Posts Tagged ‘Barolo’

8th March
written by bob

Who in their right mind would turn down an opportunity to visit the Italian wine region of Piedmont? Well, certainly not us! Especially when you have three great, long-time Canadian friends coming over to visit and partake!

This past June saw Katherine’s birthday and what better way to celebrate than with great friends enjoying incredible wine and the unbelievable tastes of the Piedmont region.

Great friends & great wine in Piedmoint Italy.

Great friends & great wine in Piedmoint Italy.

This trip also marked the first time that Katherine and I got away on a “Mommy-Daddy only” getaway since we had Miss G. It was long overdue! Mind you, it was only for three days BUT…a “kid-less” three days.

Mike, Lisa, and Sue arrived on a late Saturday afternoon to a pool party we were having with a bunch of our close “France” friends. BBQ’d food with some cold beer and rose wine along with a nice dip in the pool, makes for a fine afternoon in sunny Cannes! Mid-Monday morning we were off, driving to the town of Alba, Italy in the heart of Barolo country. Following an easy 3-hour drive, we arrived at Villa La Favorita, an amazing (and reasonably priced) Bed & Breakfast in Alba, Italy. Upon arrival, we were greeted by the friendly staff and Roberta, the owner. Roberta was fabulous for us during our stay. Very knowledgeable of the area, she had no problems recommending restaurants for great food and booking wine tours for fine tastings. Roberta even produces her own wine with the grapes from the property!

Alba, Italy - Barolo country!

Alba, Italy – Barolo country!

In nearby Barbaresco, we took in the sights of this small, quaint town with the discovery of a tasty winery. An elderly woman offered samples of the wine she was selling. It was decent. We tasted vintages of 1998, 2003, 2007, and 2010. The best was the 2003 whereas the 2010 needs a couple more years to age before it is ready for sipping. We nicknamed this winery, “Two dogs & an Old Lady”. (To this day, I would still have to look on the labels in “la cave” to tell you the actual name of the winery!) On the way back to the car, a L’Enoteca fancied our tastebuds and we entered to taste a few more varieties from this local area.

Did I mention how well Roberta knows Alba and the Piedmont region? Like the back of her hand. She grew up here and she is very well connected in the area. When we informed her that we had a couple of wineries on our list that we wanted to tour, she took care of setting up the reservations for us. First, we toured the Pio Cesare Winery. Pio Cesare was one of the oldest wineries in the area and was located near the center of town right along the river. It was an old school winery that was started in 1881 with the cobwebs to prove it. We toured the under-city wine cellar, tunnels and rooms that age this fine wine. There were bottles that were soooooo old that I have a hard time thinking the wine in them would be any good. It wouldn’t be but the fact that they still have them was pretty cool! Large, old school casks were preparing the next batches of wine soon and one cask, in particular, had to be at least 4+ meters tall! (Decanter, please!) Our tour ended with a tasting of 2 of the Pio Cesare wines. This was a little disappointing considering they have some great wines to showcase to people. Pio Cesare came up short on this tour. We felt like we never really got a chance to know and taste their wines which was pretty unfortunate. I mean, come on, hook me with some wine and I would have wandered to the local sommelier for a few bottles just tasted. Overall, I would say the wines were pretty good but nothing to write home about.

Our next wine venture was held on-site at the Paolo Scavino Winery. This modern winery used more modern technological processes for creating their wine.

La Cave a la Paolo Scavino winery.

La Cave a la Paolo Scavino winery.

While the winery was started in 1921, they had recently finished a new building addition. We toured the new and old parts of the winery and our guide was extremely well versed in the winery’s historical roots, the processes for making each and every varietal they sell, as well as the tasting notes on each. Our tour guide took his time to explain everything and answer all our questions unlike the rushed feeling we got while at Pio Cesare. In the caves, the Paolo Scavino winery keeps samples of every wine they bottle – forever. The number of bottles kept depends in the harvest and bottles are kept in a very dimly lit cave with only a tag label to define it. And, most impressive, the caves were kept very clean! Following our tour, our guide brought us back to the tasting room where we sampled six or seven wines, including the only white wine they produce. Each wine was fantastic in it’s own way. Our favourite was the Barolo Monvigliero; so much so that we purchased 2 of these before we left. In addition we did not leave without adding a bottle (or two) of Barolo Cannubi, Barolo Bric del Fiasc, and Langhe Nebbiolo. Buying direct from the winery saved us more than a few euros. :)

Writing about visiting Italy wouldn’t be complete without mentioning how incredible the food was. Every single time we visit Italy, we NEVER come home disappointed with the food.

The L'Enoteca in Barbaresco.

The L’Enoteca in Barbaresco.

Seriously, the food is absolutely incredible! Be sure to dine at La Bovio Restaurant when in the area! From Katherine’s favourite dish of Asparsgus Black Truffle Risoto to my amazing Veal Tartare, it was all unforgettable and simply delicious! I normally wouldn’t venture to eat raw meat but I now live in Europe where this is perfectly acceptable. The tartare was out if this world! I would eat it again in a heartbeat. Though, being the animal lover that Lisa is, my dinner choice did NOT score any brownie points with her.

Italy and the region of Piedmont, we love you! A HUGE thanks goes out to Villa La Favorita – Roberta and her staff. Thank you for you incredible hospitality!

And, last but not least, thank you to our good friends – Mike, Lisa, & Sue for organizing the trip and inviting us along for the experience. We were so glad you all could come and hang with us this past summer! Let’s do it again, SOON!

Au revoir, mes amis!