When the humble, yet masterful British wine writer Harry Waugh was asked, when was the last time he had confused Bordeaux and Burgundy, he famously replied, “not since lunch.”
Ask a 21st century American wine scholar that question about Barolo and Brunello, and they may well respond “not since the last blind tasting.”
This Italian conundrum has manifested itself on Court of Master Sommelier exams and was even documented in the first “Somm” movie. Do you know your Barolo from your Brunello?
Italian wine industry veteran Lars Leicht will walk us through the fundamental differences between the two wines, their base grapes, their terroir and their typical profiles to help make it all a little more clear… at least until the next blind tasting!
Lars is VP-Communication & Trade Relations for The Somm Journal as well as Sherpa-in-Chief of Vino Viaggio, an agency specializing in wine exploration, education and adventure. A former news reporter in upstate Oneonta, NY, passion for Italian culture lured him to the wine business. Over a 33-year career with leading US wine importer Banfi Vintners, he held various leadership roles in sales, marketing, and public relations, working and living in the U.S., Europe, Canada, the Caribbean, and Asia. A habitual speaker at sommelier conferences, cooking schools and culinary universities, he appeared in the movie Somm II: Into the Bottle. His Sherpa moniker derives from guiding scores of scribes, wine lovers and professionals through vineyards, wineries and food meccas in Italy, including scholarship trips with SommFoundation and SommSouth. As founder and de facto “Dean” of Cru Artisan College, he has brought Italian winemakers on barnstorming trips across the U.S. for insightful seminars and exceptional tastings.
The best way to make sense of Italian red wines is to simply start tasting them. Italy offers the perfect red wine for every occasion—from pizza on Monday, to roast beef with the in-laws on Sunday, and everything between.
Many of Italy’s best red wines are labeled with the name of the wine appellation, often in combination with the grape variety. If you’ve ever felt completely overwhelmed while browsing an Italian wine section, knowing just a few key wine names will help keep your shopping trip focused and ensure that you have the perfect wine to drink at a moment’s notice.