What is a “Baby Barolo”? If you follow Italian wine, you might have heard this term here and there. But what does it mean?
Honestly, it’s actually a bit of a misnomer. But it’s a phrase that helps people to understand often overlooked wines that deserve our attention.
Let’s start with the basics.
Barolo is an appellation in Piedmont in northwestern Italy. It’s arguably Italy’s most coveted and collectible wine. It’s made in a handful of townships (small rural municipalities) scattered around Piedmont’s “Langhe” hills, a place renowned for the quality of its beef, its aged cheeses, and — of course — its famous wines.
Barolo is made from 100 percent Nebbiolo grapes, usually from older vines grown in top growing spots. Old vines always make for the best wines (that’s because the vines producer fewer but more richly flavored grapes).
So what does a winemaker do with newly planted or younger vines that will someday become Barolo? Many of them, like Mauro Molino, one of our favorite Barolo producers, blend the grapes under a wider appellation known as “Langhe Nebbiolo.” These wines may not have the same aging potential — and price tag — as a Barolo does. But they are made of the same stuff: Nebbiolo grapes planted in the best vineyards.
It’s not that these wines are “babies.” No, they are “adult” wines in their own right. They are just made from younger vines.
When we recently tasted the 2018 Mauro Molino Langhe Nebbiolo, we were blown away and immediately put it on the wine list. This is clearly “Barolo-worthy” fruit that has been vinified in a lighter style (thanks to fewer days of maceration than the winemaker would employ for the Barolo).
For this week’s Wine Dinner at Home, $119 sends you home with a bottle of Langhe Nebbiolo by Mauro Molino, a second bottle of red wine (more on that later) from one of our favorite Amarone producers, and dinner for two. Pretty tough to beat!
Thursday, September 30
Pick-up between 5-7 p.m.
$119 per couple
Please email Jeremy to reserve
by clicking here.
Gnocchi with homemade Italian sausage in a light pomodoro sauce
Mauro Molino 2018 Langhe Nebbiolo, Piedmont, Italy
Pollo al Portafoglio
Chicken breast filled with burrata and prosciutto, breaded and pan seared
Masi 2015 Brolo Campofiorin Oro, Veneto, Italy
Frutta del Bosco
Mixed berry tart with vanilla custard
Homemade Mint Infused Limoncello, Houston, Texas