Getting into Barolo

I’m new to this website and am looking for advice. I have about 40 bottles of Barolo and want to start exploring it in more depth. I am looking for guidance on which producers to buy from. There are so many, and besides some of the big names, I am not familiar with many of the producers.

A rough description of my collection so far is:

Aldo Conterno Colonello 1997
Alessandro Rivetti 2015
Fontanafredda 2006 Serralung D’Alba
Marchese di Barolo 2014 traditional and 2000 Cannubi
Monchiero 2018
Paolo Scavino Bric de Fiasc 2009, 2015, 2018, 2019
Pecchenino 2013
Scrimaglio 2015
Tenuta Cucco 2016

I am not looking to spend an outrageous amount of money on bottles. But I would like to have a solid collection of 100 bottles.

Can anyone give me advice? Sometimes I see good deals on Barolo, but I do not know if they are good producers or not so good. In fact, some of the above may be from not so good producers.



A few questions. What’s your $ range? How long do you want to age these? Would you include Barbaresco and perhaps alto Piemonte?

To be fair, 40 bottles in the cellar is already decent depth.

Rather than adding what some strangers on the internet think, I’d suggest letting your palate drive the direction, and where we may be of more help is where you say e.g. I didn’t much care for that because of…, but I loved the … in that wine.

Of those you have, I definitely wouldn’t wait any longer on the 1997 colonello. Indeed I’d be very intrigued how you find it, as I had very poor experiences with the 1997 cicala from the same producer (and only slightly better with their 1998 Bussia Soprana). It was very much when they were experimenting with modernist techniques. A shame, as I’d previously loved their wines.

Marchesi di Barolo 2000 Cannubi probably next to dive into, as although it’s a prestigious vineyard, 2000 is a warmer vintage and not one I’d be banking on long term ageing, plus I’ve found their recent style to be rather open. Oddly another where I still have fond memories (my partner’s first Barolo was one of theirs, and we’ve also had some good very old bottles), but I’m not excited by what I’ve tasted from recent releases (past decade or two).

Fontanafredda probably next one after that, as although 2006 quite a structured vintage, if this is the bottling I’m thinking of, it itself won’t be firmly structured.

I think these three might be useful in informing you how you feel about age in nebbiolo, and also more modernist in Aldo Conterno, vs. more traditional (but open) Fontanafredda and Marchesi di Barolo. The more older examples you can find, the better it will inform your buying, and there are specialist shops and/or auctions that can get access to them.

Cucco also of interest, as whilst we were disappointed when we visited in 2012, the company changed hands maybe a year afterwards, hence my interest in whether the new owners have re-invigorated the estate. 2016 ought to be way too young to drink though.

As for good/bad, despite having my opinions above, I’m very much a believer in good/bad for us as individuals, rather than some general ranking system. I know my tastes lean towards firm structure (but I love some florals as well), so some I like e.g. Marcarini, old Borgogno, La Ca’Nova may not be appreciated by others.

I do very much hope you enjoy exploring nebbiolo, be it Barolo, Barbaresco, Roero, Valtellina & Gattinara and others from the north, or indeed from elsewhere. In that journey, I’d also recommend finding 2-3 langhe nebbiolo wines you like, as there are some lovely ones around, that will be approachable earlier, but very much give a strong hint at what you expect in Barolo & Barbaresco… and a lot cheaper!

If you can ever find a way to visit the langhe (barolo villages, barbaresco villages, and much more) I’d strongly recommend it. It allows for more focused tasting across communes, vineyards, producers and 2-3 vintages. On top of that the food is some of the best in Italy, plus shared ownership of vineyards requires open access… thus its criss-cross of paths through these famous vineyards provides a wonderful resource for tourists who love walking through them (plus a few woods etc.). The villages are generally compact and subtly different, and it’s also easy to drive in (but the public transport is virtually non-existent). Langhe, roero & Monferrato tourist board is exceptionally good / professional.

Oh and welcome! You’ll find lots of fellow nebbiolo fans here.


