Tag Archives: Barolo

3 great reasons to visit The Langhe region of Piedmont.

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The Langhe Hills are only a short drive south-east from Turin, and are easy to reach for a long weekend break or indulgent weeks vacation.  The area is surrounded by the Alps mountain range and the Po valley which is renowned for it’s rice growing plains.

The rolling hills are dotted with villages, hamlets and castles that date back to medieval times and conjure up images of nobility and splendour.

1. The Wine

The hills of the Langhe are the lands of noble vineyards producing wines of great quality and diversity.  The Nebbiolo grape being the protagonist in Barolo and Barberesco wines.  Alongside Barbera and Dolcetto d’Alba, Le Langhe boasts a vast number of wineries which are for the most part vineyards that have been family run for many generations.  The winemakers of this region take great pride in their land and the yields that are harvested each year.

2. Truffles

As the summer temperatures start to cool and the leaves start turning all shades of yellow, burnt orange and brown you can be sure that autumn is here and the highly awaited Alba International White Truffle fair is drawing near.  October through mid – November is white truffle season. When truffle hunters gather with their dogs on the hunt for the costly tuber that will be sold at a price that is determined daily at the International Truffle Fair.  Taste this lavish delight at a local trattoria or restaurant where it is served in thin shavings over pasta, eggs or risotto.

3. Food

Truffles aside, Le Langhe is foodie heaven, with a culture of cuisine this region boasts a number of luxury Michelin rated restaurants as well as family run trattorias that pride themselves in traditional seasonal recipes using local produce such as cow and goats cheese, beef braised in wine and a variety desserts made with it’s prestigious hazelnuts.

There is no better place to go for a bit of relaxation accompanied by excellent food and wine than Le Langhe.

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4 things to do in Piedmont

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Piedmont is an very important Italian region for the food and wine world yet that has been undervalued by the travel world! In a way, this is a blessing for those wanting to escape the droves of tour buses and groups jam packed into Italy’s major destinations like Rome, Venice and Florence. Not only that, Piedmont is an ideal region to visit if you are a food and wine lover. The best cities to visit in Piedmont are Alba, Turin, Barolo and Bra. If you are planning a trip to Italy, consider Piedmont! Here is what we recommend for things to do in Piedmont:

1. Alba- tap into your inner hunter with a truffle hunt!

Sure, to the uninitiated truffle may just be a foul tuber, but to the gourmand, it represents the ultimate in gastronomic delights. Some would say it has the fragrance of the gods. Although found in France, northern Spain and other parts of Italy, the region around Alba is considered the quintessential truffle capital. It’s also the economic bellwether that determines the official price of truffles worldwide. Its method of discovery adds to the mystique.  A truffle hunt takes you through the the woods exploring with a truffle expert and their truffle hunting dog. Sniffing through the misty woods of Piedmont, the truffle-hunting dog will suddenly dig her paws into the crunchy soil to find a true gastronomic treasure: a large walnut-sized white truffle. At the end of a truffle hunt you’ll learn how to analyze truffles from a technical point of view, as true gourmand tasters do. You’ll learn more about the white truffle, how to use it, how to taste it, and how to preserve it. Totally a must do experience for active, nature loving Italian food lovers!

2. Love chocolate? Visit Turin’s historic chocolate producers!

If you are a chocolate lover, discover “chocolatropolis” Turin: a city of authentic Italian food culture. Visit some of the major points of interest during your trip to Turin and don’t miss captivating Baroque masterpieces like Piazza San Carlo, the Cupola del Guarini, the Royal Palace and Piazza Castello. Remember to stop and smell the flowers by taking a break in an historical caffè and experience Turin’s most traditional coffee: made just for chocolate lovers called “bicerin”, as well as some excellent confections, gelato and pastries. Turin will delight you with Baroque palaces, workshops, bakeries and confectioners.

