A day in Torino

21 December 2012
Royal Palace Turin

Royal Palace Turin

Turin is a much underrated City full of history, museums, monuments, bars, restaurants and everything you would expect from an Italian Provincial Capital. Our friends Robert and Leslie Alexander at Travel Langhe  often take visitors there who are invariably surprised at its charm: check out their excellent app. in “Links”.  (more…)

Gold-digging in Piemonte

20 November 2012

Digging for truffles

Alba White Truffle

Alba White Truffle

Well not exactly gold but at €5,000 a kilo the famous Alba white truffle is worth getting your hands dirty for. It’s one of life’s luxuries and I love them but unfortunately we usually have to make do with the black variety that are a fraction of the cost. Where to find the best is, not surprisingly a closely guarded secret. But even if you did know  a special, highly trained dog is essential equipment. I often wondered how it’s done and now I know, after a splendid afternoon tagging along with one of Travel Langhe‘s tours in the woods behind La Morra. (more…) meets Giovanni Rosso, Sciorio, Icardi and Produtorri di Barbaresco

26 May 2012

Claudio & Mariagrazia Icardi

Bob Hamblyn ( had never visited Piemonte and seen the producers and their vineyards or even tasted their wines, that is until last month. His sons Gary and Ian are great fans and brought him over so that he could add something from the experience to his new winemaking venture in Eastbourne. 4 of our friends here made it a special occasion and deserve a special thank you for taking time to show Bob around. Fortunately he walked around with his mouth open in disbelief which made it easier to taste the wines! It has already had an immediate impact as he signed up for an bio-dynamics course immediately on his return to the UK. An afternoon with Claudio and Mariagrazia Icardi provided that impetus  (more…)

After the disappointing Barolo di Barolo, a great start to Barbaresco a Tavola

14 May 2012

Torres Neive

Barbaresco a Tavola got off to a cracking start last Friday with 20 Barbareschi 2009. We had also chosen well in La Torre del Monastero as the meal was excellent, particularly the tagliatelle with a sauce featuring our local butchers’ sausage (Cordero Figli, Neive) and  a main course of braised duck breast with pears. I am glad we are already booked in there again this Friday as I suspect they will be booked out.


Disappointing Barolo di Barolo

1 May 2012

Castello di Barolo

Barolo is a minefield with so many producers that I take every opportunity to taste whenever I can. For  the past 3 weeks, every Friday, there have been tasting dinners held at various Barolo restaurants with the wines of 10 different producers each evening. Sounds fantastic, and the restaurants were, but among 30 wines I struggled  to find more than a handful that I truly enjoyed. (more…)

I didn’t realise how much I loved Gavi!

6 February 2012

Il Nostro Gavi, Giustiniana

Clemens looking girly

I knew I liked Gavi but I didn’t realise just how much until I visited Tenuta La Giustiniana last weekend with my mate Clemens who has a wine business, (MonVino), exporting principally to Germany. He had received some enquiries from Stuttgart and Berlin for quality Gavi and had arranged the appointment. It was cold and miserable and just starting to snow when we arrived and Alessandra took pity on him and found a nice blue girly umbrella. But I digress…. (more…)

Dinner at Herstmonceux Castle, Friday 16th March

31 January 2012

Herstmonceux Castle

In conjunction with Herstmonceux Castle I have arranged a wine-tasting and typical Piemontese dinner in this historic setting. The wine-tasting will include Barolos and Barbarescos (dubbed the King and Queen of wines), made by several of my passionate and dedicated neighbours and I can promise you that they are exceptional and not found in your local supermarkets. The price is £49.50 inclusive of dinner, wines and VAT and is strictly limited to 50 places.

For reservations and further information please contact the Conference office at the Castle on  01323 834479  or by email at
I look forward to seeing you there.

Feast or Famine

17 November 2011

Adolescent Amo & Mocha

Having had a Summer with little or no rain the weather in the past week made up for it. After the tragedies in Liguria last week we now have our fingers crossed that the rain of the past couple of days is absorbed locally although Her Outdoors had to make several detours to get home from shopping on the other side of the Tanaro. The principal bridge we use to cross it was closed and necessitated a 30 minute detour via Asti where the floodwater was also threatening the road. The weather has had little impact on our excursions although our adolescent puppy has been another matter. (more…)

Io e Luna (Me and the Moon), Guarene

12 July 2011

Darryl Baldwin and chef Davide Odore

View from the terrace

There are no shortage of classy restaurants in Piemonte and the best quite often  have prices to match but every now and then we stumble upon a gem that provides exceptional cucina without breaking the bank. Davide Odore is a talented chef and Io e Luna in Montebello a frazione of Guarene is a must for visitors to the region. (more…)

And now for something completely different, Erbaluce di Caluso

30 June 2011

Remo Falconieri

It is so easy to become totally immersed in the world of Barbaresco and Barolo that one becomes blind to some of the delights just down the road: actually in the case of Caluso an 1 1/2 drive from Neive to the north of Torino. The ancient Erbaluce grape, whose name probably derives from Alba (dawn) Luce (light) has a copperish colour as it matures and is more or less confined to this corner of Piemonte centred on Caluso. It produces wine of  excellent acidity with an aroma of apples and grassy meadows and lends itself well to both still, spumante and passito. As Remo Falconieri of Cieck explains its production has had to adapt in recent years to compete with the growing popularity of other Piemontese wines like Arneis and Favorita. (more…)

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