Piemonte Tastings

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Rob Lynch
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Piemonte Tastings

#1 Post by Rob Lynch » May 29th, 2019, 10:41 am

OK guys, plan my itinerary for me.

I've got a week in Piemonte in September, with two days set aside for tastings. Thinking one day for Barolo (or Brabaresco) and one day for Barbera. Not being one to rush it, I'm thinking one tasting in the morning, a leisurely but excellent lunch, and one tasting after lunch. Would LOVE to be able to walk through the vineyards from one to another, but that's not a requirement and not as important as quality of wine/experience.

Suggestions as to wineries and restaurants?

Grazie!

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Keith A k e r s
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Re: Piemonte Tastings

#2 Post by Keith A k e r s » May 29th, 2019, 12:15 pm

hi rob,

basically any place that makes Barbera will pour it alongside their Barolo/Barbarsco, so you can just give yourself two fun days!

Since you are limited on time, just spend it in Barolo. What I would say is spend 1 day in the northern parts and 1 day in the southern parts. You will be going around harvest time, so some places may not be so easy to get into.

With the time you're giving yourself, you will have plenty of time to walk in vineyards. When you do that, just be sure that you are wearing long sleeves and pants. Trust me, it may seem dry there, but the flies will chew you up. It took me about a week's worth of welts in Tuscany to learn that lesson.

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Ian Sutton
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Re: Piemonte Tastings

#3 Post by Ian Sutton » May 29th, 2019, 1:04 pm

Hi Rob
I'd echo Keith's comments about Barbera being made at pretty much every producer that also makes Barolo or Barbaresco, and also echo the advice to keep the logistics simpler and reduce the driving to a minimum - indeed I'm a big fan of plans that allow for walking to/from/between producers if possible, plus fitting in a walk from one village to the next via the vineyards which always remain more memorable to me than the wines we tasted.

I'd probably start by determining which village I'd want to stay in (or near) and then work outwards from there.
- Look up places that look interesting to stay in, using agriturismo.it, the excellent local tourism site langheroero.it, or simply googling accomodation in your preferred area. You might pick a village for the style of the wines, for it being the 'right size', having good walkable dining options etc. FWIW I'd recommend Monforte for a charming yet functional centre with good restaurants, or La Morra for excellent views and a great place to compare modernist / traditional and see where that debate has mellowed out at. We enjoyed Serralunga, but find Barolo a little heavy on the tourists these days.
- Then get onto Google maps / langheroero site and find what wineries are in walking distance. It can be good planning to drive in the morning to hit another village, dine, then return back to have a brief rest and then have walkable appointments for the afternoon, where the designated driver can then taste freely
- Don't simply chase the big names. Many of our memorable visits and pleasing discoveries, have been when going to wineries we'd not heard much of before.
- Book appointments in advance, and if this sounds too intimidating, the langheroero tourist office used to have a service that organised this (but some rental owners are happy to do this for you as well). We tend to leave 90-120 minutes between appointments depending on how far they are apart, and whilst some are happy to cover lunchtimes, we tend to avoid encroaching on their time between 1pm and 3pm.
- For walks, Barolo-La Morra is strong on famous vineyards and it's mostly through vineyards. Barolo-Monforte has some lovely woodland just outside of Barolo and just doing this and then onwards through the vineyards to the top of the hill before returning is a pleasing walk. There are loads though, and Barbaresco is similarly blessed with good walks.
- Worth sharing what you seek in restaurants e.g. one or more of
- Regional/traditional
- Rustic/friendly
- Michelin / Bling
- Scenic views
- Fancy wine list

I rather like the options in Monforte and Treiso and less impressed by those in Barolo and Barbaresco, but it can all depend on what you're looking for.

Hope this helps, but happy to throw some specifics in when you've narrowed down your base

Regards
Ian

p.s. If Barbera specifically appeals in a big way, worth thinking about a trip out into Monferrato, as the grape has a strong foothold there, but it is well represented in B&B.
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Rob Lynch
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Re: Piemonte Tastings

#4 Post by Rob Lynch » May 31st, 2019, 11:03 am

Thanks for the replies guys. Some good points.