3. Had enough food? Go on a Barolo wine tour and taste Italy’s finest wines!

Barolo wine is the undisputed king of Italian red wines. Both of the most celebrated Piedmont reds, Barolo and Barbaresco, are made from the Nebbiolo grape that yields deeply perfumed, mid-weight, wines with good aging potential. Among the other noteworthy Piedmont wines are the incisive, vibrant Barbera and the softer, lusher Dolcetto. The best wines of this area were made famous by Marc de Grazia’s “Selection of Fine Wines from The Great Crus Of Italy”, among many others Scavino, Cavallotto, Clerico, Altare and Molino. Whether you are a wine lover, collector or simply a wine drinker, a Barolo wine tour is a great activity to do when visiting Piedmont.

4. Cheese and Beer lover? Visit Bra!

Discover the best cheese in Italy when you visit Bra! The city is very small and very easy to reach by train from Turin. In the historical center part of town, there are plenty of gastronomic deli shops open to the public where you can explore all the different cheeses of the region and taste the ones that look curious to you! In addition to being a great destination for tasting artisan cheese in Piedmont, there is a huge craft beer movement happening in Piedmont and what better way to compliment your cheese tasting in Bra than with a visit to a very tasty brew pub!  (called “birreria” in Italian.) During September, there is the annual slow cheese festival organized by the Slow Food Movement which is a candyland of cheese, beer and wine tastings! In any case, Fall is the quite possibly the best time to visit Piedmont so why not plan it around a cheese festival!

Are these options not enough? Contact the expert travel staff at Le Baccanti to learn more about how you can have the Italian gourmet vacation of your dreams!

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Decanter’s Great Italian Fine Wine Encounter 2008


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Il Drappo Rosso, Sicilia IGT, Benanti 2004

Basil and peppermint on a dense blackberry extraction. A wine full of natural sweetness and vibrant acidity and a juicy lingering finish. (FB)

£16.97

Avignonesi, Vin Santo di Montepulciano Occhio di Pernice NV

Top of cream caramel, toffee, vanilla and coffee with some toasted hazelnuts and almonds. This is just the beginning for a never-ending and extremely complex real Tuscan Vin Santo. Quince marmalade, baked pear and yummy cough syrup and liquorice. Luscious, decadent, viscous and vibrant world-class dessert wine. (FB)

Valle d’Aosta, Chardonnay, Les Cretes NV

Elegance and character for a unique Alpine Chardonnay. Superb fruit extraction and oak integration, great acidity on a very silky and structured palate. Some sweet floral scents get together on a creamy and mineral intriguing finish. A wine to drink and keep. (FB) approx £30

Taurasi, Naturalis Historia, Mastroberardino 2003

Complex perfume of white truffle and mushrooms match some dense and very compact blackberry and prune aromas. A structured and firm wine with a lingering liquorice and tobacco finish. A wine to keep for many years. (FB) £27.99

Barolo, Parafada, Massolino 2004

My top wine of the tasting. Exteremly expressive despite being a Barolo from the tough Serralunga. It’s a great classic which you can drink now or keep – forever. Elegant dry roses, back cherries and leather with an extremely refined tannic structure make this wine a total beauty. Mineral, juicy, meaty and very lingering. A must have. (FB) approx £45

Gratius, Toscana IGT, Il Molino di Grace 2004

Nice perfume, an explosion of ripe black cherry with some spice and a hint of chocolate. Beautiful balance, with a fine acidity and smooth tannin, good structure and complexity. (CG) £24-25

Capo di Stato, Colli Trevigiani IGT, Conte Loredan Gasparini 2004

Elegant nose, aromas of black fruit with some spice and hint of vanilla. Elegant complexity on the palate, balanced and well-structured. Drink up to 2013. (CG) £27.40

Chianti Classico, Rocca di Montegrossi 2005

Lovely perfume of crushed fresh red fruits and some undergrowth. Very fine acidity on the palate, some smooth tannin with complex red fruit characters. (CG) £15.99-17.99

Chianti Classico, Casanuova di Nittardi, Fattoria Nittardi 2005

Very vibrant fruit on the nose, some ripe cherry with hint of violet; very perfumed. Ripe tannin but smooth and well-integrated with the acidity and the perfumed characters. Great depth. (CG) £15

