Age Worthy Italian Red Wine ~ Brunello or Barolo
When asking Italians what the best Italian red wine is, you won’t get one answer. You’ll get at least 20. This is because there are 20 Italian regions, and each region focuses on a different red wine with its own style. However, there are two Italian red wines that wine lovers hail as the “King of Italian Wine”. Those are Barolo and Brunello.
The Kings of Italian Red Wine
Just so you know, Brunello is short for Brunello di Montalcino.
If you love Italian red wines already, then I personally challenge you to plan your own taste comparison between Brunello and Barolo. If you are an Italian wine lover, you don’t need much of an excuse for some fun, “educational drinking, right? I want to share with you a glimpse of the primary differences between Barolo and Brunello, and the world of First Class Italian Vino!
Barolo is a high-tannin, age-worthy red wine that’s produced in Northwest Italy, made with 100% Nebbiolo grapes. When you taste a Barolo, you will notice there are notes of rose petal, cherry and raspberry sauce, cinnamon, white pepper. With age, licorice, leather, and chocolate are present. From the Piedmont region, the average cost of a bottle of Barolo wine is $60–$90.00, with an aging potential of 3 to 5 Years for Riserva. Wine lovers agree that these wines are best to drink up to 10 years after the vintage on bottle. My mouth is watering already!
Brunello di Montalcino is a moderate tannin, age-worthy red wine made in Central Italy, made with the very best 100% Sangiovese grapes. You will find tasting notes that include cherry, dried oregano, aged balsamic, red pepper flake, brick. With age, you will taste fig, sweet tobacco, espresso, and leather. From the Tuscany region, the average cost will be $40 to $65.00 per bottle, with an aging potential of 5 to 6 years for Riserva. It is suggested to drink up to 20 years after the bottle vintage. Yum!
Food Pairing with Barolo & Brunello
Now comes my favorite part: food pairing with Barolo and Brunello!
Barolo: The aromatic finesse of Barolo, matched with its bold astringency, makes it a wonderful Italian red wine for food. Barolo is well-matched with game birds (quail, pheasant, duck), veal, and sweetbreads. For you vegetarians, porcini and truffle risotto is a great dish pairing. Yes, Barolo does have intense tannin, but this actually acts as a benefit when matched with rich, fatty meats and pasta dishes. Because of Barolo’s delicate floral and red-fruit flavors, you’ll want to match it with meats the vegetables with more delicate flavor profiles. This is why we think poultry, pork chops and other white meats are an ideal match.
Brunello di Montalcino: Brunello, with its savory punch and brilliant acidity, is a fair contender with a variety of foods. It pairs well with richly flavored red meats, tomato-based dishes and Tuscan-inspired fare that highlights olive oil and vinegar. Red meats from wild boar to lamb tend to highlight Brunello’s ethereal strawberry and cherry flavors. I love pairing Brunello with Moroccan-Spiced Lamb. Tuscan tomato-based dishes, like tomato Gnocchi, tend to bring out the herbaceous and tobacco-like qualities in Brunello. Generally, because Brunello di Montalcino packs a wallop of spice, you’ll want to pair it with rich foods with rich flavors. This is why red meats and rich vegetables are the way to go.
Salud! It’s time to pop a cork and enjoy. Shop Time for Wine’s Italian wines today!
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