So I’m heading to Piedmont in May and was looking at places to go and stay. Right now I’m considering 3 nights in Asti, 2 nights in Alba, and 4 nights in La Morra/Monforte. From Asti, I was thinking we could hit up monferrato, vercelli, and genoa. Then in Alba, we go to barbaresco and bra. Monforte would let us explore barolo, la morra, etc.
Couple questions - does that split look good? Also, what else is there to see around Asti and Genoa? I was looking at vercelli but outside of the rice, it doesn’t look like there’s much to see.
Can anyone help out with getting in touch with some winemakers? Would love to visit bartolo & guiseppe mascarello, aldo & giacomo conterno’s, produttori, elio grasso, and giacosa. Any other recs would be welcome as well!
They are all pretty close. I usually just pick one place to stay and drive around to where I want to go. I’m not much for packing and unpacking. You can make appointments pretty easy by yourself in Piedmont (at least for those that speak English). I think Giacosa, Conterno and Gaja are more difficult. Also helpful if you have a good relationship with a retailer who can help you set up appointments.
Thanks Paul - do you have any experience with Genoa or Vercelli? Just looking for day-trips or short hops outside of Asti
Torino is a much better day trip than Genoa
Thanks Jim! We’ll actually spend a couple days in Torino at the tail end before heading out of Milan. These places all look so close on the map it’s hard to get a sense for where we should base ourselves.
We never moved on our visits. Stayed in one place and drove out on day trips. It’s all pretty close.
Blast down to cinque terre. Genoa is a big city.
In Piemonte just set up one place as base camp and drive around.
I stayed here in Alba, nice casual place. Like family.
For a different perspective, would you consider switching Asti for Torino? It really is a fabulous city, only recently awoken to tourism, yet not cowed by it. Plenty of great food and wine, and some of the finest chocolate shops, my favourite being Odilla which does more than a passing resemblance to the film ‘chocolat’. It might also give you a place to get over jet lag, prior to hiring a car for the wine regions.
If going to Asti, then the is a guy who posts regularly on slowtrav website (tim in piemonte) who is well clued up and very passionate about Asti and the local area. He is based out in the country, so a car would be a necessity.
For the days you have, I would be wary of planning too many long day trips. Novara is perhaps more appealing than Vercelli, but either only make sense if flying in or out of milano malpensa, and even then they are not on a direct route. Our own favourite place there is Ghemme, a most unremarkable town, with little greenery, lots of roads yet no traffic, so it is pleasant to walk along the streets in peace. In addition, the agriturismo il cavenago do wonderful meals at weekends, and the grounds are lovely once you get up the gravel road.
The walking around barolo is excellent, and what better appetiser for tasting wine, than to walk through the very vineyards you will be tasting from, literally walking between the vines. The tourist office in barolo sell walking maps, but in truth it is pretty straightforward as you can often see where you are going.
Have fun. Piemonte is a wonderful region, and not just barolo and barbaresco. It keeps dragging us back.
Don’t forget the cork screw museum in Barolo. Right near the entrance to the castle, IIRC.
Silly but fun and I do like old cork screws. Suckers are EXPENSIVE!
Another vote for stay 1 place. We stayed in Barbaresco and had little problem getting around for meals and visits. A day trip to the coast is very easy too.
We always stay at Castello di Sinio.Great old restored castle.Close to all vineyards and the owner,Denise, is American and very knowledgeable about restaurants and wineries in the area.
Can we start a list of wineries there that are open to common folks? perhaps a website if possible?
I mean ones you can call/email to visit, and don’t need to be someone in the trade/media?
That’d be really helpful…
I would say the list of those giving a warm and courteous welcome to visitors would dwarf those who seek only influential people, as there are many decent/good producers that never make it into gambero rosso / duemilavini /espresso etc.
It can also be useful to speak to the people you stay with there, especially small local places as against the hotels, as they live in the community, and have friends. The lady who ran an agriturismo we stayed at offered (without us prompting at all) to phone her friend Maria Teresa (Mascarello) to make an appointment!
The list on the langheroero site is pretty extensive, and all listed would accept visitors. Well worth a browse when planning a trip.
Ian, thank you!
what is the Langheroero site?
www.langheroero.it it’s the local tourist board and the site is very useful indeed. There is an english language option, though not all pages are fully translated.
Langhe region is well known, Roero is to the north west of Alba, over the Tanaro river, and is somewhat in the vinous shadow of the Langhe, but there are some good wines, often good value.
Thanks Ian. Just saw this.
Curious what’s a good amount of time to spend in piedmont? 3-4 days? 5-6 days? Again not for in depth understanding but a good overview?
Enough producers to see for 5-6 days at 3 a day?
I am visiting the Barolo region this summer and I was able to find the email addresses of most producers I wanted to visit by just doing a google search. The only ones I could not find (probably because they don’t have one) is G. Conterno and the Mascarellos. I sent the emails Friday night and have already confirmed visits with Elio Grasso and Ceretto.
how long are you planning for each visit? a couple of hours + drivin’ time?
Each winery proposed meeting at 10:30 a.m. We are planning for 2 hours for each. Since we are staying in Barolo, driving time is minimal.