We've got the housing worked out, a Villa outside Castino, so there will be a bit of driving no matter where we go.

As to restaurants: Authentic Regional would be the primary concern. Maybe one Michelin and one more casual. Views would be a nice touch but not critical. As to wine list: It needs to be good, but I'm probably not going north of $200, so there are limits. Real key is finding a great restaurant I can build into the tasting/walking itinerary.

RE: walking in the vineyards, am I correct that people just do it, cross country, without regard to trespassing? Are there marked trails, or can we go anywhere? Or am I an idiot who should stay on the roads?

Again, Grazie Mille!

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Re: Piemonte Tastings

#5 Post by Ian Sutton » May 31st, 2019, 12:16 pm

Castino! There is a very good walking group there and some wonderful walking. I'll be interested in how you get on staying there, as we've thought about returning to stay for a few days.

The vineyards are split across multiple owners, so access has to be open. Thus in all the walks we've done, we've only found a single fence (near Treiso), and that idiotically planted across a marked walking path. Everywhere else has been completely free to roam, with clear and wide dirt paths criss-crossing, so you walk alongside the vines, but never need to detour between the individual rows of vines. Signposts aren't common, but there is a good walking map available locally for c. 10 euro that you'll almost certainly want to keep (not the Masnaghetti vineyard posters, but a specific map of the trails within the vineyards). That said, the landscape is hilly, so it's often as simple as heading up in the general direction of the destination that you can see with your own eyes, with lots of alternative routes to get there. It's also quite good fun to navigate by vineyard (these are usually signposted) e.g. turn left at Muscatel, head through Cerequio and Brunate ... etc.

Treiso offers a good spread, from good wine bar, to a great (but once over-hyped) trattoria, to a staunchly traditional, to a fancy place with stunning wine list.

I really liked Le case della Sarracca in Monforte as a place for a wonderful early evening aperitivo spread and good wines by the glass from enomatic dispensers (that the owner dispensed IIRC). Osteria La Salita impressed but I'm told the restaurant right next door is also good

In Serralunga, we were very impressed with the Schiavenza wines, but the restaurant is cracking value for traditional yet ever so slightly modernised. A place I'd think about for lunch.

In La Morra, Osteria Veglio has lovely views, nicely traditional and with excellent pasta. We go lucky visiting Belvedere in La Morra either side a very public and steep fall from grace. The view are stunning and we had good experiences, but get a more recent view to see what they are like now. Plenty of others, some of which we've eaten at but forgotten, or it's been a long time. Others will have good recent experiences to offer.

Regards
Ian
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Re: Piemonte Tastings

#6 Post by Julius L » June 3rd, 2019, 10:14 am

Paolo Scavino (in Castiglione Falletto) for winery tour and tasting and Vinoteca Centro Storico (in Serralunga d'Alba) for a restaurant.
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Re: Piemonte Tastings

#7 Post by Gus Siokis » June 4th, 2019, 6:22 am

Hi Rob,

We just got back from a 10 day visit to Burgundy, Rhone and Piemonte. I will focus just on Piemonte......

We stayed in the historic district of Alba (others on WB recommended as a great central location especially as first timers to the area)

Restaurants we enjoyed:

Piazza Duomo - Michelin 3*. Near our place in Alba.
Centro Storico - On top of the hill in Serralunga. Great food and Alessio is very helpful on wine rec's
La Terrazz da Renza - On top of Castiglione Falletto. I would recommend lunch here since the views of the area are incredible. Oh and the food was great, too.
Osteria del Vicoletto - In Alba. We didn't get a chance to eat here since our visit with Giacomo Conterno moved from the AM to noon. Heard great things.

I highly recommend emailing or calling ahead to for reservations as we saw many folks turned away who tried to walk up.

