Autumn is an exciting time in wine-making. The grapes are picked, sorted, squished, and the process of making them into wine begins. It’s a time for marketing hype about how great the wine year is, and more importantly, it’s when crisp whites give way to bolshy reds at the dinner table.
So I was properly excited to visit Piemonte, a region in Northern Italy famous for Barolo and Barbaresco wines and for producing truffles, last week. It’s a gorgeous area and a top destination for foodies. We visited quite a few wineries, and apart from the big, sharp Barolo wines made to be aged for a few years before drinking, also tried the lesser known Dolcetto and Barbera reds and the rather lovely local white, Gavi di Gavi – (yes, it’s so good they named it twice.)
Visiting vineyards and winemakers is always exciting if like me, you are a Wine Nerd, because you get to understand all the things that winemakers can do that make a difference to how the wine tastes. They all think that their methods of growing, managing their crop and changing the grapes into wine are the best – from using steel tanks to toasted French oak barrels – and their methods are able to produce very different styles of wine from the same grape varieties, sometimes even in the next door vineyard. I would be a hopeless winemaker – I barely got through Chemistry GCSE – but I’m a big fan of wines from little wineries without massive marketing budgets that are good value, well made and tasty.
The stand out from my visits was the Cavallotto winery. Giuseppe, from the winemaking family, gave us a very detailled wine tasting (8 wines before 11am – I am so dedicated!) and their wines include some fantastic Barolos, but a great taster would be the reasonably priced and drinkable Dolcetto red wine, available here for about £12 a bottle.
I’d definitely recommend exploring some wines from this fantastic region. Salute (that’s Italian for cheers!) and thanks for reading -