Life

Tourism in The Langhe accelerates in 2015

14 January 2016

IMG_0272There was a dramatic increase in tourism to the area in 2015 which, whilst providing a welcome boost to local businesses, also had its negative effects on those of us who live here. Some of my favourite wines sold out quickly and I now have to consider making reservations in restaurants where I used to just turn up. (more…)

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€ weakness provides perfect time to buy

5 January 2015
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Outside

Outside

We have decided to put Wilderness Cottage on the market and with persistent € weakness it should make it attractive for £ or US$ investors. The price is €127,500 (about £100k or US$150k). It is set up perfectly as a holiday-home and all furniture and fittings are included so it is instantly habitable. We have decided that running it as a holiday-let potentially takes up too much of our time and we have lots of other things we are looking to do.

It has been completely redecorated, rewired and a powerful new pellet stove installed that provides central heating. Off the beaten track, the last house at the end of a long lane in a quiet valley but a short drive from Alba, Barbaresco, Barolo and the latest Unesco World Heritage site. Closest airports are a comfortable drive -Turin (1h30m), Genoa (1h45) and Milan (2h)

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2014 – weddings, parties, tastings and a difficult vintage

23 December 2014

HO & me

HO & me

First of all best wishes to everyone for a very merry Christmas and a healthy and lucky New Year from the Neive Baldwins. An exciting year with lots of celebrations but weird weather which has left lots of our neighbours scratching their heads. Damp periods have meant that it has been a year when everyone has worked extremely hard to maintain the quality of the grapes. Constant green pruning has left yields substantially down, particularly in Barolo which also suffered from hail. Attention to detail and September sun has generally maintained excellent quality in Barbaresco. (more…)

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My back garden becomes a Unesco World Heritage site

25 June 2014

 

Neive

Neive

Barolo

Barolo

Barbaresco

Barbaresco

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

At last the Langhe and Roero area where I live has become the 50th Italian site to be added to the Unesco World Heritage List. The original submission was back in 2006 and the recognition of the beauty and importance of the area provides a useful invitation to those who have never heard of Piemonte to explore the zone rather than other more southerly regions. I have tried very hard in the intervening period to accumulate as much Barbaresco, Barolo, Barbera, Arneis, Favorita etc before wine tourists drive prices higher. I’m ready!

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5:2 Diet in Piemonte part 2 and tasting at Demarie & Ettore Germano

24 June 2014
Tagliata at La Torre

Tagliata at La Torre

 

Teppanyaki in Tokyo

Teppanyaki in Tokyo

On  a wet miserable day recently I started this update on the diet incorporating that week and other recent highlights. Friday started well with warm sunshine and work in the garden and a light lunch of jamon Iberico and asparagus sauted with chorizo, and the daily walk with the dogs and finished better with aperitivi (Scarzello 2011 Nebbiolo) at al nido della cinciallegra in Neive and a tagliatta at La Torre del Monastero also abetted by Nebbiolo. Thursday was a “fast day” with golf (helped by forgetting the carrots and celery) and salad for tea with just water. Wednesday ended with dinner at Stefano Paganini‘s and a superb Barbaresco Riserva Montestefano 2009 from Produttori del Barbaresco. (more…)

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5:2 diet in Piemonte- part I

21 April 2014

Roast Pigeon at Stefano Paganini

Bricco Sterpone

Bricco Sterpone

The 5:2 diet has been a lifestyle choice that has transformed our routine over the past 12 months or so and has been essential to combat the omnipresent temptations of life in Piemonte. When you are surrounded by the best wine in the world at affordable prices, and dozens of restaurants providing everything from the €10 workers’ lunch to Michelin starred fine dining it is difficult to maintain “la bella figura”. And despite my best intentions I find it difficult to write this blog regularly as I am either hungry and down or simply too busy. At the moment I’m neither so I’m going to attempt to catch up.

(more…)

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Working backwards (and forwards)-Part 2

7 March 2014
Francone Chardonnay

Francone Chardonnay

Ca del Baio Riesling

Ca del Baio Riesling

The last few weeks have been a disaster as following a brief trip to the UK I returned with a cold that robbed me of my senses of taste and smell. I don’t particularly blame the UK nor my fellow airline passengers but I feel much safer here. It was only last week that I managed to fully appreciate what I had been missing as I tucked into a plate of spaghetti amatriciana/arrabiata and savoured the fantastic  Ca del Baio Langhe Riesling for lunch. Tea was a monkfish and prawn curry with a lightly oaked Francone “i Patriarchi” Langhe Chardonnay 2011: slowly but surely. HO is cooking Asian rabbit and pork which we will wash down with some old Bordeaux for some local Italian producer friends. Always saves a competition developing between them if you serve something “foreign”.

(more…)

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How to say “hello/goodbye” in Italian

26 January 2014

I’ve always found it difficult to fully understand when to use “ciao”, “buon giorno” or “salve”. As I left the bakers yesterday I said “arrivederci” and the 3 assistants responded “ciao”, “buon giorno” and “salve”!

Cheerio for now.

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Driving in Italy

11 October 2013

Having paid €800+ for just 3rd party insurance for my 8 year old CRV versus around £300 for fully comprehensive cover in the UK, I thought I would share some observations:

1. Most Italians think the Fiat they are driving is a Ferrari

2. Any space exceeding 1 car length between cars must be filled immediately.

(more…)

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Springing into Summer

10 August 2013
Image

The Baldwin Clan

DSC_0458

Start of the Bob run

SAM_1705

Tube run- Artesina

It’s been a memorable  if ridiculously busy summer made special by having the whole family here last month; the 5 kids, partners, 6 grandchildren and even the ex-wife. A lot of wine tasted and drunk with lots of laughter. The weather has been great with the pool at close to 30c after a cool and generally miserable Spring. If you are here in the summer take the kids to Artesina where they have a great railed bob run of over 1km down the mountain and a shorter tube run for little ones. It was a highlight of the family gathering. Live music also featured with Jamiroquai in Barolo and the Buena Vista Social Club at Monforte d’Alba: great atmosphere and so much cheaper than the UK (around €40!)

May as usual provided the opportunity to taste the new (2010) Barbaresco vintage which was almost universally good and prompted some new and return visits to several cantinas. (more…)

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