Wine Touring in Piemonte: Winery Visits Part 1

Great Wine and More in the Langhe - Part I



In last week's email, I began to tell a story of sorts. I had originally intended to write a brief email outlining my best bets for making a stay in the Langhe as enjoyable as possible. As I started to think of the accommodations and meals that needed to be included in my recommendations, it quickly became apparent that I would need to break the email up into more digestible pieces.

As it turns out I was unable to cram even the most abridged list of wineries worth visiting into a single email, so I will present these wineries in two parts. Today’s list covers wineries in the north of the Langhe, give or take. Some may argue with this list.  I do not mean this to be definitive; it is simply a list of great winery visits. I can easily add half a dozen producers to this list who produce spectacular wine, yet will not offer the casual visitor a particularly special visit. The following wineries will make your visit an experience with an unforgettable vista, or the most incredible winery facility, a historical viewpoint, or simply by being an integral part of the history of region

Driving in Piemonte

A car is a necessity for getting around the Langhe. Even getting to the Langhe can be a challenge without a car but it can be done. It's a good idea to rent a car before arriving in the region, though there are rental cars available in Alba and Asti. Alba has one small Sixt rental agency in town and the others are a fair bit outside of town. Driving in Italy is challenging but with a good map and some planning you should have no problems in Piemonte.

Wineries to Visit in the North of the Langhe

You can visit one or all of these fine properties. I have broken them down into three convenient day trips that you can combine with the dining recommendations from last week's email to create spectacular days you'll remember forever.

Day One: Barbaresco

Rizzi

The Dellapiana family, owners of Rizzi, is welcoming and eager to educate people on the wines of their small part of Barbaresco. From their ideally sited property in Treiso one can look over the vineyards of west Treiso and north to those of Barbaresco proper. The wines here are accessible and while not modern certainly highlight the elegant, softer style of Barbaresco. Three compelling single vineyards highlight the potential of Treiso.  

Roagna

Luca Roagna, the young winemaker of Roagna, is carrying on a family tradition. The style of the wine here has remained much the same over the last century. What once seemed archaic, that style of viticulture now called organic, has always been the path pursued here and it shows. The vines are verdant and exceptionally healthy with lush cover crops growing between the rows. The wines are made in a very traditional style and express a remarkable depth of fruit as well as the terroir of each vineyard.

Produttori del Barbaresco

“The best Co-op in the world.” It’s a common accolade for the Produttori and the truth is that the virtually unbroken string of exceptional wines produced here since inception in 1958. Drawing from a litany of superb Barbaresco vineyards, including arguably the two finest: Asili and Rabaja, the Produttori have set the benchmark for many vineyards. There is no finer place to learn the vagaries of Barbaresco’s terroir than with a set of wines made in a consistent style across this range of vineyard sites.

Day Two: Exploring the North of the Zone

Bra – Ascheri

The Ascheri family has been intimately involved in the promotion of Barolo for over 100 years. Their location in Bra, well to the north of their vineyard holdings may seem surprising, until one realize that the railroad historically ended here. By establishing themselves in Bra, the Ascheri family gained access to the route that supplied Turin. The wines today reflect current thinking; they remain traditionally styled wines but are made in a clean style that captures the essence of the fruit from each vineyard. Also of note is the excellent Osteria here, Osteria Murivecchi and the Hotel that shares the premises with the winery.

Verduno – Burlotto

The Burlotto family is another pivotal family in the history of Barolo whose location, outside of the heaviest concentration of producers, puts them at a disadvantage. Nonetheless the quality of the wines, and gracious nature of the family, puts this producer squarely on my must visit list. These are wines that make no concessions to appeal to the modern palate yet have a universal appeal in many ways. They are not the immensely tannic, structured wines one is told represents the traditional style of Barolo. Instead they are elegant, deep wines, which remain light on their feet yet age impeccably well.  Another property with a guesthouse, and walking distance to the wonderful, and recommended, restaurant Il Falstaf.

Oddero

The Oddero family is yet another pivotal family in the history of the Langhe. With beautiful wines and a wonderful site just to the north of La Morra, in the Frazione of Santa Maria, it is not only convenient to visit, but is as great an example of traditionally produced wines as one is likely to find in the Langhe. Having said that one might be surprised to find wine with Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon in them but these wines simply add to the experience.

