Thirty-five intrepid members of the Algarve Wine Society have just returned from a wonderful “field trip” to the Piemonte wine producing area of northwestern Italy.
Our timing was perfect, as the weather was excellent and the vendemmia was in full swing.
We were met at Malpensa airport in Milan on Sunday morning by the coach that was to provide our transportation for the next week. Before you could say “buongiorno” we were in our lunch restaurant – da Bardon in San Marzano Oliveto near Asti, where Gino and Andrea made sure that our first meal in Italy was a memorable one.
Then it was on to our base for the week – the super deluxe 5 star hotel, Il Boscareto Resort, located near Serralunga d’Alba in the middle of vast hillsides covered with regimented rows of vines. It would be hard to imagine a more picturesque setting or a more luxurious hotel. Dinner Sunday night was in the Osteria dei Catari in Monforte d’Alba, where Filippo took good care of us.
On Monday morning we were off to the Braida winery in Rocchetta Tanaro, specialists in Barbara d’Asti (and given 4 stars out of 4 by Hugh Johnson). This old property has been in the Bologna family for generations, and our lunch was in the nearby iBologna restaurant where chef Bepe and sommelier Carlo Bologna saw that we were very well dined and wined. After lunch our visit was to the Berta distillery in Mombaruzzo to sample their excellent grappas.
On Tuesday we were treated to a tour of the Batasiolo winery in La Morra and a tasting of their wonderful Barbara d’Albas and Barolos. The afternoon visit was to Cordero de Montezemelo, another superb La Morra winery with a long history and great Barolos.
Thursday morning was spent in the town of Barolo, first at the Marchesi di Barolo winery, where we watched harvested Barbera grapes being pressed and then tasted some memorable Barbera d’Albas and Barolos.
Then a lovely walk around the picturesque town capped by a visit to the new wine museum in the castle. Lunch was in the Michelin starred Locanda nel Borgo Antico just outside town. In the afternoon the wines of Vietti in Castiglione Falletto were sampled.
The Gala farewell dinner Friday evening in a private room in the hotel brought a fitting end to a 5 day gastronomic tour of dining and drinking in one of the better known, and truly excellent, wine producing regions of Europe. The Algarve Wine Society members left Il Boscareto for Malpensa airport on Saturday morning with a considerably enhanced knowledge of Piemontese wines and wine making and the happiest of memories.
Membership in The Algarve Wine Society is at its upper limit, and there is a waiting list, but if you would like further information please contact the Society’s Secretary, Larry Hampton by email: [email protected].