Our last day of tastings and Fall have arrived. However, those blue skies we had grown accustomed to have returned and the day is beautiful. Luca will once again be our guide and we are going to two wineries and visiting the town of Neive to have lunch.
Our first stop was at the winery of Orlando Abrigo. It is a beautiful property with the winery facilities built into the ground. They generate their own electricity using solar panels to accommodate the winery, offices and guest rooms.
For our breakfast wines, we tasted their Chardonnay blend, Nebbiolo, Barbera and Barbaresco. The wines were all good, but not a good fit for our palettes. We enjoyed the tasting, and the young man who led us around (also named Luca) but left without a purchase.
We next headed to Neive. I have read that it is a charming little town that definitely should be seen. We walked through town and loved it. Neive has that certain charm that just makes you smile to be there.
We stopped along the way at a small enoteca for a glass of wine and it was wonderful. First of all, the wine was delicious. They brought us out a small platter of nibbles to go along with the wine that consisted of one-bite salami sandwiches, cheese and warm breadstick ends – yum!
Sitting at a table behind us were five older gentlemen who were holding court. Just drinking their wine and giving a shout-out to other passersby. They may have been a touch loud, but it sure made the scene real and fun.
When we finished, I went in to pay and the folks at the counter were playing some AC-DC. It was a good time and we were “Thunderstruck”.
We continued our walk around town before heading to the restaurant for lunch. The restaurant was called “Umano” and was a delight. The menu of the day was posted and was a porcini mushroom salad, followed by grilled beef, sliced thin and served with roasted potatoes. We had a very nice bottle of Nebbiolo to go along. Luca shared in on the wine, but had a bowl of plin pasta to eat.
Another great lunch, capped off with a platter of desserts – chocolate cookies, jellied candies and chocolate truffles.
Our final tasting was a special one. We went to Azienda Agricolo Nadia Curto.
Nadia makes some fabulous wines and makes them her way. There’s a little story that explains things a bit…
Nadia learned the art of wine from both her father and her uncle. Her father was more traditional in style, while her uncle was not. Her uncle was one of, and probably the most influential of the “Barolo Boys”.
The Barolo Boys were a group of ‘renegades’, who wanted Barolo to be better and more well known. Her uncle ventured to France and asked “How do you make your wines better?” And “How do you get people to buy them?”. He came back with new ideas and techniques and rocked the more traditional winemakers. The wines were successful and the techniques are widely used even today.
So Nadia has a little traditional and a little renegade approach to her wines – and they are really great.
When we arrived, they were busy harvesting the grapes. We met our tasting guide – Alesa – and before we walked on, we met Nadia too. We chit-chatted for a few minutes, letting her know how we came to know of her wines and how much we liked them.
Alesa then led us into the vineyard, where we were able to see the luscious grape clusters hanging ready on the vines. You could almost hear them calling out – “Pick Me”!
Their vineyards are planted with Nebbiolo, Barbera and Freisa, plus a little bit of Dolcetto. They were harvesting, so there was a beehive of activity. The forecast was calling for rain, so everyone was trying to get the grapes in before it started over the weekend.
We then went into the tasting room to taste some wine. Alesa led us through the wines and from the first Dolcetto to the last Barolo, every wine was awesome! Each sip was a delight. It was fun not only tasting the wines, but also talking about them. While we were sitting talking, Nadia came in with other guests.
We were like groupies, gushing about how much we were enjoying the wines, her style of winemaking and her taste profile. Unbeknownst to us, one of the other guests was a wine journalist from San Francisco and she commented on our discussion and descriptions of the wine.
We told her of our tastings and suggested she talk to Valerie, hoping she would send a few customers to Piedmont.
Nadia was such a nice person, besides being a fantastic winemaker. We came as tasters and left feeling like friends. And yes, there will be another wine delivery. We bid them arrivederci, which came with hugs.
Our journey through Piedmont has been a delight. We walked through vineyards while grapes were being harvested, watched grapes being crushed, talked with winemakers and drank some wonderful wines.
We’ve also had some delicious meals, seen the beauty of the region beyond the vineyards and also met some very nice people.
Thanks to Luca for guiding the way and providing his insights. Thanks to Valerie for a perfect itinerary. And thanks to the wineries for graciously accepting visitors at such a busy time. Good luck with the harvest!
Once we returned to Alba, we bid goodbye to Luca and headed in to rest for a little while. Dinner would be pizza tonight at the neighborhood pizzeria that we went to on our first trip here.
We are happy to report that Nonna and Nonno are still there and still play a role. Our pizzas were good, as was the Pio Cesare Barbera D’Alba.
We strolled back to the apartment, gathered up our ‘stuff’ and prepared for the final packing.
Tomorrow we leave Piedmont and head to the Cinque Terre. The fun continues…