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Pining for Piedmont

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barolo-ridersEach September, Kato and I escort a group to one of the world’s great red wine regions, Piedmont in the NW of Italy. This hilly region, with stunning scenery, is home to the three great Bs – Barolo, Barbaresco and Barbera, which flow like water at local cantinas, osterias and restaurants. And in the garden of our hotel, and probably most bedrooms too! But that is private information.

The first two wines could be likened to Pinot Noir – pale in colour but oozing charm. So gulpable, and the perfect partner for the moods and foods of that time of year. You won’t hear it from the local wineries, but at the Barolo Museum I learned that experts from Burgundy were hired to develop the Barolo wine business – so why wouldn’t they shape the wines in the style of their beloved Pinot Noir! Even if the grape here is Nebbiolo – a uniquely Italian variety.

Too bad it’s difficult (as in expensive) to continue enjoying these wines once back in LCBO land, however, I couldn’t resist splurging on a stash of LCBO Piedmont offerings and here are the wines I’m tempted to buy while waiting for next year’s trip. You might like to consider them for reasons of your own – such as ‘training’ for one of our future trips!

Castello di Neive is a perfect introduction to Barbaresco – charming, graceful and seductive. One of the few classy, twenty-dollar reds on the regular LCBO shelves. As with Pinot, the best food partners are game, fowl and white meats. It’s not steak wine. Lightly chill.

Fontanafredda’a Barolo is crafted in what is called a ‘traditional style’. More earthy, than fruity. Quite tangy, dry. You really get a day-in-the-countryside feeling, and the invite to bring out hearty food. To hearty company.

Ascheri’s Barolo is more modern – bright fruity flavours and some yumminess. On the feminine side of Barolo, and a wonderful partner for roasted white meats.

Sobrero’s Barolo is one of the most seductive reds I’ve tasted in a while. A trip into the ‘heavenly’ side of wine – to die for. Woodsy and charming. Shades of a Fall day in the Barolo region. And a relative value compared to most wines at twice this price. Only at Vintages.

There is lot of the wonderfully rustic Barbera available, my favourite being Boeri – bright, appetizing, refreshing. The liveliness of Italy in a glass. And at the very reasonable price of $12. Perfect for pasta or pizza night.

AscheriSobreroArneis

BOERI 12 Barbera d’Asti, Piedmont, Italy 375113 $11.70

CASTELLO DI NEIVE 10 Barbaresco, Piedmont, Italy 160143 $21.10

SOBRERO 09 Barolo ‘Ciabot Tanasio’, Piedmont, Italy 286070 Vintages $37.95

FONTANAFREDDA 09 Barolo, Piedmont 20214 $26.95

ASCHERI 10 Barolo, Piedmont 341107 $35.25 ($32.25 till Nov 8th)

CASTELLO DI NEIVE 12 Arneis, Piedmont, Italy 378018 Vintages $18.95

P.S. Piedmont has its own unique white call Arneis. A wonderful refresher with citrusy/spicy tang. Hard to stop drinking it. Check-out the Neive offering at Vintages.

ON OUR TOUR this year we visited the magical hill-top town of Neive, and experienced one of the world’s most stunning wine estates at Fontanafredda (a former Royal hunting lodge), and lunched at Ascheri’s charming rustic restaurant. Think about coming with us next September! Details coming soon….sign up for the newsletter to get first options.

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