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Barolo

Just a few kilometers west of Alba, the Barolo zone encompasses not only its eponymous village, but also the towns La Morra, Monforte d'Alba, Serralunga d'Alba, and Castiglione Falleto. The Nebbiolo grape performs best in hillside vineyards, and the best of these sites are more or less south-facing. While hard and unyielding in its youth, surliness gives way over time—we're talking the finest examples, of course—and a Barolo at age 15 or 20 loses much of its aggressive tannin, becoming softer and rounder but without heaviness. The degree of complexity can be nothing short of staggering, often displaying notes of small red forest fruits (wild raspberry), faded rose, tar, licorice, mushrooms, and woodsmoke.   More