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dr. Kricsfalvi Anita
wset3 sommelier and tourism expert

Piemont - Langhe: Barolo and Alba region

Who has not heard of the king of Italian wines, or of the king's wine as the Savoy kings labelled the fantastic Barolo red wine. Barolo wine is named after the territory surrounding the small town of Barolo. This wine just as most red wines in the area is made of Nebbiolo grapes, in itself producing very precious full flavour red wines.

The difference between a Nebbiolo and a Barolo is in the vineyards and in its maturation capacity, the time it spend in barrels, which is a minimum of two years either in oak or in chestnut. It can be sold only after the third year,but a Barolo is best if matured for some more years in bottles in a cool cellar. Barbaresco, the other renomated small red wine region is made equally of Nebbiolo, but in the vineyards surrounding Barbaresco /Treiso,Neive/. They show their best characteristics already in the second year, and they can be sold after two year maturing in barrels.

Nebbiolo red wines apart from Barolo and Barbaresco can be enjoyed even out of these top small terroirs, at a more reasonable price, sometimes giving a fresh but already complex red wine. Dolcetto d'Alba which has nothing to do with any sweet wines, and Barbera are important red wines for daily consumption if one prefers fruity, lighter less complex red wines with fair acidity.

You can choose from different style wineries, starting from the ancient traditional majestic wine cellars up to modern, design an pop art wineries. What is common in all of them is the excellent quality of their wines and the superb panorama on the slopes of the Langhe and the charming hospitality.

Langhe with its steep southern slopes, unique clay soil structure and its climate giving a wide range of daily temperature change favour these red wines to mature and get ready for a long barrel and later bottle life. Langhe, with Alba centre is also an important gastronomy centre, for the world famous truffle...The precious winter truffle is celebrated in a festival which is on from October till December each year. Summer truffle, the black ones are available all year round. Meat, especially veal and beef are world famous, proudly cultivated under strict bio rules in Piemonte, just as goat and other mature cheeses are amongst the top Italian cheeses. If you like desserts, the best hazelnuts are being produced near Cortemilia,so some nut cakes are to be definitely tasted here. It is not by accident that Ferrero Rocher put its production in Alba...

Let us mention to please dessert wine and sweet sparkling wine fans the most important wines in the region: Muscat of Asti and Asti Spumante, which has a unique method interrupting fermentation by cooling of the fermented must so as to keep the wine sweet and fruity with the special Muscat aromas. Its alcohol degree is often less than a dry sparkling, as remaining sugars are not converted into alcohol.

Piemonte wine gastronomy tour is recommended to be combined with Prosecco, Garda lake, Franciacorta, Oltrepó Pavese wine tours as they are all on the way to Piemonte. Whereby Piemonte gives a full satisfaction for red wine fans, by visiting Asti region, you can taste Muscat and sparkling sweet wines, the above mentioned other small regions on the way show the best of sparkling and still dry white wines in Italy, so this combination is a perfect overview of top wineries af all kinds in a one week-ten day tour.