The Barolo wine region is home to 181 delimited areas comprised of 11 communes and 170 vineyard areas. Since 2010, the 181 delimited areas are known as Menzioni Geografiche Aggiuntive or “MEGAs” for short. The newer rules surrounding the wines made in these delimited areas are not without controversy. However, what is undisputed, is that the best wines are made in its five original communes: Barolo, Castiglione Falletto, La Morra, Monforte d’Alba, and Serralunga d’Alba. Together these communes represent approximately 87% of the production of Barolo.
There are about 500 members of the Consorzio di Tutela Barolo Barbaresco Alba Langhe e Dogliani, the wine consortium which promotes the wines of Barolo, as well as Barbaresco, Alba, Langhe and Dogliani. This number includes a few large producers, but the vast majority are small, family-owned wineries. It is possible to visit many of the wineries in the area, but most require an appointment. A few are open for drop-in visitors, but this is the exception rather than the rule. However, it is quite possible to taste fine wines in each of the five original communes of the Barolo area in one day. The map below demonstrates the ease with which this can be accomplished.
Tasting in the Five Original Communes without Appointments
We start our tour in La Morra, then visit Castiglione Falletto, Barolo, and Monforte d’Alba before finishing up in Serralunga d’Alba.
With 750 hectares of vineyards, La Morra produces 35% of the region’s production of Barolo. The village itself sits atop the hill of La Morra, the highest hill in the DOCG. At the heart of the village lies the Cantina Comunale di La Morra, which was established in 1973. The Cantina is situated in the eighteenth-century cellars of the palace of the Marchesi di Barolo located in the Town Hall square. There one can experience a broad overview of La Morra wine production, as well as a wine shop, and six different wines from La Morra to taste. A small art exhibit from local artisans is located next door.
Perhaps the most pleasant stop of the day will be at the Cantina Comunale Di Castiglione Falletto, located just steps away from the Castle at the center of the village. This Cantina Communal includes a wonderful, large porch area with fantastic views of the surrounding vineyards. You may enjoy your wine tasting either inside or outside. Better yet, the Cantina features a wonderful menu of home-cooked Piemontese dishes. The food is amazing, the wine is plentiful, and the staff is very friendly. Be careful, their pours are very generous!
The Barolo commune is considered the historical heart of the region. The village is slightly larger then La Morra and there are several tasting rooms available to sample wines without appointments.
The Enoteca Regional del Barolo is the largest. Since 1982 the Enoteca has been located in the ancient Palazzo of the Falletti family. In its tasting room you will find wine dispensing machines with approximately 30 wines representing a great cross section of the area’s producers. A few of the machines hold vintages of approximately ten years in age.
Cantina Damilano is one of the nicest tasting rooms in the village and walk-ins are welcome. At Damilano you can begin with an Arneis, Rosato, or Moscato D’Asti. From there you can sample the Dolcetto D’Alba, Barbera D’Asti, or Barbera D’Alba. Their Nebbiolos include a Langhe Nebbiolo, a Barolo “LeCinqueVigne”, and four single vineyard crus: Cannubi, Liste, Brunate, and Cerequio. The “LeCinqueVigne” is a blend made from the Castellero, La Cavourrina, Ravera, Bussia, and Le Coste MEGAs. Prior to 2010, these vineyards could have been listed on the label, but now producers can only list the vineyard if at least 85% of the grapes are from the one single named vineyard. Thus producers are forced to either label a blend as “generic” Barolo or compose a “fantasy” name for the blend as Damilano did with their LeCinqueVigne, which translates into “the five vineyards”. The tasting room is classy, our hostess, Jessica, was very friendly and the wines are great! Don’t get confused. The winery is actually located in La Morra, but the drop-in tasting room is in the wine shop in the village of Barolo.
Monforte d’Alba is a short and scenic 11 minute drive from Barolo. It is the largest village of the five original communes and therefore the busiest. There are more winery tasting rooms in Barolo but there are plenty of Enotecas in Monforte. Several are centered near the town square upon which Municipio or City Hall is located, which also contains the village parking lot. Right next door you can find the Barolo Bar Di Aiassa Silvia. The bar has more hip vibe then any of the other stops on this trip but the wine selection is good and its great for change of pace. There are also several other Enotecas, but be ready for some exercise as several of them are up some rather steep walkways and streets.
The last stop on the tour is at the Fontanafredda Winery just outside the village of Serralunga d’Alba. While the address of the winery is Serralunga d’Alba, the winery, hotel and restaurant are located approximately 5 kilometers north of the village. Also, while finding the winery is easy, their website can be a little confusing as they often refer to themselves as Villa Contessa Rosa instead of Fontanafredda. You do not need an appointment for a tasting, however, if you want a guided tour of their famous cellars, making an appointment is recommended. Their tasting room contains a miniature Eately store and allows for tasting a variety of their wines, including, upon request, their three Barolo single crus. The grounds of the hotel and winery make for a very pleasant way to end the day’s tour.
Five Original Communes of Barolo in One Day
While we are not recommending that you spend only one day in the Barolo wine region, you certainly can make it a very interesting day if one day is all you have for your visit. The Barolo region is one of the world’s prettiest wine regions and well worth a visit of several days. One could easily spend a week here, setting up a producer visit in the morning followed by lunch and some tastings in the producer’s commune that afternoon. A visit to Barolo is highly recommended and will definitely enlighten any wine lover!
Cantina Comunale di La Morra
Via C. Alberto 2
12064 La Morra
Tel. +39 0173 509204
10:00am – 12:30pm
2:30pm – 6:30pm
Cantina Comunale Di Castiglione Falletto
Via Camillo Benso Conte di Cavour, 24
12060 Castiglione Falletto CN
Tel. +39 0173 62938
11am – 7pm
Enoteca Regionale del Barolo
Piazza Falletti, 1
Tel. +39 0173 56277
10:00am – 6:30pm
Damilano Wine Shop
Via Roma, 31
12060 Barolo CN
Tel. +39 0173 56105
10:30am – 6:30pm
Barolo Bar Di Aiassa Silvia
Via Giuseppe Garibaldi, 11
12065 Monforte d’Alba CN
Tel. +39 0173 789243
Villa Contessa Rossa
Via Alba, 15
12050 Serralunga d’Alba CN
Tel. +39 -173 626111