Chianti Rufina Riserva, Vigneto Bucerchiale, Selvapiana 2004

A northern style, authentic and very well-interpreted Sangiovese – strength, good fruit extraction, zippy acidity and loads of earthy/leathery complexity. It’s an austere wine which will need time to open up but your patience will be rewarded. (FB) £18.99

Barolo, Cerequio, Batasiolo 2000

Some development with notes of chocolate and tobacco. Complex palate with intense spicy and savoury character; balanced structure with firm tannin. Great depth. (CG) £21.65

La Grola, Veronese IGT, Allegrini 2005

Dark jammy fruit with a chocolate hint and well-integrated oak. Balanced on the palate, medium bodied with a vibrant acidity; smooth tannin. Drink up to 2011. (CG)

Valpolicella Classico Superiore Ripasso, Pojega, Guerrieri Rizzardi 2007

Black pepper and chocolate with a dense cherry and blueberry nose. Seductive and decadent, with an elegant earthiness and a tobacco leaf touch. Very lingering, with a sweet and mineral blackberry finish. (FB)

£15

Val di Cornia, Molisso, Rubbia al Colle-Suverto, Fratelli Muratori 2003

A blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah and Petit Verdot. Complex fruit characters with some undergrowth bouquet. Robust palate with a good structure, and clean fruit on the finish. Drink up to 2011. (CG)

£22.75

Vintage Tunina, Venezia Giulia IGT, Jermann 2006

A creamy and round wine with a full-on tropical character. Very ripe, with a citrus fruit-driven style and yet retaining a lovely honey-scented minerality. (FB) approx £30

Torgiano Rosso Riserva, Rubesco ‘Vigna Monticchio’, Cantine Giorgio Lungarotti 2003

Complex ripe fruit aromas supported by spice. Balanced on palate, with firm tannin and clean ripe fruit. Good length. (CG) £20

Chianti Classico, Barone Ricasoli 2004

A leathery and earthy nose with scents of Mediterranean herbs, violets and cherries. Good tannic structure, length and ageing potential. (FB)

£30

Soave Classico, Capitel Croce, Anselmi 2006

Concentrated and very fresh aromas of apples and pears. Intriguing creaminess and finesse on the vanilla and floral-scented palate. Very good and intense. (FB)

Campofiorin Rosso del Veronese IGT, Masi 2005

Made using the Ripasso method, this wine is packed with red cherry fruits and has a rich texture and a fine acidity. Drink up to 2010. (CG)

£8.99

A Sirio, Toscana IGT, San Gervasio 2003

Made with 95% Sangiovese and 5% Cabernet, this wine shows blackberry fruit with a hint of cedarwood. Full bodied and dense on the palate, robust. (CG)

Alto Adige Pinot Grigio, Franz Haas 2006

Intense aromas with notes of bread, almond and flowers. Crisp acidity on the palate, and a long finish. Drink 2008. (CG) £10.49

Terrano, Venezia Giula IGT, Castello di Rubbia 2006

Full of forest fruit aromas with delicate spice. Medium bodied on the palate, lots of juicy red fruit with a vibrant and fresh acidity. Drink 2008. (CG) £13.99 Colasanti

Maremma Toscana, Dromo, Tenuta Poggio Verrano 2005

Perfume nose with ripe cherry fruit. Intense and complex palate, clean and pure red fruit with spice. Great depth. (CG) £27-30

Moscato d’Asti, Nivole, Michele Chiarlo 2007

Very expressive, explosion of fruit-floral aromas. Fresh acidity with low alcohol, lots of apricot and peachy notes, very refreshing, a perfect summer wine. Drink 2008. (CG) £6.99

Barbera d’Alba, Vigna del Cucculo, Cavallotto 2004

Black cherry aroma on the nose following through on to the palate, sweet spice. Good complexity, with a vibrant acidity and lots of fruit purity. (CG) £16.-20

