Barale Fratelli

Italy, Piedmont

The Barale family's wine-making history can be traced right back to 1870 when the village of Barolo first started making a name for itself as a hub for fine quality Nebbiolo in the Langhe region. This charming small town now gives its name to the whole region and remains one of the most important of the 11 Barolo 'villages'.

The historic Barale family winery is right in the centre. From the outside it would appear to be just another townhouse - but through the gates you find a gorgeous courtyard and a labyrinth of cellars that lead on to the winery itself. On our last visit we found the family mid-harvest and this ancient workspace was in full swing and working ideally - so why would you move? It was a joy to watch the seamless transition of the grapes from the small picking-baskets on the back of the tractor into the fermentation tanks.
They have moved with the times in the cellar - but only to help them preserve the charm and freshness of their great terroirs. Luigi resisted the fashions of the 1990s here, shunning the heavier extraction and hunt for more power - and never jumping to using lots of new oak. His unstinting allegiance to traditional winemaking serves the family well now. These are elegant, poised and sometimes hauntingly good wines. Tradition is at the heart of how they operate here - but they are not luddites! Embracing modern practices when they can help achieve their goals, rather than change the results.

Francesco Barale, great-grandfather of the current owner, was among the pioneers in the production of Barolo. Today Luigi and his daughters Eleonora and Gloria carry on the old family tradition.