Day Three: Discovering La Morra

Ratti

Much of the credit for the implementation of the Cru system in Piemonte can be traced back to efforts of Renato Ratti. Pietro Ratti has taken that level of innovation to the next level. Under his tenure the winery was expanded, into the hillside in a remarkable feat of engineering, and the style, always approachable was tweaked. Ratti remains a great innovator in Barolo and the combination of winery, wines and vista, not to mention lovely people, puts this squarely on any great visit list.

Rocche dei Costamagna

Rocche del Costamagna is not only the location of a lovely Inn, but also the site of the eponymous winery. The range of wines here is complete with everything from Arneis to superb Barolo but beyond that Rocche Del Costamagna offers visitors access to a virtual museum of food and wine information in their library.  The history of the region is laid out in print, antique bottles, and ephemera that makes a visit here unique and especially intriguing.

Marcarini

If you want consistency and value in Barolo Marcarini is it. Their two Barolo, Brunate and La Serra have slowly and steadily climbed the ladder of acclaim. While these both remain very fairly priced, as dose Marcarini’s entire line-up, they routinely come out at or near the top in comparative blind tastings.  These are wines of terroir, and in the case of the Dolcetto Boschi di Berri, wines of ancient vines, that all are unique and distinctive examples fulfilling the regions highest potential.

Stay tuned for next weeks installment that will feature wineries from Castiglione Falletto, Monforte, Barolo and Serralunga.

For information about accomodations and Dining in the Langhe please see: Wine Touring in Piemonte: Where to stay and eat

Barolo and Barbaresco, Make Sure to Leave Time for Both

Explore Barolo
Barolo, as a region as opposed to the village itself, is fairly large and varied. By venturing out to places like Bra and Verduno you not only can find great producers, but get to see a part of the Langhe that is frequently missed by tourists. In La Morra you can experience village life as you walk from appointment to appointment.

Explore Barbaresco
The three villages that make up Barbaresco; Barbaresco, Neive and Treiso, remain frozen in time. A visit here not only gives you access to great wines, it gives you a glimpse of a slower era. A day spent visiting three wineries, three villages, and fine restaurants will be very rewarding.


Mentioned in this article

Comments

  • Snooth User: dmcker
    Hand of Snooth
    125836 7,151

    Great info you're putting together and providing to us on those wonderful wines from Northern Italy, Greg. It's easy to see your passion for the wines and their place. I, for one, am thankful for that passion and appreciate how you're filling in so many gaps in my knowledge of the area. Now, to book a trip to Piemonte before everyone swoops down on your recommendations! ;-)

    Oct 27, 2009 at 4:53 PM


  • Snooth User: Ken Loman
    133635 2

    Marcarini is great! The proprietor (Manuel Marchese) accommodated for a private tour with tastings and good conversation. A real gentleman and a fine wine maker.

    Oct 28, 2009 at 1:08 PM


  • Gregory, I've recently booked a trip to Piedmont and your coverage couldn't be more well timed; many thanks.

    Are these wineries open to foreigners on weekends? Should they be booked in advance?

    Oct 28, 2009 at 2:33 PM


  • Snooth User: Lo Piano
    109953 4

    Hello,
    I recieve your mails already some time. Marvellous! As a Belgian winelover I'm very pleased with your information on the Langhe, a region that I visit some 5 to 6 times a year. As wine importer and vendor I must say that you have a very good taste!!! I don't know if you are still in the region, but if you have the time to pass through Diano d'Alba, go and see/taste the wines of Le Cecche. (http://www.lececche.it) Jan de Bruyn (belgian) and his lovely wife Paola (italian) make extremely good wines. Try his Fiammingo, a blend of Merlot (!), Barbera and Nebbiolo, on french oak for 12 months. Just a suggestion.
    Thank you again for your newsletters, keep up the good work!!!