Leverano Rosso Riserva, Terra, Conti Zecca 2004

Leather and tobacco with a fine earthiness and foral complexity. Great blackberries extraction yet retaining a lot of freshness and savouriness. Very well balanced, with an elegant black pepper finish. (FB)

Rina Lanca Grillo-Viognier, Sicilia IGT, Feudo di Santa Tresa, Casa Girelli 2006

Lots of ripe fruit, with notes of dried apricot and peach. Complex with good weight; ripe apricot on the palate and a fresh acidity. Drink 2008. (CG) £7.95

Colli Orientali del Friuli, Friulano, Colutta 2007

White pepper and acacia flowers. A very refreshing and aromatic white with a natural unoaked spiciness, aromatic power and a long mineral finish. (FB) £11.50

Cortona, Syrah, Tenimenti Luigi d’Alessandro 2006

Spicy, elegant and fruit-driven wine with an extremely refreshing palate. A very natural wine with character, savouriness and a jucy red-berry lingering palate. Great value. (FB) £8

Grechetto dei Colli Martiani, Grecante, Arnaldo Caprai 2007

Very attractive nose, clean and fresh apple with some zestiness. Crisp acidity on the palate with lots of fresh white fruit. Very enjoyable. (CG)

£10.95

Aglianico del Vulture, Il Sigillo, Cantine del Notaio 2004

An extremely slick and seductive full-bodied red displaying great extraction without being overdone. Elegant menthol and prunes aromas take your nose into a very rich and intriguing realm. Evident yet silky tannins and a vibrant acidity keep this dense Amarone-style wine from the Volcani Vulture in truly juicy shape. A must try. (FB)

Galatrona, Toscana IGT, Fattoria Petrolo 2005

Great example of Tuscan Merlot, with an elegant, smooth and dense character of blueberries, violets and black cherries. Loads of weight and body, but well integrated, with superb acidity. Rather opulent and mineral. (FB) approx £45

Amarone della Valpolicella Classico, Bertani 1998

Lots of ripeness on the nose, layers of chocolate and ripe cherries. Velvety palate with some sweet spice characters; full bodied and complex. Drink 2013 plus. (CG)

£60

Gattinara Riserva, Travaglini 2004

A developed bouquet with hint of violet, dried fruit with some spice. Full-bodied palate with lingering tannins and a balanced acidity. (CG) £25.76

Vino Nobile di Montepulciano, Vigneto Poggio Sant’Enrico, Carpineto 2001

Expressive cherry and liquorice scents with a fresh floral touch. A great Sangiovese with structure, elegance and length. (FB) £43.99

Chianti Classico Riserva, Rancia, Felsina Berardenga 2005

Great freshness on the nose and the palate, some dark berry flavours with some smoky characters. Great texture and complexity on the palate supported by firm tannin. (CG) £31.69

Impero Blanc de Pinot Noir, Marche IGT, Fattoria Mancini 2006

This 100% Pinot Noir displays some lees characters with some spice from the oak. Lots of weight on the palate with creamy fruit and apple flavours. (CG) £23.99

Taurasi, Fatica Contadina, Terredora 2001

A classic Aglianico – intense leather, tobacco and liquorice nose with jam-packed blueberries. A juicy and luscious refreshing red, with undeniable ageing potential and loads of character and expressiveness. (FB)

£14

Decima Aurea, Merlot, Veneto IGT, Tenuta Santa Maria Alla Pieve 2002

Good fruit concentration on the nose; full of red cherry aromas. Firm tannins on the palate, well-structured with some savoury notes on the finish. Drink up to 2011. (CG) £29.49

Vin Santo di Carmignano, Tenuta di Capezzana 2000

Dry figs, hazelnuts and saffron. Some intriguing toastiness and vanilla scents, and then iquorice, dry apricots, dates and orange peel on the palate. A sweet and delicious Vin Santo, very viscous and lingering. (FB)

Poggio Valente, Fattoria le Pupille 2005

Delightful wine with lively blackberry fruit characters and some spice. Great balance between the acidity, the fruit and tannin. Complex on the finish. (CG) £25.15

