The many factors that influence a wine’s character (as opposed to its quality, which is different and will no longer be referred to) can be divided into two main categories: HUMAN FACTORS and NATURAL FACTORS.
Among the main human factors we can list clones, rootstocks and yields per hectare, which are subject to selections by winemakers.
Among the natural factors, over which man has little influence, we can list elevation, exposure, soil and microclimate.
For this reason it’s important to get an idea of the territory. But not before becoming familiar with some elements of the landscape to be found in almost all the images on this site and intended to help you orient yourself more easily even if you are in the area and traveling around on your own.
First, in the background, you can admire the chain of the Alps, in which Monviso, to the west, and Monte Rosa, to the north, stand out. Beyond Monviso lies France; beyond Monte Rosa lies Switzerland, while in its foreground lies Alto Piemonte, another area noted for Nebbiolo wines. Also to the north, but much closer, lies the Roero area, known for the quality of its Nebbiolo and Arneis, for white wine.
In the opposite direction of Monte Rosa, so toward the south, lies Alta Langa (not to be confused with the DOCG of the same name which applies to sparkling wine from a vast area of southern Piedmont). Alta Langa, together with the areas of Barolo, Barbaresco and part of the Asti and Moscato d’Asti zones, lie within the hilly territory known as the Langhe or Langa (as it’s called locally). A large part of Alta Langa falls within the production area of Dogliani, another symbolic wine of the Alba area made from Dolcetto..
Looking northeast, the most important landmark is the village of Diano d’Alba, where altitudes reach almost 500 meters above sea level and whose territory, apart from a small portion on the border with Serralunga d’Alba (MGA Gallaretto, La Vigna and Sorano), is known for the production of Dolcetto di Diano d’Alba or Diano d’Alba.
Finally, looking northward beyond the town of Gallo d’Alba, we can distinguish the Bernardina hill, which, despite its rather low altitude, is easily visible from many parts of the zone because of the white color of the splendid villa on its summit. The Bernardina hill lies a few hundred meters outside the Barolo area, a factor that helps to easily identify the northern boundary of the denomination. (Incidentally, before the Barolo area was officially delimited, grapes from the best Bernardina vineyards were used for the production of Barolo).
Turning now to the second panoramic image, in addition to the communes whose towns fall within the boundaries of the Barolo denomination, we find other landmarks such as Castello della Volta and the villages of Perno and Annunziata di La Morra. More important, however, are the altimetric references provided by Bricco del Dente, Bricco Giubellini and Bricco San Pietro, which together with Bricco Bastia (hidden in this image by Bricco Giubellini) represent the highest points of the denomination. To them we can add Cascina Francia, which is located at the highest point of the ridge of Serralunga d’Alba.
For the sake of convenience, the lowest point of the denomination can be identified as Gallo d’Alba. It follows that, in general, elevation gradually increases going from north to south, but then decreases again in the southernmost part of the denomination, just beyond Bricco San Pietro and Bricco Giubellini.
In the third and last image you can get an idea of the actual scope of the denomination, at least of the part that is visible, which covers about 70% of the total.
At this point we can go into greater detail.