    Oct 28, 2009 at 2:48 PM


  • Snooth User: Lo Piano
    109953 4

    Sorry, http://www.lececche.com

    Oct 28, 2009 at 2:50 PM


  • Snooth User: rpatey
    216781 3

    offline100

    We have been to La Morra in Barolo the last two years - if possible stay at Rocche Costamagna in the Art Suites in room # 4 - you will be rewarded with a tremendous view and accomodations -

    Wineries typically can be visited Mon-Fri but contact them by email direct to arrange a visit
    Try Renato Ratti, Mascarello and Marcarini
    Consider eating at Osteria del Vignaiolo in Santa Maria below La Morra and Profumo de Vino in Treiso both are very good -

    Oct 28, 2009 at 4:19 PM


  • Snooth User: Gregory Dal Piaz
    Hand of Snooth Voice of Snooth
    89065 205,782

    Yes offline, as rpatey notes all you have to do is make reservations.

    Sometimes the hotelier will be very helpful in tracking people down for you. So many great places to visist. I'm sure you'll have a great time.

    Lo Piano,
    I used to sell Le Cecche's wines. Excellent and unusually ageable Dolcetto. Thanks for the kind words and the link!

    Oct 28, 2009 at 4:28 PM


  • Snooth User: dmcker
    Hand of Snooth
    125836 7,151

    Greg, you might also consider classifying your Piemonte articles under multiple categories: winery profiles, wine regions, as well as the wine lifestyle. That'll make it that much easier for anyone searching for info to find these nuggets...

    Oct 28, 2009 at 7:21 PM


  • Snooth User: cigarman168
    Hand of Snooth
    227923 332

    Keep on those good info for me to plan my trip there.

    Oct 28, 2009 at 9:05 PM


  • Snooth User: cigarman168
    Hand of Snooth
    227923 332

    @Lo Piano,
    So, which months you think is best time to visit there?

    Oct 28, 2009 at 10:07 PM


  • Don't miss a visit at Martinenga property (book at +39 0173 635222) in Barbaresco.....amazing place, amazing wines...
    Marina

    Oct 29, 2009 at 7:15 AM


  • Snooth User: Lo Piano
    109953 4

    @cigarman16-8,
    I prefer spring (may) and off course september/october (vendemmia, beautifull colors, trufles,...)

    Oct 29, 2009 at 7:58 AM


  • Snooth User: large ds
    211720 9

    Don't count out a wonderful winery in Trieso -
    ADA NADA, Elvio & Anna Lisa would love to have you. Their Barbaresco, Dolchetto & Barbera won't disappoint.
    Via Ausario, 12 Località Rombone
    12050 TREISO (CN) - Italy
    Tel. +39 0173 - 638127

    Oct 29, 2009 at 7:17 PM


  • Snooth User: cigarman168
    Hand of Snooth
    227923 332

    @Lo Piano,
    Thx for suggestions. Sep and Oct is good while harvest time.

    Oct 30, 2009 at 2:50 AM


  • Snooth User: Gregory Dal Piaz
    Hand of Snooth Voice of Snooth
    89065 205,782

    I am adding Martinenga and Ada Nada to my itineraries for next year!

    Oct 30, 2009 at 6:58 PM


  • Snooth User: diablo58
    75866 298

    Thanks for the great suggestions and info on Piedmonte. Nebbiolo is my favorite!
    Having been to Italy twice, I hope to get to the Piedmonte region next time. I saved the best for last!

    Oct 31, 2009 at 10:42 AM


  • Snooth User: Gregory Dal Piaz
    Hand of Snooth Voice of Snooth
    89065 205,782

    I love returning each year. It is a special place with so many wonderful people to visit!

    Nov 03, 2009 at 11:01 AM


  • Snooth User: Mooooo
    352269 1

    Fantastic site! We are making a first visit to Piedmonte early summer and are keen to spend 3 days soaking in the pleasures of Italy's best. I'm stumped with all of these wonderful suggestions. Can I ask where you would recommend as 'must do's' in just 3 days.

    Also were you aware of any vineyards or Agriturismo that allowed one to camp on their land? It would seem the perfect way to take in such beautiful countryside.

    Jan 12, 2010 at 5:08 PM


Add a Comment

Search Articles


Best Wine Deals

See More Deals »

Daily Wine WisdomMore Wine Tips








Snooth Media Network