Kepos, Maremma Toscana IGT, Ampeleia 2006

Lovely intensity, clean ripe fruit with some minerality. Ripe tannin with some black fruit; complex and good acidity. Long finish. (CG) £17

Costa di Giulia, Toscana IGT, Michele Satta 2007

Made of Vermentino and Sauvignon Blanc, the wine displays vibrant aromas of apple and lime with some smoky hints. Crisp on the palate but with lots of weight; clean and fresh finish. (CG) £13.45

Franciacorta Cuvee Brut, Bellavista NV

Made of 80% Chardonnay with some Pinot Bianco and Pinot Nero, the wine shows fresh and pure citrus aromas with fresh apple. Good intensity on the palate with elegant fruit, vibrant and pure on the finish. (CG)

Pergolaia, Toscana IGT, Caiarossa 2004

Lovely perfume, elegant and delicate red fruit with some spice. Rich on the palate with a lively, lingering acidity and good depth of fruit on the finish.

Chianti Classico Riserva, Marchese Antinori, Antinori 2003

Despite the hot vintage this is a truly old-time classic Chianti Classico. A restrained and elegant red full of liquorice, cherries and leather and a touch of violets. Big tannic structure with an earthy and juicy cranberries and leather complexity. (FB)

Cepparello, Toscana IGT, Isole e Olena 2004

Smoky and tarry notes with plenty of berry fruit; well integrated new oak. Full bodied with good acid; ripe but firm tannins; spicy new oak on the finish. (CG) £38.49

Barolo, Aldo Conterno 2004

An intense and very powerful Barolo packed with cranberries and cherries. Modern and slick showing superb extraction and big tannins. Needs time to develop though. (FB) £57

Chianti Classico Riserva, Castello di Volpaia 2005

Red cherry and spice on the nose. Full bodied and well-structured on the palate. Great depth of fruit on the finish. (CG)

Nero d’Avola-Merlot, Ramione, Sicilia IGT, Baglio di Pianetto 2004

Orange peel and prunes with some Mediterranean spices and a cranberry complexity. Great concentration and an intriguing black pepper finish. (FB)

£25.50

Cerviolo Rosso, Toscana IGT, San Fabiano Calcinaia 2004

Ripe red cherry fruit with hint of violet and spice. Powerful on the palate, lots of black fruit with a vibrant acidity; robust and well-structured. (CG)

Freisa is Nebbiolo’s genetic father so get ready for your tar and roses fix – but with a more refreshing approach on the palate. A vibrant red berry crush wine with excellent ageing potential and great character. (FB) £7

Sassoalloro, Toscana IGT, Jacopo Biondi Santi 2005

Lots of cherry fruit with some herbaceous characters. Firm tannin with some black fruit and sweet oak on finish. (CG)

£17.53

Ribolla Gialla Brut Millesimato Spumante, Collavini 2004

Peaches and bananas for this ‘Collavini sparkling method’ Ribolla wine. A unique floral and mineral character, with a very fresh and zesty finish and a pleasant touch of creaminess. (FB) £25

Chianti Rufina, Nipozzano Riserva, Marchesi dei Frescobaldi 2001

Well structured wine with robust tannins, an elegant earthiness, some red berries and a meaty, leathery palate. Good length and balance. A classic Tuscan wine – verging on four stars. (FB) £14.99

Terrine Rosso di Toscana, Castello della Paneretta 2003

Elegant perfume with notes of blackberry and liquorice. Intense palate, elegant fruit characters with a hint of violet, silky tannins on the finish. (CG)

Trebbiano d’Abruzzo, Castello di Semivicoli, Masciarelli 2006

Seriously refreshing wine with a touch of hazelnut and violets. Quite lingering, with some pleasant liquorice, vanilla and peach flavours. (FB)

approx £15

Cometa, Sicilia IGT, Planeta 2007

Sweet vanilla spices and a fine apricots and jasmin flowers nose. On the palate, some lovely thyme and camomille contribute to an aromatic and smooth honeydew texture. (FB)