Tastings we enjoyed (Didn't get a chance to venture over into Barbaresco):

Paolo Scavino - Great modern facility and very informative tour.
G. B. Burlotto - Old school facility. Very quaint with great wines.
Giacomo Conterno - Just as the Scavino visit - modern and informative with sweeping views of the area. Hands down our favorite visit and tasting. Roberto also had us 'test' his new Sensory stems against Zalto Burgs.
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Re: Piemonte Tastings

#8 Post by F.Daner » June 23rd, 2019, 5:23 am

Gus- we're going in Sept as well and will be in Serralunga for 3 nights. We have reservations at Duomo the last night. Did you do the tasting menu ? Would you go back ?
Gus Siokis wrote:
June 4th, 2019, 6:22 am
Hi Rob,

We just got back from a 10 day visit to Burgundy, Rhone and Piemonte. I will focus just on Piemonte......

We stayed in the historic district of Alba (others on WB recommended as a great central location especially as first timers to the area)

Restaurants we enjoyed:

Piazza Duomo - Michelin 3*. Near our place in Alba.
Centro Storico - On top of the hill in Serralunga. Great food and Alessio is very helpful on wine rec's
La Terrazz da Renza - On top of Castiglione Falletto. I would recommend lunch here since the views of the area are incredible. Oh and the food was great, too.
Osteria del Vicoletto - In Alba. We didn't get a chance to eat here since our visit with Giacomo Conterno moved from the AM to noon. Heard great things.

I highly recommend emailing or calling ahead to for reservations as we saw many folks turned away who tried to walk up.

Tastings we enjoyed (Didn't get a chance to venture over into Barbaresco):

Paolo Scavino - Great modern facility and very informative tour.
G. B. Burlotto - Old school facility. Very quaint with great wines.
Giacomo Conterno - Just as the Scavino visit - modern and informative with sweeping views of the area. Hands down our favorite visit and tasting. Roberto also had us 'test' his new Sensory stems against Zalto Burgs.
Fred

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Re: Piemonte Tastings

#9 Post by Gus Siokis » June 27th, 2019, 7:52 pm

Hi Fred,

Absolutely. We were with another couple and the wives did not want to do the tasting menu but would have. It really is a top notch place.....I think top 15 restaurant in the world per some global ranking. It definitely has a "Global" feel to the menu with local flavor, if that makes any sense. Here are some pics:
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Re: Piemonte Tastings

#10 Post by Andrew M » July 7th, 2019, 6:21 pm

Had a great trip to Barolo last November. I would plug the tours we did at Elio Grasso and E. Pira & Figli (Chiara Boschis), both were very welcoming and interesting and delicious wine of course. Pretty surreal feeling standing in the wine cellar at Pira which is older than the US. They've probably moved onto the '15s so maybe they will have a Cru Barolo open for you...
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Re: Piemonte Tastings

#11 Post by Michael_H » July 31st, 2019, 2:19 pm

I'm currently planning a trip this fall and I have an idea of places I want to visit, but I have a simple question about getting around. I plan to stay in Monforte, but would like to enjoy fine dining in Treiso or Alba for a night. Considering we would likely have a bottle or two of wine, how hard is it to get a taxi in the area? Any recommendations on transport to and from dinner?

Thanks!
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Re: Piemonte Tastings

#12 Post by Ian Sutton » August 3rd, 2019, 11:14 am

Hi Michael
Arranged in advance, yes perfectly feasible but costly. Plenty of taxis in Alba (which is convenient for Treiso), but very few in Barolo villages and no public transport there either. I think the Barolo drivers are mostly employed as private drivers doing tours for those with the money to not worry about it.

How about instead going to Treiso for lunch instead, then heading to somewhere like Le Case della Saracca for a full aperitivo (assuming it's still an extensive spread).

Likewise Alba is fine for lunch, say ~ 1:30 to 3:30pm so after lunch you can have a good stroll round the shops when they re-open 3:30/4pm, grab a coffee and gelato, so by the time you're ready to head away, the lunchtime alcohol would have largely left your system.