Thanks for your responses! My price range is as follows: for a special bottle I will pay $100-$150, but I prefer to pay in the $40 to $50 range for Barolo. My sweet spot for wines where I think I get the best quality-to-price ratio is in the $20-$30 range. Personally, and maybe my experience and palate are not developed enough, I do not find the value in spending $300 for a Gaja or Giacosa, as opposed to 3 bottles of a Scavino Bric de Fiasco or 5 bottles of a Pio Cesare.

I am intrigued by aged wines, though I have only started to dabble in that. Oh, I forgot to mention, I have a mixed case of Dosio Barolo as well from 2016 and 2017.

I am willing to venture into other areas like Barbaresco and Gattinara. I have had Travaglini in the past and really liked its elegance. However, I bought 6 bottles of Petterino Reserva 2013 and thought they all tasted like wet cardboard. I don’t know if it was the wine, or if it was age or storage or they were all corked.

As I wrote in my original post, I do not have that much knowledge about producers. I have heard people say a Nebbiolo Langhe from a great producer is better than a Barolo from a not so good producer. Besides the big names, I am still learning.


That’s a telling statement. If you feel convicted in that statement, I’d refine your request for wine recommendations under $50. My personal favorite producers are Cappellano, Burlotto, Bartolo - and I’d much rather have one of those than a Gaja or Pio Cesare. So I wonder if perhaps you should try some other producers less than $300 and more than $100, before declaring that area off limits. Under $50, you should certainly try/seek out Produttori Barbaresco (not barolo but right there), base barolo for well regarded producers (Brovia etc.), and there are many threads for “QPR” on Winebeserkers which discuss good value wines (Burlotto Pelaverga/Langhe Nebbiolo etc.). That said, I think you should explore some higher end cuvees… 2019 Burlotto barolo, 2016 Vajra Bricco de Violle, 2019 Baudana Ceretta, 2013 Brovia Rocche etc. are all in the $70-$100 range and I think are great wines to cellar.


Your list contains producers with very different styles. I’d probably start by trying to identify a style you particularly like, perhaps by choosing the producer(s) who makes your favorite wines of those you’ve had so far. Research their style on this board, their own websites, CT, and importer websites. Then I’d search this board for posts about the producer and find the people here who seem to like wines which are made in your style. See which wines they are drinking, discussing, and recommending. That can give you some good producers to explore. When you see what appear to be good deals, search here and CT for an idea of whether it’s something you will like. Also consider wines beyond Barolo. Barbaresco, Alto Piemonte, Valtellina. Different styles, particularly those outside the Langhe, but much to offer.

I would definitely recommend buying the lesser wines, particularly the Langhe Nebbiolo, from producers to see what their style is about. In good vintages these can reflect very good value, and in my experience often represent the house style. That can very by producer of course. Most importantly, they’ll be more accessible young. One of the challenges with Barolo and Barbaresco is that while they might have a period where they are accessible when very young, they then close down hard, often for a long time, so having wines from these producers you can enjoy more easily and more reliably when young can be invaluable.

If you can afford it, it’s hard to go wrong with the classic producers: Burlotto, Mascarello, Cappellano, Cavallotto, A Conterno, Rinaldi, Oddero, etc., etc. More affordable producers I’d recommend include Produttori del Barbaresco (not Barolo obvs.), Vajra, Vietti, Fratelli Alessandria, Fennocchio, Luigi Pira, Trediberri, Azelia, Giulia Negri, Elio Grasso, E. Cogno. One caveat is these are pretty much all traditional producers. I tend to think of Scavino and Pio Cesare, both of whom you mention, as being quite modern. If that is a style you prefer then probably ignore my suggestions! Or try some of the lesser wines and see what you think.

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It is absolutely possible that there was a corked (TCA tainted) barrel, but I’ve also experienced some lighter/heavier cropped nebbiolo that has had me wondering whether it was scalped by TCA, or just lacking in substance. I’d definitely recommend staying away from the very cheapest barolo/barbaresco (I guess around usd 15), though that’s arguably true for every prestigious wine region.

If you get the chance to taste Gaja, Giacosa or other prestigious labels, then absolutely do (I’m sure you would), but the corollary to the above, is that the most sought after labels soon become shockingly bad value when compared to the rest. See GB Burlotto which a decade ago was (IMO) good value and a super range with strong appeal throughout, but now the Barolo wines cost high multiples of what they used to cost (at least by the time they hit retail and especially secondary pricing), because some critic anointed it with 100 of his points, and too many blindly followed that critic. The value IMO now appalling.

one aspect of visiting, is being able to sniff out some superb value lesser known producers, that absolutely would be well within your preference of $40-50. I recall paying ~€20 a bottle for La Ca’Nova’s single vineyard barbaresco in 2012, and likewise places like Boasso / Gabutti and Serradenari were on no critic’s radar when I tasted and bought their wines. I try to mix in lesser known / unknown producers along with those I’m aware of or already like, maybe 50:50. That also helps plan tastings that allow us to walk from tasting to tasting, rather than being tied to the car. The fresh air is often a good interlude between tastings, and being braver on the tastings we book, makes it easier to walk.

Very good advice here so far. You definitely need to figure out your style preferences. It’s ok to like both classic and modern. I would try to find age examples. Get on the Chambers mail list. They often offer a range of aged wines. There’s tons of wines under $100 that I love. Produttori del Barbaresco is a prime example. I also suggest formering a relationship with a local store, where you can hopefully taste. Joining/starting a tasting group is also a nice way to learn. Organize offlines focused on Nebbiolo. Taste, taste and taste some more. Be patient and learn to trust your palate.


For a budget every day pick I really enjoy Noah Bramaterra from Italys Northern Alpine region Alto Piemonte. Very elegant and great QPR at bottom end of your price range imo. Cheers

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Well I’ll throw my 2 cents in. It seems like you enjoy a lot of different styles of Barolo - I respect that. Variety is fun. So to continue your exploration, I’d recommend two broad approaches.

First, look for the entry level Barolo (sometimes called “Classico” here on the boards) from producers. Usually this is just called “Barolo” without a vineyard or other designation, though there is a lot of variety. The Classicos tend (broadly speaking) to be earlier drinking and certainly less expensive than other bottlings. These are often in your price range, even from top producers. Some examples are Vietti Castiglione, Fratelli Alessandria del Comune di Verduno, Vajra Barolo Albe.

Second, you can learn about producer and vintage styles even more inexpensively (and still deliciously) with their entry level non-Barolo made from Nebbiolo grapes. These usually have “Langhe Nebbiolo” or something similar in their names. Plus these are often in the $20-$30 range, are low tannin/meant for early drinking and can be excellent wines. Most producers make these, but some I like include Massolino, Trediberri, Elio Grasso as well as the names I already mentioned. It can be really interesting to compare these to the higher priced Barolos from the same producers as well.

Though it be heresy here, a subscription to a reputable professional review site can be really helpful to navigate a region with so many producers. I subscribe to Vinous ( and they have very deep coverage of Barolo as well as other wines made from the same grape (Barbaresco, Langhe Nebbiolo, Alto Piemonte Nebbiolo, etc.). While you may or may not agree with any particular review, this will give you a good sense of better or worse producers, vintage variation, etc. They will consistently review many more wines than are discussed here on WB. And they’ll help you answer questions like ‘why are the same wines from 2018 so much cheaper than 2016?’

What part of the country do you live in? There are a ton of great stores that have tastings, offer useful advice, etc. Folks here can make a lot of useful recommendations for stores.


I live in North Jersey, about 30 minutes outside of NYC.

Great recommendations. All wines give lasting expressions

This could easily be a 100+ comment thread, but it will be hard to top this basic advice. These wines are generally available, well priced, and very representative.

Throw in Produttori del Barbaresco, and you have a nice “starter set” of Barolo and Barbaresco that won’t annihilate your bank account.

In the $50 +/- $10 range, there are certainly lesser know producers with Cru bottlings. But your enjoyment will be more variable, based on the commune, producer style, vintage, and overall quality. This is a case of learning what you like and researching before you buy.

