Friday, August 21, 2015

Pictures from a midsummer Barolo wine tour

Thought I would share a few pictures from our trip to Barolo. For those of you not so familiar with Barolo, it's a wine region South of Turin in Piemonte at the feet of the Alps. Together with Brunello di Montalcino in Tuscany, Barolo is considered the most prestigious wine region in Italy and produces wines that are known to age - a rather rare phenomenon for Italian wines until recently. Both regions demand sky high prices on the market, the former gives usually more powerful wines because of the warmer climate and the latter more elegance thanks to a cooler latitude. 

In Barolo, from a village by the same name, vineyards are packed into every space of land that could possibly be grown to grapes (even Northern facing slopes!), with wineries of both the more historical kind but also a lot of modern establishments dot the landscape. 

So quite a bit cooler than Tuscany, this region boasts completely other grapes, especially the much popular Nebbiolo used for Barolo amongst others. Another of my favorite grapes is Barbera which usually gives birth to more yummy wines that are ready to be enjoyed at a young age. There are many more, but these are the 2 we've mainly enjoyed during our brief stay.

In Barolo a French-like Cru system is applied where each plot of land within its area is named. Some areas have become more famous than others due to favorable location and know-how of historical producers of promoting their zone (e.g. Bussia, Brunate, Cannubi...)

Where Tuscany is otherwise characterised by olive groves, Piemonte has the Nocciola IGP from hazelnut groves that grow adjacent to the important vineyards. Foods are generally quite different. Still lots of meats, slow cooked in Barolo for example. Great cow cheeses versus the Tuscan sheep cheeses, different pastas usually thinner and obviously different shapes, hazelnuts & chocolateB Breads are not super exciting (neither are Tuscan ones though - I mean, comparing to French bread!) except of the bread sticks "grissini" that go down only too easily!

The landscape is incredibly open and offers spectacular views. This picture was taken from the village of La Morra.

The Grape Tours van - 

Castiglione Falletto in the center of Barolo, see the hazelnut trees in the foreground.

Nebbiolo, the region's claim to fame. Takes its name from the frequent fogs that hang out in the valleys.

La Morra is one of the highest lying villages - all worth paying a visit.

Can't not visit a winery or 2... We recommend Josetta Saffirio & Vajra where we enjoyed great tastings.

The younger brother of Barolo DOCG can be labeled Langhe Nebbiolo DOC, and is usually a declassified Barolo (intentionally of course)

View from Serralunga d'Alba on the East side of the Barolo region

I assume, a local. Picturesque character.

Love, love wine tasting! Here trying a Rossese Bianco (grape variety originally from Liguria - Cinque Terre - but also found here)

Castello de la Volta, just above Barolo village - just beautiful.

Two restaurant suggestions for you if you're in the area where we ate divinely:
L'Osteria del Vignaiolo - definitely go for the free choice tasting menu as it is a great deal!
La Coccinella - is just outside the border of Barolo, but really worth the drive. Yum!

Friday, August 14, 2015

New Tuscan Wine Tours Site!

So this year is just full of good excuses not to "have time" to write blog posts. The past few weeks, for example, have been "busy" with holidays as the kids are off from their schools & preschools. And then I've had the fun project of building a new and bit more modern web-site as I started to feel that the one I was using became more & more outdated...
So here's the new version which we'll use for the bookings for 2016 which are already rolling in! For the moment being you can view it on this address: