Wine & Travel

Snooth User: madmanny

Traveling to Piemonte

Posted by madmanny, Apr 17, 2009.

I'll be traveling to Piemonte for a week at the end of August. Looking for winery and dining suggestions.


Reply by Gregory Dal Piaz, Apr 17, 2009.

Hi madmanny,

I'll be returning to Piedmont in a few weeks.

I can certainly recommend eats and drinks but a few questions to help narrow things down.

How much time will you be spending there?
Where will you be staying?
What sort of wines do you enjoy?
Are you involved in the biz at all or just a consumer?
Fancy food or rustic food?

Reply by madmanny, Apr 17, 2009.

Hi Gregory,
We'll be there for a week, travleing with several other couples. We're staying in Mombaruzzo at a place called "La Villa", , where we've stayed before, but just for a few days. Had a chance to visit Barbaresco and Barolo and a few other small towns. Went to Acqui Terme one night for dinner, very charming town.
As far as wines go, we enjoy the "big reds" in the area, and brought back some great "B's" for our last trip. Also enjoy the moscatos as a change of pace. Went to a slow foods festival in Bra last year and, besides a million cheeses, got to sample quite a few moscatos at the event.
We're not in the business and we enjoy all types of food.

I can supply you with the places we enjoyed. Be happy to chat before you leave and then compare some notes when you return.

Have a great trip.

Reply by Rodolphe Boulanger, Apr 17, 2009.

Well both of you should be sure to make it for dinner to Da Felicin in Monforte d'Alba

Reply by madmanny, Apr 17, 2009.

Thanks. What are the primary attractions? Did you go to other spots in Barolo?

Reply by Rodolphe Boulanger, Apr 17, 2009.

Oh, sorry for being so short.
I went briefly for work and stayed maybe 4 nights at Felicin. I visited producers in Barolo, Roero and Barbaresco, but I can't really recommend any of them to you because they were either (a) tiny and not open to the public - no English spoken or (b) were giant co-ops with very little of interest to a wine tourist. However, as you know, there are so many wineries that will love to host you.

I strongly recommend you pick up this book on Amazon:

I spent time visiting Bra, La Morra, Barolo, Verduno, Diano d'Alba, & Barbaresco. If you haven't done it yet, I highly recommend touring the sandy Roero across from Alba - its a very different countryside with some neat wines (although its short on the giant bodied reds). Also, I had a lot of fun on the hiking trails in Barolo - see if you can pick up the map - if you are adventurous, you can walk through the vineyards on trails connecting the vineyards. I got a real appreciation for the soils, vineyard aspect, drainage, and other dorky things that distinguish the various vineyard from each other.

Another Alba must is to go to the parking lot of the Nutella (Ferrero) factory. Roll down your car's windows and drive in circles. Don't worry about the shift workers staring at you. Try not to pass out from the sheer hedonism of the chocolate and hazelnut aromas.

Having looked on a map to find where Mombaruzzo is, I'd hope that you plan on sneaking off to the Ligurian coast at least one day since the Autostrada is right there.

As I said before, Da Felicin was the best meal I had in northern Italy. Similarly, if you find yourself in the Barbaresco area at night, La Ciau Del Tornavento has an impressive wine cellar.

Reply by dmcker, Apr 18, 2009.

The Michelin star says maybe the food's good, too?

Reply by dmcker, Apr 18, 2009.

And RB or Greg, where besides Portofino (though a tourist cliche it still can be shockingly beautiful) would you recommend for the Ligurian day trip?

Reply by Gregory Dal Piaz, Apr 19, 2009.

Ah the food's ok. The view and wine cellar are the main draws. OK that's unfair but frankly the food is what one can find here in NYC. This is not why I go to Italy, or Piemonte for that matter. You want the best food, Da Cesare.

You want really good, authentic food then the best places are the Brezza's Hotel barolo in Barolo, Torre Antica in Barbaresco, Locanda del Centro in Castiglione falletto, well that's all i can recall at the moment. Need to find my notes.

I have never been to Portofino, though I am familiar with the beauty. The stretch of beach from Noli to Sportorno is, while also tourist driven, quite attractive and a great place for a refreshing meal and some spectacular vistas.

Reply by chupacabra, Apr 29, 2009.

Is anybody going to Vinum Alba this weekend?

Reply by Gregory Dal Piaz, Apr 29, 2009.

Not this weekend but next I will arrive for the Alba Wine Exhibition!

Reply by Mart P, May 2, 2009.

As a more or less permanent (11 yrs so far) resident of the Roero area, I am appreciating the recommendations for the great places to eat, some of which I have never been to. I'd add, for a serious dining experience, the "Ristorante all'Enoteca" in Canale. Another enjoyable meal in a beautiful location nearby is Villa Tiboldi, Canale, which also has nice rooms and suites at very reasonable prices. (For a visit in August their swimming pool might be appreciated too.) Also 'Cascina Langa' up in the hills behind Alba for a great meal in a spectacular location. I am in the process of converting my house to allow for B&B and vacation rentals, but it won't be ready until next spring probably.

If you have any taste for whites at all, I'd suggest looking at Roero Arneis, in particular the one by Ca'Rossa of Canale. Wonderful wine.

I was at Vinum yesterday (Friday May 1). A fairly nice town fair, but not a particularly serious wine event. Many of the smaller producers from the immediate vicinity were represented, but most of the ones that export don't participate in this event. The Alba Wine Exhibition (May 10-15) is the real event for producers of Barolo, Barbaresco and Roero. A limited group of invited journalists and buyers participate in a series of small tastings of the new releases.

Reply by John E Morris, May 6, 2009.

FYI, be aware that a lot of things are shut down in Italy in August. I cancelled a visit to Piedmont in mid-August a few years ago because so many winemakers were away. You may want to check restaurant schedules, too, because some might be shut in that period.

Reply by Gregory Dal Piaz, May 8, 2009.

I am packed and ready to go! Flight leaves at 6m I'll be on the ground at Malpensa around 9am and should be strolling through vineyards by noon, or maybe lunch by the vines first!

I'll be reporting as much as possible so stay tuned for the Piedmont updates!

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