WINE, FOOD & MORE…
Well, my last, brief, post was about Barbaresco in Festa – a once-a-year knees-up that finished far later than I stayed…It was, without doubt, one of the highlights of the social calendar: I recommend that you visit Piemonte next year for this if nothing else, it was that much fun.
That’s all very well…
But what if you can’t make it here for that? Or – more probably – can’t wait until next summer…? What can you look forward to if you visit Piemonte – sorry, when you visit Piemonte – on any of the other 364 days of the year?
Well, as the photo at the top of the page shows, we have castles. Lots of them. Plenty of castles to go around…This one below, for example, is the Castello di Grinzane. It has a musem dedicated to its history, its rôle in the development of Barolo wine, and the life of Camillo Benso, Conte di Cavour, Italy’s first Prime Minister in 1861. It also has an excellent bar and a Michelin-starred restaurant, Marc Lanteri al Castello. (You can hear a very interesting interview with Amy Bellotti, the restaurant manager, about sustainability in the restaurant business, here – go to episode no. 3.)
And we’re not done there: it houses the Enoteca Regionale Piemontese Cavour and the world-famous Alba White Truffle Auction.
And that’s all just in this place:
Next up, I probably should mention the castle featured in the header photo. It’s the Castello dei Marchesi Alfieri in San Martino Alfieri. Now, in addition to giving you a great tour of the extensive grounds…
…they will take you through the wine cellars. We even had an impromptu tutorial from the winemaker himself (he’s the fella with the glass in his hands):
Eventually, you end up doing this…:
So, now that I have manoeuvred the converstion around to wine, we can take the opportunity to have a look at some more cellar visits.
This is the sort of thing we get up to here when mooching around the Langhe, Roero and Monferrato. If it appeals, drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org to find out how you can go about mooching around doing this stuff!
A nice little tasting at Marchesi di Grésy, following an extensive tour of the cellars:
Or perhaps sparkling wine is your thing? If it is, then a visit to Francone is well worth it – they have been producing Metodo Classico since 1967, and make some serious stuff, including a 100% Nebbiolo Rosato. Here, Giulia is explaining the metodo for creating the fizz in the bottle:
Naturally, you build up an appetite tasting all morning, so you’ll want a bit of lunch. Something light, cool and fresh in these summer days – the pasta with truffles and wild boar with polenta can wait until the nights draw in a bit…
So how about a classic Vitello Tonnato, or (and…) a Caprese salad?
And as if that’s not enough, you could be eating it with this view, and the possibility of a cheeky dip in the pool if your arduous wine-tasting schedule allows time – especially if you stay here at Casa Nicolini:
You may move on to another Barbaresco producer, such as Pelissero, where Giulia – a different one – can talk you through the Cru wines, after trying such delectable items as Favorita and Riesling (yes, that’s right: Riesling. Nebbiolo’s yang.)
On the other hand, it might be Barolo that takes your fancy (and why wouldn’t it…?).
Once again the maps come out. The wine’s the thing, but with a map and a quick look out of the window to the vineyards, the different Cru characteristics in your glass suddenly start to make sense.
Veronica at Palladino does a terrific job of explaining the differences, and, as you can see, takes the maps and the vineyards seriously…!
Perhaps ancient traditions, modern interpretations are your thing: go Back To The Future at Ettore Germano and see clay pots in (very, very slow) action on their Nascetta white wine:
Or you can get out and about among the vines themselves and see the differences, sometimes very small, that you will taste in the glass afterwards. Here, Laura from Aurelio Settimo walks and talks visitors through their Barolo vineyards:
And last, but, I would immodestly suggest, by no means least, if you hang out with PiemonteMio, you can try my own range of wines.
Better than that, you can buy them! And the thing is, at present, this is the only place you can buy them – importers sought to bring these wines to a wider audience…
So get your act together and come on over. Miss Piemonte, miss out…!
When you’re planning to visit Piemonte (go on: you know you want to) contact me – I can offer you all kinds of other wine- and food-related experiences while you’re here.
If you’d like a starting point on how to get here, this helpful post is a good place to start!
Until then, have a wonderful summer, or winter!
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