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…)

Deltetto and the search for Favorita

1 December 2012
Antonio Deltetto

Antonio Deltetto

One of our friends with a base in Tuscany recently asked me to buy him some Favorita from Claudio Rapalino one of our neighbours. It is closely related to the Tuscan Vermentino and Claudio makes one of the best that regularly features on our shopping list. Unfortunately we are not alone and an importer had scooped up his remaining stock just a couple of days previously. (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…)

Dog days of summer

16 October 2012

Dog days of summer

London 2012

It was a magnificent summer here with little rain much to the annoyance of HO who resorted to using our sulphur spring when the hosepipe ban was introduced. Sound familiar? Ultimately this proved too much for late summer crops but autumn looks promising.  A steady stream of visitors, particularly family, was great fun and the pool got well used. The weather should mean that 2012 will be a magnificent year for the reds although the white wines will be average. Apart from one weekend when we were driving down to Lucca for a Kasabian concert it was unending sunshine. As we sat in a queue of traffic in mist and rain just outside Genova we were reminded of a Bank Holiday weekend in the UK.

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Summer tastings- Guido Porro, Bera, Adriano and Pietro Rinaldi

23 July 2012

View of Costiglione Falleto from Guido Porro

Despite the lack of recent wine blogs, we have been doing plenty of tastings in between guests, surprise, surprise. As well as regular visits to some of  our favourite neighbours, we have also checked out some new cantinas mainly driven by general tastings both blind and open. A recent visit to the UK confirmed that the supermarkets there have almost zero examples of Piemontese wines on their shelves; not really surprising as they demand size and uniformity. Quite a few friends have been buying wine here and using the services of Mail Boxes Etc. In larger quantities e.g. 100+ bottles it’s possible to ship wine as a private individual to their home in the UK for £2-3 a bottle or less.

Here are some of the Cantinas that have attracted our attention:

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Barbaresco a Tavola-act 2 & 3

22 June 2012

the impact of Nebbiolo

It’s hard to sit at the computer when the weather is so hot but I keep saying to myself I must write a blog. I have lots of notes, it’s 30c outside and HO is doing a rain dance for the garden. But despite the occasional darkening skies and accompanying cannons from Barbaresco: niente!

This year’s Barbaresco a Tavola was a treat and the wines we tasted from the 2009 vintage were uniformly good. It’s difficult to taste them in May as some were only bottled for the event and thus not at their best but even so showed well. The real test will be in September when we get a second chance to compare at Piacere Barbaresco. Nevertheless, tasting with friends, we usually reached a general consensus on our favourites. The food served at La Torre del Monastero was tasty and imaginative  and as it’s our closest bar we didn’t venture elsewhere. Those conclusions after the 2nd and 3rd dinners were as follows:

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Bobsbuzz.com meets Giovanni Rosso, Sciorio, Icardi and Produtorri di Barbaresco

26 May 2012

Claudio & Mariagrazia Icardi

Bob Hamblyn (Bobsbuzz.com) 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.

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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…)

Tasting at Pelissero Pasquale, Piero Busso & Moccagatta

11 April 2012

PieroBusso & his magnetic glasses

Franco Minuto, Moccagatta

Ornella Pasquale opens bubbles

Barbaresco, and of course our neighbours seem to be hitting the headlines this month and about time too. The publicity will undoubtedly help wine tourism in Piemonte, too often overlooked except by the “cognoscenti”.  In Decanter magazine this month, Piero Busso– Stan Stunet 2008, Pasquale Pelissero– Bricco San Giuliano 2008 are both “Highly recommended” 4*wines . Moccagatta- Basarin 2008, Barbaresco 2008, Bric Balin 2008 and Pasquale Pelissero Bricco San Giuliano 2008 are all scored 90+ and are top wines in Wine Spectator. I have visited these cantinas recently and been impressed by not just their Barbareschi but the overall quality and diversity of their range. (more…)

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