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4 Days in Piemonte

4 Days in Piemonte

We were recently asked by a long-standing trade customer of ours, The Wro in West Kirby, to help organise a wine tasting trip to Piemonte for 14 of their customers in May of this year.

The basis of the trip was to visit some local wine producers to see first hand how the wines are made and aged, and of course to taste the finished product!

We were based in the lovely and historic town of Alba which is very famous for white truffles, local pasta and of course wine. We stayed at the Hotel I Castelli which was very central for exploring Alba on foot as there would also be some free time allocated to discovering more about this beautiful town.

Everyone was really looking forward to sampling the local cuisine and we had pre-booked three local restaurants that had been highly recommended.

After arriving in Alba and checking into our hotel, it wasn’t long before it was time to meet in the hotel lounge for an aperitif of local sparkling wine before heading out to the Osteria dell Arco Restaurant for our evening meal.

This charming restaurant positioned in a small courtyard just off one of the main squares in Alba was exactly what we were looking for and offered us a set menu to explore the local speciality dishes. It was also a good place to introduce some of the local wines, and we drank ‘Favorita’ which is the local name for Vermentino with the starters and then moved on to Dolcetto ‘Alba with the main courses and everyone loved it.

The next morning we travelled to the famous Barolo village of La Morra to visit the winery of ‘Ciabot Berton’ which is run by the Brother and sister team of Marco and Paola Umberto. Gerrard Seel has bought the wines from this estate for many years now but it was a pleasure to have a vineyard and winery visit here. Everyone learnt a lot about the local grape varieties and how the different grape varieties are treated once they arrive into the winery, and also how they are aged once the wines are made.

Being based in the heart of the Barolo region this is the most important wine for the winery and is also the one that involves the most work in the winemaking and ageing process. Following our winery tour it was time to taste the wines, well it was now approaching midday!

We tasted the full range of wines that Ciabot Berton produces and Paola talked us through each wine as it was served. We tasted the following wines; Favorita ‘Alissa’ 2018, Dolcetto D’Alba 2017, Barbera D’Alba 2017, Barbera D’Alba ‘Bricco San Biaggio’ 2017, Barolo 2013, Barolo ‘Roggeri’ 2014.

After this great tasting it was time to move on and have some lunch before our second tasting in the afternoon.

Next, we travelled to the village of Barolo where we had booked lunch at a lovely little restaurant called La Cantinetta. They had reserved us a large table in the rear section of the restaurant so we had the room to ourselves, we also asked the chef to recommend the dishes that he would like to serve to us bearing in mind that we had to leave in one and a half hours time...

Once again it was a real pleasure to have local dishes presented to us in what was a menu ‘Surprise’ and this was again accompanied by local wines recommended to us by the restaurant. Our time at the restaurant passed all to quickly and it was then time to move on again to our next wine tasting.

This involved a drive of about 40 minutes to the commune of Dogliani which is just south of the Barolo area and is the home of the Dolcetto grape variety. We were visiting the outstanding small wine estate of Anna Maria Abbona which is a recent addition to our catalogue and we are very pleased to be working with both the wines and the people, both of which are charming.

We were met by Paola Navello and taken into a lovely tasting room that was all set out ready for us. Paola then gave us all an introduction to the wine estate, followed by a tour of the cellars, bottling line and barrel cellar which were extremely well organised.

On our return to the tasting room, Paola gave us a tasting and explanation of each wine they produce which was really appreciated by everyone in the room and will be something we all remember for a long time.

The wines we tasted were Riesling L’Alman 2017, Dolcetto Langhe 2018, Dolcetto di Dogliani ‘Sori Dij But’ 2018, Barolo Castiglione Falletto 2015 all of which were outstanding wines.

On our arrival back in Alba, we had the evening free to relax, have a look around and explore. The next morning there was choice of either a free morning to go shopping in Alba or an optional trip to the Village of La Morra which has fantastic views over the Langhe.

The group who went to La Morra were treated to a fantastic view of the area from a great viewing area at the top of La Morra which is 500m above sea level and also the sun came out especially to enhance the view. It is also possible to see the Alps from here when the weather is good and we could see them quite clearly. After a coffee in a small café in the village, we then returned back to Alba.

We had two more tastings organised for the afternoon which were both in the village of Canale which is in the Roero Commune which is about a 30-minute drive from Alba.

The first tasting was at Ca Rossa which was mainly red wines and the second tasting was at a producer called Serrafino which specialise in producing sparkling wines from the Alta Langhe which were very well made and a great way to finish our tastings in this beautiful area.
We finished the day with a Grand Finale dinner at the highly recommended Restaurant Trattoria del Bivio which is based in Albaretto della Torre up in the hills above Alba.

Massimo the owner and also a good friend designed the menu for us and we matched it with a selection of the wines we had been tasting for the last two days and it was amazing. It was a truly great way to finish our four-day visit to Piemonte!
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