Never Drink Italian Wine Without Food

An adventure across Alba


As usual in May I traveled to Alba, an old favorite town, for Vinum2012 to see my friends the producers, to eat the best food ever, and to taste and enjoy the spectacle of 60 different Barolo and the same number of Barbera, Nebbiolo 100 percent, Dolcetto, an old favorite too, and the ever-expanding Piemonte whites: Moscato di Asti, Arneis, Favorita, Nascetta, Sauvignon, Gavi.

Unlike many large wine fairs which only cater to the trade, Alba's fairs do both. They are fun for the novice and equally interesting and captivating for those of us who live, eat, breathe and sleep wine and write about it, of course. The truffle fair in Autumn sees half of Lombardia and most of the world visits Alba each day.

I will be doing a list of my favorites. Gregory dal Piaz has posted on his Barolo visit and his favorites, but this post is more to give you a taste of Alba and its environs. The Langhe and Roero, for which Vinum is held.

Watching someone shave a succulent and fragrant white truffle onto your steaming, freshly-made pasta dish must be one of the most sublime experiences in the universe.

Alba and its environs hold so many wonderful experiences and flavors for both the wine and food fan. There's an entire street with wonderful enotecas and wine cellars with vertical displays of all your favorites going back 20 years, where you can indulge your passion for browsing, snooping and perhaps swipe some digits onto your plastic.

Almost every small bar or restaurant has a good wine offering and food that pairs beautifully with it. So yes, unless you are a taster who must line up 40 Barolos and taste them for Spectator, Parker or Plonk magazine, in which case you'll be hanging around the spit bucket, Alba offers you the chance to sit, breathe and taste and enjoy wines in the way they were intended to  be enjoyed, to complement the local dishes, to help you digest that steak.

I tasted 40 different Barolos, some were over 15 years old and most younger, but all needed a good meal to express themselves properly. Am I saying that you can't just savor a good Barolo or Barbaresco by the fire with a cigar? Sure you can, but many of those I tasted were still tannic and mouth-puckeringly dry.

So where can you eat and drink? Vincafe is a good start in the main street. They have the most extensive wine list covering all the producers near Alba, and all the best producers from all around Italy's choice wine regions. In addition, and unusually for Italy, they have a good international choice as well, plus Champagne.

There's a video here on Alba, enjoy it.

Here you can spend the evenings enjoying the rich buffet that is included with your glass of wine after 6 p.m., and taste your way to heaven. They have recently added five very unique rooms to their offering, making it the perfect base. *I'm almost afraid to tell you my insider secret, for fear I won't be able to find a booking it will become so popular.

A small sampling of their huge wine list follows. *The wine list includes almost any grape that is worth mentioning, including Pinot Nero, Merlot, Riesling, Sangiovese. You name it, it's on there.
Roero Arneis
Giacosa B, Nieve, 21E (or by the glass 6 Euro)
Prunotto, 18
Pio Cesare Alba, 18

Langhe Sauvignon
Tenuta Cisa Asinari -Barbaresco, 20

Langhe Chardonnay
Gaja, 45                                                              
Massolino Serra lunga d Alba, 20

 Barbera d' Asti
Coppo Pomorosso, 40
Vietti tre vigne, 20

Nebbiolo d' Alba
Ceretto Lantasco, 23
there are more than twenty on the list all are 18 euro, with the exception of Gaja which is of course double that.

Corino  La Morra, 18
more than twenty on the list ranging from E180 to E27

Prunotto Alba, 35

more than 20 on the list ,ranging from Gaja Spers '04'05'06 at  E200--- to  La Morra '06'07 at E35
Fantastic wine list with something for everyone.

Mentioned in this article


  • Snooth User: Anna Savino
    Hand of Snooth
    640513 46,168

    I was actually lucky enough to meet up with Donna while in Alba and we had a blast at Vincafè! We had some great Arneis at the tables outside where it is also a great place to people watch. Vincafè and Alba are the places to be! Thanks Donna for posting the wine list!

    Jun 13, 2012 at 6:01 AM

  • Now you've made me want to head back to Italy. My husband worked there for a while and we fell in love with it. I haven't experienced Alba so now have a new destination to head for - Thanks!

    Jun 13, 2012 at 10:50 AM

  • Snooth User: Wisequeen Donna Jackson
    Hand of Snooth
    1062644 319

    Dear Kay, thanks for your comment, I will be happy to show you around if you visit, Its a wonderful region and town. watch the video. :

    Jun 13, 2012 at 11:45 AM

  • Snooth User: Anna Savino
    Hand of Snooth
    640513 46,168

    Where was your husband working KAY?

    Jun 13, 2012 at 11:45 AM

  • Snooth User: Wisequeen Donna Jackson
    Hand of Snooth
    1062644 319

    Hi Anna, was lovely to share with you, and great to see you in Genova also. thanks. Donna

    Jun 13, 2012 at 11:46 AM

  • Corino is fantastic!

    Aug 03, 2012 at 2:37 AM

  • Snooth User: Anna Savino
    Hand of Snooth
    640513 46,168

    which Corino... there are a few:) but all good!

    Aug 03, 2012 at 2:41 AM

  • Giovanni Corino di Giuliano Corino

    Aug 03, 2012 at 2:50 AM

  • Snooth User: Anna Savino
    Hand of Snooth
    640513 46,168

    ah yes! you don't work at the wine institute by any chance do you? funny how such a small winery gets so much hype! wine spectator? you are not the first american to come up with this name however I do agree it is great!

    Aug 03, 2012 at 2:57 AM

  • good one

    Aug 20, 2013 at 4:33 AM

  • Snooth User: EmmaJansen
    1339600 34

    nice one

    Sep 07, 2013 at 12:59 AM

  • nice one

    Sep 08, 2013 at 4:17 PM

  • Snooth User: cglaw2013
    1341096 33

    really good one

    Sep 11, 2013 at 4:16 AM

Add a Comment

Search Articles

Best Wine Deals

See More Deals

Snooth Media Network