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Photo Essay: What Visiting Barolo Looks Like

An October Afternoon in the Commune of Barolo

3 min read

Barolo takes a lifetime to fully understand.

That was the conclusion I came to after visiting the commune of Barolo a while back. We had first shown up on a sleepy Saturday afternoon in October, the four of us — my wife and I, and our friends Adam and Tess — tapped-out from a full day at Alba’s white truffle festival. And yet, the sight of the modest “kingdom” tucked between vine-draped hills inspired a second wind. I forgot about tasting wine for a few hours, and instead focused on photographing this pleasant little commune as a means to get familiar with it.

Barolo, Piedmont, Italy

On a second visit, a few days later while it rained, Adam and I descended onto the commune’s wine room, and we had a brief tasting focused on the DOCG’s soils. Three different Barolos from the same vintage: one originating from sandy soil, one from calcerous marl, one that blended the two (which I believe was just a Nebbiolo Langhe — I didn’t take notes … I was on photography mode). The differences were extraordinary. The exercise didn’t teach me how to find a good Barolo, or turn me into a somm-wannabe. It simply taught me that there is more to wine than I could ever know … much like the ways of nature. It is best to be just passionate about it, and enjoy the ride.

I have one bottle of Barolo — a 2006 Eugenio Bocchino  “Lu” — that I’m cellaring for as long as I can stand it. It hails from the hills around La Morra, where the Barolos are more perfume-like and accessible. Still, whenever I see a Barolo in a wine shop, or on a wine menu, I think of that afternoon walking through the commune with my camera, more than I think about anything else.

It’s more poignant to taste with memory than it is to taste within the moment.

Note: All photos ©Kevin Day / Opening a Bottle

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Castle, Barolo, Piedmont, Italy

Barolo, Piedmont, Italy

Wine bottles in the wine museum, Barolo, Piedmont, Italy

Barolo, Piedmont, Italy

Barolo, Piedmont, Italy

Barolo, Piedmont, Italy

Grape harvest, Barolo, Piedmont, Italy

Barolo, Piedmont, Italy

Barolo, Piedmont, Italy

Barolo, Piedmont, Italy

 

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