Always, click for the real full size image to appreciate.
Lucked into a bottle of Matteo Correggia’s 2007 Roero, a 100% nebbiolo that was a delight with some spinach and mushroom pasta. Not as powerful as a Barolo from that year (a good one), the tannins had softened quite a bit making it quite quaffable if not overly booming. A great wine that if you have in your chiller you should probably go ahead and drink, as it’s probably time. We haven’t visited the Correggia family personally yet, but we will this spring on the Labor of Love book tour with clients. The Roero district is beautiful and so are its wines and its people. Worth a visit for any wine savvy Italianophile!
One of the most aesthetically pleasing things to do in Italy in October is lose yourself in a vineyard on a hillside where Italian folks are harvesting the last of the late harvest grapes; our friends at Fratelli Mossio were collecting their nebbiolo (the last grape harvested typically in Piemonte). This shot was our friend Valerio Mossio’s 92 year old mother collecting grapes, and I think it’s the most beautiful photo I’ve ever taken except for those of my children.
Long exposure shot from Rodello looking toward Alba and Diano d’Alba at night. The fog comes in thick, voluminous, and creeps like a silent ghost toward the valley below the Langhe hills. Piemonte is great during the day, but at night it has a quiet, romantic magic going on.
You can see why the region is known for “nebbiolo”, from the word for fog.
One of our favorites (if not *the* favorite) from the recent Piemonte exploration has finally made its way to Sovereignty Wines‘ shelves thanks to our persistent pestering of their distributor. Well worth the wait!
This beauty pairs nicely with anything savory, spicy meats, cheeses, and hearty soups. Pester your local wine shop for it too, as it’ll be time well spent. A perfect exploration of Piemonte in a glass, and an approachable one–only $14 or so, and way less fussy than its aging-required pricey Barolo cousin. Barolo is the wine the Piemontese sell to make a living, but nebbiolo and dolcetto are what they drink themselves. You’ll see why!
We’re back in Piemonte, enjoying Azienda Agricola Rivetto‘s nebbiolo thanks to our friends over at Sovereignty Wines. Nebbiolo is simply the best varietal in the world, whether its expressed as a top dollar Barolo or just an every-day drinkable nebbiolo offered up at not-so-stratospheric prices, and the Rivetto shows why: straightforward, just a touch of the typical ripe dark cherry and similar fruit, great strong tannins that take about thirty minutes to round off, and the rusty dark translucent color you’d expect. It’s fabulous. And nice to look at:
So where does this beauty come from? Let’s dig in:
Close to our friends in Rodello, Rivetto’s azienda is just outside Sinio and south of Alba, near Serralunga d’Alba on the eastern edge of Barolo country.
Just off a narrow road winding its way through Piemonte’s prime real estate, from this altitude you already know you’re in for a treat as you click through the Google map for Rivetto. Such a great collection of greens in those fields and rolling hills.
A little closer and you can see Serralunga just to the west of Rivetto…if you click around the Google Earth views for Serralunga you’ll fall in love immediately.
Fantastic: neatly trained vines, lush woods, and a rustic country feel; Rivetto runs an agriturismo and has very reasonable rates for a stay that we are hoping to take him up upon very soon. Imagine waking up and having to contend with the view he encounters daily:
Ah, the life of the Piemontese wine maker. Not bad eh? We cannot wait to visit.
We’re going to be exploring some Lugana and Piemonte wineries this fall whose wines we enjoy, and one of the ones we’re hoping to visit looks simply extraordinary; we managed to find a ridiculous deal on the Tenuta L’Illuminata Tebavio from 2004 a few months back when our friends at Sovereignty. Taking a look at their website, we can see this is definitely one for the bucket list…beautiful. So where does this lovely Barolo hail from? Let’s see:
Just to the west of La Morra and southwest of Alba, you can see that Tenuta L’Illuminata is located in the foggy, hilly, verdant heart of Piemonte’s prime nebbiolo real estate. Diving in:
Looks like it’s almost walking distance from downtown La Morra, a beautiful hilltop town of about 2400 lucky folks.
A little driveway, terra cotta roofs, a pool…and lots and lots of well-trained vines neatly nestled in the rolling hills. Yes.
Time for a leisurely stroll in that sea of green.
This doesn’t look too bad at all. Can’t wait to see it in person, but for now the Google Earth views tell us what we need to know: this place needs to find its way onto any Piemonte itinerary.
While Doug is off in Italy running tours, we’re home working and having a relaxing family night. While we don’t have the luxury of being in Italy tonight, here’s a fun alternative that just might be the next best thing.
It’s Friday, and thus we are enjoying a late dinner and a bottle of Giribaldi’s Dolcetto d’Alba (Crottino, 2012…an *excellent* buy at $10 at my local fine wine purveyor), which just tastes like…Italy! Tannic, little of the frivolous fruitiness sometimes ascribed to Dolcetto, and perfect with food. On the back of the bottle, I note that it is produced and bottled in Rodello, Italy, a sleepy little village in Piemonte. Using Google, you can actually go see exactly where your grapes are grown. It is a way fun to brainstorm for places to go exploring in Italy AND feel connected to the artisanal nature of wine making in the foothills of the Alps. Looking up Azienda Giribaldi, Rodello, Italia, Google takes me here:
And there it is–not overly dramatic, just an understated structure but with vaguely Palladian symmetry about it that certainly looks inviting. That’s where our wine comes from! A small vintner on a hillside in Piemonte labors to produce something in the crowded marketplace that is our wine, and thanks to the distributor’s efforts and the sharp eye and palate of our friends across the street at Sovereignty Wines here in Colorado Springs, we’re able to enjoy it. It’s neat when you think about it for even a moment. Let’s explore further:
And we see minimalist sign inviting us into explore Azienda Giribaldi. Most of the places that are “must see” for first or second Italy visitors are within walking distance of train stations. I’m sensing that a visit to Piemonte to visit local grape-growers is as good a reason as any to rent a car! You can see the shadow of Google’s robot-on-the-car in the lower left. Moving deeper into the vineyard:
Well…that’s certainly not ugly. That’s where my Barbaresco, my Dolcetto, my Gavi are coming from? Yes, let’s go visit, and soon. (Composes email to the Giribaldi folks about a visit this spring–who’s in?).
Spring 2015: who wants to visit Alba and taste the best wines in the world? Taking applications to go on an adventure here.
The king of wine regions, with apologies to you Francophiles. Simply put, nothing beats nebbiolo!