FWIW We always aim to have 2-3 options in walking distance of where we stay (typically an apartment), allowing most evenings to be leisurely stroll there, eat, drink and stroll back. Monforte has some good places, but I'm guessing you're planning on Tornivento and Piazza Duomo? There might be a mindset that if you are indeed going there, then bite the bullet and pay the big taxi bills so you can indulge in the fancy place.

May be best to get a recco of an Alba taxi firm and make bookings / agree costs in advance.

Regards
Ian
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Re: Piemonte Tastings

#13 Post by Gary York » August 4th, 2019, 3:08 am

Taxi will be difficult. You should arrange for a driver in advance. We used a driver for a few nights in April. I will try find his name.
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Re: Piemonte Tastings

#14 Post by Gary York » August 4th, 2019, 2:45 pm

This is the site. And we hired him for 3/4 of a day and 4 hours for dinner one night. We had 5 people so we needed a van. And that may have raised the cost. I think it was $50-60E per hour. But he was good and I would use him again.

https://www.albaprivatedriver.com/
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Re: Piemonte Tastings

#15 Post by Michael_H » August 12th, 2019, 7:44 am

Thanks for all of the suggestions - based on the cost I think I'm going to take Ian's advice and stick around Monforte for dinners. I think I'll focus on trying to find someone local to shuttle me to serralunga and back so I can get dinner at centro storico
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Re: Piemonte Tastings

#16 Post by Gary York » August 14th, 2019, 12:02 am

This is a place in Monforte that is very good. And has a nice list. It doesn't get much press and the website is kind of strange, but it is good. You could grab a drink and app at Sarrracca and a short walk up the hill to Catari.

http://www.osteriadeicatari.com/

I really love Centro Storico, but if you want another option in Serralunga.

https://www.osteriatrecase.it/index.php/en/
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Re: Piemonte Tastings

#17 Post by Greg K » August 14th, 2019, 8:03 am

Thanks to everyone for all for the info, super useful. In addition to the restaurant/hotel information, are there any services that ship wine back to the US similar to services like Cote d'Or importers in France?
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Re: Piemonte Tastings

#18 Post by Gus Siokis » August 14th, 2019, 8:21 am

Greg,

I read from another person on WB there is Mail Boxes, Etc in Alba that folks have used to ship back....should be able to find it via Google. If you are going in the fall you should be ok shipping back without any weather issues.....
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Re: Piemonte Tastings

#19 Post by Gary York » August 14th, 2019, 9:13 am

Yes, there is a Mail Boxes just outside Alba. Should be about 5-8 min on the main road going toward La Morra/Castiglione Falletto/Gallo. They have styro shippers and boxes. I usually carry on the plane but they probably can assist with shipping.
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Re: Piemonte Tastings

#20 Post by Greg K » August 14th, 2019, 12:26 pm

Gary York wrote:
August 14th, 2019, 9:13 am
Yes, there is a Mail Boxes just outside Alba. Should be about 5-8 min on the main road going toward La Morra/Castiglione Falletto/Gallo. They have styro shippers and boxes. I usually carry on the plane but they probably can assist with shipping.
Gus Siokis wrote:
August 14th, 2019, 8:21 am
Greg,

I read from another person on WB there is Mail Boxes, Etc in Alba that folks have used to ship back....should be able to find it via Google. If you are going in the fall you should be ok shipping back without any weather issues.....
Thank you both, appreciate it! Ideally would prefer to have it done the way cote d'or does it, but in October should hopefully not be too problematic.......
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Re: Piemonte Tastings

#21 Post by Gus Siokis » August 14th, 2019, 1:26 pm

[cheers.gif]
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Re: Piemonte Tastings

#22 Post by Gary York » August 18th, 2019, 9:02 pm

If you decide to bring it on the plane. Just know that it is a little bit of a pain.
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