to the market, with classic Barolo, produced from a number of vineyards or communes, taking a back seat to cru offerings. These single-vineyard releases have given Barolo a higher profile among critics and consumers, with several of the finest sites – such as Cannubi, Brunate and Cerequio – taking on an almost legendary status.
- See Hyland’s five wines to try below
However, there are numerous crus located among the 11 communes of the Barolo production zone that have emerged as superb parcels, yet have not received the same recognition as the most celebrated plots. Vineyards such as Prapò, Lazzarito, Ravera, Monvigliero and others are the source of some of the most important wines from dozens of Barolo’s finest producers. What’s more, a good number of these examples are also less expensive than their famous counterparts – a true win-win situation.
Lesser-known Barolo crus at a glance
Prapò Powerful wines, firm tannins, typical Serralunga terroir.
Margheria More fragrant and less tannic than a typical Serralunga Barolo.
Parafada Classic Serralunga power and structure; built for the long haul.
Meriame Rich black fruit, firm tannins; powerful Serralunga style that ages well.
Lazzarito Big tannic structure, pepper and tar notes; austere wines requiring lengthy ageing.
Ginestra Typical Monforte power and firm tannins along with expressive red fruit.
Ravera Elegant, fresh, graceful Barolos in a Burgundian style.
Villero Minerality and floral notes; delicate red spice; medium to full.
Monvigliero Long-lived wines with graceful tannins; floral perfume with notes of red cherry and strawberry.
Bricco delle Viole Floral with elegant tannins and bright fruit; peak at 20 years.
Conca Wild fruit flavours, distinct balsamic notes; very good acidity; great longevity
Underrated Barolo crus: Five wines to try
Dried cherry, date and cedar aromas with subtle wood notes...
Red cherry and tar notes, this is youthful, with slightly bitter tannins...
Red cherry and talcum powder aromas...
The classic Cogno Ravera Barolo. Medium- to full bodied...
Aromas of currant, tobacco and tar...