Wine Wednesday: the Barolo wars

Welcome to a new segment … Wine Wednesday!

Every Wednesday I’ll do my take on some wine I’ve been sampling lately. My qualifications? I’m Australian (and therefore don’t mind a drink!!) I’ve done a few wine tasting courses over the years and done the rounds of Australian and Kiwi wine countries. And a few overseas ones too.

One famous wine region I’ve been lucky enough to get to is Barolo in Piedmont, one of Italy’s most foodie-focussed regions. The tiny village of Barolo produces the eponymous Barolo wine, a much-acclaimed big bold red wine.

Barolo’s charming shopfronts and multitude of wine shops and German visitors, who have popped over the border, don’t give any hint to the recent Barolo Wine Wars.

In the 1970’s and 80’s as the taste for wine moved from less tannic wines to more fruity wines, a group of Barolo winemakers used technology, rather than traditional methods, to adjust to the new wine demand, and the Barolo Wars unfolded as Technology versus Tradition.

The Traditionalists believed Barolos should have a long maceration time (up to a month) and be aged in large oak barrels. Ma non, cried The Modernists, who wanted a much shorter maceration time (only a week) and were experimenting with aging the wine in smaller French oak barrels, making the wine ready to drink sooner.

The battle raged on but today Barolo remains one of Italy’s most popular wines and a truce between Traditionalists and Modernists has been reached.

After all, life’s too short to drink bad wine and too short to argue about good wine!

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