Season’s Greetings, Merry Christmas & Happy New year!
As ever, the autumn saw us busy in the Langhe – harvest may have come and gone by the time autumn arrived this year, but we still had plenty of visitors wanting to see the wines being made and sit down with a truffle or two at lunch.
With that in mind, I was out and about doing plenty of the following. And if you fancy doing the same, contact me on email@example.com – and in the meantime check out my Tours page…!
Out in the vines with Laura at Aurelio Settimo, above, and having a nose round the cellar at Elvio Cogno, below:
…looking at some new ceramic jars at Paolo Scavino:
…getting a thorough explanation of the soils at G. D. Vajra – with the ever-expressive Francesca leading us through the differences between the Crus:
…Putting up with tasting Cru Barolo Riserva at Ettore Germano:
…Another take on the Crus of Barolo with Elena at Fratelli Revello:
…Trying to wrangle too many glasses at Elio Grasso:
…And after all that, attempting not to get too confused at Pio Cesare as Davide goes through some older wines:
I was also doing some of the following:
Of course, as my last blog post made clear, the back end of the year is white truffle season here. So truffle hunting is a very popular pastime. This year has been a challenging one for the truffle – as it has for every other agricultural product. You see, truffles don’t like a lot of heat, and they do like plenty of water. What we had in 2022 was the opposite…So the truffle harvest has been small, with quality more variable than usual. However, once we got into November, the cooler temperatures allied to some rain finally arriving has meant that things have picked up toward the end of the season. Those who came for the last couple of weeks of the truffle fair had the best truffles at ‘softer’ prices than earlier.
In any case, going out to find some truffles of your own (or of the tartufaio’s, really) is not only a nice way to spend a couple of hours, but can be very instructive, too. You will learn about the life-cycle of the truffle and how and why dogs are trained and used to find them.
If you’d like to immerse yourself in this world before you come to experience it for yourself, then have a look at The Truffle Hunters. But don’t run off with the idea that this is a world about to disappear, as the last few octogenarian fellas hang up their zappatino (the little device which would be the progeny of a trowel and a pick) for the last time.
A new generation is already following, with the next one getting involved behind them. As you can see:
This is Martina, explaining the life-cycle of the truffle, and how they train the dogs to look for them – and not to eat them…
Martina & Alba, a Lagotto Romagnolo, searching…
Christmas is upon us again!
And now, with the season in the Langhe, Roero & Monferrato having wound-down, we’re gearing-up for Christmas. I’m on my own this year – no son with me as he is off on his own adventure in Denver! It’s the first time I have been back to Britain on a solo mission for 10 years.
But fear not – I have been socialising like it was 2019, and kicked off my time with a few days in London staying with friends. Hot off the plane, I did a spot of Curling at Coal Drops Yard, just behind King’s Cross in London:
Ok, it wasn’t ‘the real thing’, but it was great fun. And only £7 each for an hour – highly recommended!
Naturally enough, there was the obligatory visit to a pub. Indeed, there may have been more than one…:
London, of course, has so much around every corner. I stayed in the City, and strayed but a few yards, yet still managed to see this:
This looks familiar, too…
City slicker to country bumpkin…
After all that, I hopped on a train and sped out to the Cotswolds. Right now, the presents are wrapped and under the tree:
All it needs now is the family. And a glass of something good. And a cheeky slice of panettone…
And so I’m offering this simple phrase, to kids from one to ninety-two…
Merry Christmas one and all, and a Happy New Year!
Here’s to 2023!
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