Collio, Pinot Grigio Russiz Superiore, Marco Felluga 2007

A well rounded wine with a tropical character, some hazelnuts and peaches, and with a pleasant spicy finish. (FB)

£14.99

Colli Orientali del Friuli Rossazzo Bianco, Terre Alte, Livio Felluga 2006

This wine has a refreshing green and grassy character with some elegant floral scents. A lingering wine with rich white and citrus fruit flavours and a well-structured (almost tannic) pleasant body. Bordering on four stars. (FB) £40

Barbaresco, Starderi, La Spinetta 2005

Blackberries and more dense black fruit combined with tobacco and chocolate make this Barbaresco a most modern and richly-extracted monumental wine. Gets a grip with some great acidity and a savoury, lingering complexity. Too young to drink now – needs time when it could go up to four stars. (FB) £85 T

Nero d’Avola, Sagana, Sicilia IGT, Cusumano 2005

An expressive tobacco and menthol-like nose. A rich and dense wine packed with ripe prunes and black cherries. (FB) approx £20

Vino Nobile di Montepulciano, Gersemi, Fazi Battaglia 2003

Lots of savoury aromas with some spice and cherry fruit. Full bodied on the palate, rich fruit characters with firm acidity. (CG) £17.54

Biddas Arrubias, Isola dei Nuraghi IGT, Feudi della Medusa 2005

Coffee beans and dark chocolate for a very spice-driven wine. Prunes and vanilla and more black fruit, and an elegant gun-flint finish. (FB)

£25

Cappello di Prete, Salento Rosso IGT, Candido NV

Spicy and gun flinty with a yummy red berry crush nose. A light yet intense and lingering red wine. Rich and full of character. (FB) £8

Terre del Guiscardo, Salento Rosso IGT, Antica Masseria del Sigillo 2005

Dark and inky with loads of prunes, vanilla, liquorice and cocoa powder. A dense leathery and blackberry-driven palate and a dense and complex coffee and vanilla finish. Almost warrants four stars. (FB) £14.49

Text from the decanter.com. Authors Christelle Guibert, Filippo Bartolotta

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ITALIAN WINE REGIONS: PIEDMONT (PIEMONTE)

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“As most sage apostles of Bacchus have known for some time, Piedmontese quality wines are not restricted to the Langa area. True: two problem years, 2002 for the Barolo, 2003 for the Barbaresco, seriously limited expression, though for opposite reasons in each case, so that great bottles of the celebrated Reds are rare. Fortunately for the zone and for lovers of these fluids, there is no lack of some excellent 2001 Barolos, as well as a few hard-to-find Barbarescos, brought to market a year late, nor of some top-class Riserve of both. Still in the world of Alba’s wines, we find that the Roero 2003 from the left bank of the Tanaro show, in a convincing and compact group, greater temperament and balance. High marks, too, for the Alba Barbera –– like its Asti cousin, it enjoyed a memorable 2004. As to the Dolcetto, 2005 turned out better than expected, with a common factor of freshness and fragrance shared by all the denominations from Dogliani to Diano.
One can discover good things also beyond Asti’s borders. Nebbiolo, for example, reaches noble expressions also in the Region’s north, where several historic houses –– Sella, Antichi Vigneti di Cantalupo, Travaglini and Antoniolo conspicuous among them –– are offering an animus that differs from that of the potent Langaroli Reds but is neither less profound nor less suggestive. Noteworthy since the last few seasons: Erbaluce di Caluso, which might well aspire to become the autochthonous White with the greatest personality of the Region, provided it becomes more choral and homogenous, alongside the Timorasso of the Colli Tortonesi, which found its all-time best year in 2004.
Gavi has been reborn from the ashes of the Eighties and is proving year after year, rather more so Arneis, to possess all the qualities needed for playing front-stage centre among Piedmont’s Whites.”

Text from the Espresso Guide to Italian Wines 2007. Author and Co-Author Ernesto Gentili and Fabio Rizzari. Editor of English version Filippo Bartolotta

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