Since I am not a die hard traditionalist (more elegant accessible style is good, but don’t want oak dominating the flavor profile), I like to dabble here buying 1 or 2 bottles from producers/crus that look interesting based on my preferences. But I certainly don’t expect a 100% success rate.

Nice, I grew up in Livingston! I’ve long since moved to California, but I’m sure others here will chime in with great stores in NJ and NY. You’re lucky - you live in the epicenter of Italian wine in the US with the best prices and most availability.

It does seem like there’s a sweet spot in this price range, many well-respect, well reviewed producers, and top Crus to boot. This is my higher end range for Barolo purchasing, but there seem to be legit world class wines in this bracket. (Though what’s in my cellar is still 5-10 years away from early maturity.)

Chambers Street and Crush in NYC will be your friend.

Instead of buying up bottles to age, you’d be much better off using that money to buy bottles that have age and drink them.

Really, you just need to drink far and wide for a bit to figure out what you like and at what age you like them. Don’t be afraid to drink some baby Barolo.
How else will you learn about them and the aging curves?


Curious, what do you think (i) fair value is for the Burlotto classico and Burlotto Monvigliero and (ii) what do you think relative value is (comparing those two wines against their peer wine values).

A fair question. I don’t recall what we paid when we visited in 2012, or bought some more Monvigliero (2008 vintage) a little later, but I reckon the latter was ~£40, with the Acclivi marginally cheaper (and the Monvigliero marginally cheaper at the winery)

Given I bought 3 bottles of the 2008, I’d say I viewed it then as good, but not stunning value. With inflation at ~ 30% over the last decade, let’s call that £55 adjusted to modern money. To still think of it as value, I’d probably say under £65 (say $80 US).

Current WS prices seem to be around £300 a bottle for the Monvigliero, but over £400 for lauded (or perhaps pointed) vintages.

FWIW I doubt this inflation is at Fabio’s end, he never seemed to have the ego to ‘position’ his winery in such a way. It’s quite possible his cellar door prices are in line with what he used to charge, merely rising with inflation.

I don’t score wine, nor believe in such rankings, so I’m the wrong person to ask about comparable peer wines, and nor do I drink enough each year to stay on top of any concept of what are the qualitative peers. Others might feel more informed to try an answer to that.


As several have already said,
Vajra, Fratelli Alessandria, and Brovia are quality producers at reasonable price points and can age well, particularly in good years.

If your looking for $20-30 don’t sleep on the Pelaverga varietal.

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I think you are doing the right thing to start focusing on which producers to buy rather than what seems to be a good deal. Many times that leads to disappointments later on.

I did something similar with a few bottles, opened one of them, a Marchesi di Barolo 2010 Sarmassa a week ago or so. It was very uninspiring and a Langhe Nebbiolo from 2015 (Principiano) was on a completely different level. The form was sinked. Fontanafredda is for example another one I probably would feel the same way about.

I’ll come to a few producer I would consider interesting based on what you shared earlier, and a good advice others shared is to seal out Langhe Nebbiolo wines (there are a few very good threads with recommendations if you do a search here). Quality wise many are now terrific with less need of aging, better or similar level to many Barolos out there. I stopped being too focused on the aging obsession, quite a few wines aren’t that exciting with more time and can taste just like aged wine which isn’t exactly that exciting to me. On the other hand it can also be a transcending wow experience. Try a few on release, around 10 years and then see how they show thereafter.

From the following producers don’t be shy to try out the Langhe Nebbiolos as well:


  • (F) Principiano
  • Oddero
  • Cavallotto
  • Colla (also Barbaresco)
  • Cogno
  • G Fenocchio
  • Marengo
  • Massolino
  • Porro (had the 2020 LN the other day which was starting to drink really well)
  • F. Rinaldi
  • Roagna
  • Elio Sandri
  • Schiavenza
  • Settimo
  • Brezza


  • la ca Nova
  • ca del Baio
  • Cantina del Pino
  • Marchesi di Gresy
  • Musso


  • AR.PE.PE
  • Colombera & Garella
  • Le Piane

I am missing many other good producers for sure but most of the above are producers I have myself, or have had / tasted, and the majority have interesting wines within your price range.