As the brains behind one of the world’s best Barolo wines, Carlotta Rinaldi understands everything that goes into crafting the fine Nebbiolo. She also understands how to drink it and how to pair it with the right food. As part of Fine Dining Lovers' new series, The Producers, we asked Carlotta to share her expert opinion on how to pair Barolo.
What are the best foods to pair with Barolo?
"It really quite depends on the age of the Barolo I’m drinking. Young Nebbiolos tend to have a strong tanning profile and quite a bright acidity, so fatty and meaty dishes would be my preference, such as wild boar, lamb or our traditional egg-based pasta 'tajarin' with white truffle (when the season allows). When it comes to more mature, aged Barolo, when the tannins are more delicate and the bouquet of flavours becomes more complex, with the typical scent of tar, liquorice, cranberries, rose petals, I very much prefer more noble dishes whose flavours don’t overcome the elegance of the wines: rabbit or hare, beef stew; or even just good cheese."
What is the best cheese to pair with Barolo?
"As far as cheese, I remember vividly a pairing of a bottle of Barolo 96 and Castelmagno, a local cow-milk cheese from Valle Grana, near Cuneo. In Langhe, we traditionally serve cheese with a spoon of 'cögnà', a bold compote of red wine must, usually Barbera or Nebbiolo, and fruits and nuts: pears, apples, hazelnuts and walnuts, everything slowly cooked on the fireplace for a day."
Is there an appropriate dessert pairing with Barolo?
"I‘m not a big fan of dessert and Barolo; in the case of very mature Barolos, 30-40 years of age, where the delicacy and complexity of flavours can be a unique experience, a piece of dark chocolate can enhance the power of the palate.
My dad used to say that Barolo can be a 'vino da meditazione', and that would be probably what he intended: a wine you can sip slowly at the end of a meal, discovering its changes and evolutions, evoking memories and places, maybe with a piece of chocolate on the side.