Buying a nice bottle of Barolo can break the bank, but we think we've found a delicious wine at an absolute snip - just a little over a tenner at Lidl!
The King of Wines
First off, let's talk Barolo basics. Sometimes nicknamed 'the King of Wines', it's made from the Nebbiolo grape which is grown in Piedmont, the north-west region of Italy where the country climbs up towards the Alps and borders with France.
Barolo has a distinctively pale, almost ruby colour but a strong structure with loads of tannins. It's usually dry too and high in acid. Full of delicate red fruits like raspberry, it always strikes me as a complex and rather elegant wine. It is also known for earthy and almost savoury notes, expressing the land of the region where it's grown, which is also famous for hazelnuts.
Barolo must be made in a specific area of Piedmont, and can only be sold after an obligatory minimum 3 years of ageing, 18 months of which needs to be in oak barrels. If it's aged for 5 years, it can then be called 'Riserva'. A bottle of Barolo will be a minimum of 13%, so it is usually on the strong side.
Barolo country, Piedmont
'Never Buy a Cheap Barolo'
As we mentioned, Barolo needs ageing and Nebbiolo is a fragile grape that needs lots of love; because of factors like this Barolo can be very expensive. Sometimes you hear the phrase 'never buy a cheap Barolo'. But in this case we disagree - this one from Lidl is rather cheap as far as Barolos go, and you should definitely buy it if you are interested in experiencing a very drinkable expression of the Nebbiolo grape.
It's light yet bold with plenty of acid, and red fruit like cranberries and cherries. The tannins are strong yet smooth, and you can feel the oak it has been aged in. There are also those classic earthy and nutty Barolo undertones - we got a little tobacco (in a good way) - and the wine lingers long in the mouth. Maybe a good idea with this one to open it up a little while before dinner and let it breathe.
At 14% it's fairly boozy and it's great with food. As a lower end Barolo, it doesn't quite have the boldness and power to stand up to a heavier and rich red meat dish, but would be perfect with something a little lighter - maybe some lamb chops or veal. It would be great with all manner of pasta dishes, and an absolute winner with cheese.
Give it a try and let us know if you enjoyed, we think it's a bargain!