As today is Sunday, all the wineries were closed and we were unable to book any appointments. All of the local enoteche, however, were open, so we took a leisurely drive around the Barolo valley, stopping every chance we had to taste Barolo, Barbaresco, Barbera, Dolcetto, and even Moscato.
Some of the views on our meandering drive were absolutely spectacular. We were particularly fond of La Morra, on the valley’s northwest ridge. One of the aspects of Toscana I always loved was how its hills were a patchwork of different colors and textures. Here in Piemonte, every parcel is planted with vines so they have a more uniform color and texture. However, the color is a beautiful, rich green and the texture is a consistent, horizontal striation made by the rows of vines on steep slopes (Grapes are all harvested by hand here because machines couldn’t handle the grade!), so there isn’t much to complain about.
The enoteche in the castles of Barolo and Grinzane Cavour serve as the official tasting destinations for local varietals. What could be better than sipping on great wine in old castles with such beautiful vistas in all directions? La dolce vita.
We stopped in the city of Asti for dinner, settling on a restaurant with many local specialties on the menu, a nice wine list, and no English speaking staff. We weren’t disappointed. Our waitress offered to select antipasti for us then we just chose first courses, thinking we would have a light meal. But oh were we wrong. The waitress brought plate after plate of antipasti so delicious would couldn’t help but finish it. By the time my risotto with hazelnuts in a moscato cream sauce arrived, I could barely touch it. If that’s the worst problem I have, though, life is good.
Pictures are in my facebook album.