Like Barolo wine, Barbaresco is made entirely from the indigenous Nebbiolo grape. Barbaresco DOCG is produced in the municipalities of Barbaresco, Treiso, Neive and part of San Rocco Seno d’Elvio which was once part of Barbaresco and now belongs to the municipality of Alba. Barbaresco wine was granted Denominazione controllata garantita (DOC) status in 1966 and Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita (DOCG) status in 1980.
In order to be labeled DOCG, Barbaresco wines must be aged for a minimum of 2 years (at least 1 year in oak) prior to release and aged for at least 4 years to be considered a riserva. The wines must have a minimum 12.5% alcohol level though most wines are closer to 13.5%. Well-made examples of Barbaresco wines are expected to be aged at least 5 to 10 years after harvest before they are consumed because they are extremely tannic and tight in their youth. Some Barbaresco wines continue to drink well even after 20 years. The typical style of a Barbaresco has bouquets of roses or violets with flavor notes of cherry, truffles, fennel and licorice.