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6 days In Guarene

Mark

100+ Posts
Guarene is a commune (municipality) in the Province of Cuneo in the Roero region of Piedmont.

We found the town serendipitously through Beerman’s post from September of 2022. I read the post in 2022and forgot it .

2022 Liguria, Piemonte, Lake Como | Page 2 | Slow Europe Travel Forums

As we were planning the trip I came across Luisa’s Smile independent of his post and booked it.

https://www.luisasmile.it/en/

I also took note of Miralanghe Restaurant and Hotel steps away from Louisa’s Smile.



We arrived in Guarene on Saturday afternoon, after driving from Milan, a few hours early for our check in. We went to the piazza where Miralanghe is. I took my iPad in and showed Beerman’s photo of him and the Miralanghe gang to Maurizio. He said hello, I said “is this you”? and pointed to him in the photo. He said yes! A big smile came across his face. He said “ah you are a friend of Richard’s”? and I said yes. Only later when Annalisa came in did they begin to understand the relationship.

My wife Bonnie came in and we decided to have a few aperitifs while we waited for our check in time. She had a prosecco and I had Langhe Nebbiolo. We were served by Maurizio and Annalisa’s daughter, Chiara. I asked to pay and she said 6 euros. I responded we are not in Milan anymore.



As we sat there, I struck up a conversation with a couple from Denmark who spend 6 weeks in Guarene each year. I asked if it was OK to park where I was and he said no you will get towed as that evening was the 44th annual vendemia celebration in the piazza. He also recommended Io e Luna restaurant.

We then checked in to Luisa’s Smile and we were blown away. We enjoyed the bottle of Philipponnat Royal Reserve Brut Champagne (a 60 euro bottle) that was provided by the owners Dario and Flaminia.

Joshua who checked us in and helped make dinner reservations for that night and the next.

We did go to Io e Luna that night. We noticed the 8 euro coperto each if only ordering one salty dish. Not sure what that meant so asked for an explanation. They want you to order an app/primi/secondi and dolce. We declined and had one app we split and two secondi. They brought 3 types of bread and 2 separate amuse bouche and then two desserts so the coperto was not an issue.

After dinner went back to the festival. Great to see the camaraderie of the town folks, dancing drinking and eating.

That night Miralanghe was closed for Maurizio’s 60th birthday celebration offsite.

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On Sunday we went to Bra and Cherasco in the morning walked the town and checked out the churches. In the afternoon wanted to get the lay of the land in Alba as we were scheduled to go to Piazza Duomo on Wednesday a Michelin 3 star 290 euros for the less expensive menu not including wine for my wife’s birthday. It was the Go Wine festival and was packed. Did not participate, walked into and out of the enoteca/wine shops. Bought some grappa and headed back to Guarene.
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We had reservations at Osteria Imperfetta for dinner, but first headed to Miralanghe for an aperitif, this became a daily event. We chatted with Maurizio and Annalisa about our reticence driving to Alba for dinner. They immediately said we are closed on Wednesday; we will take you and pick you up. I was floored with their generosity (only the beginning). I had made reservations with them for dinner Monday night and said we’ll talk about this some more.

Monday was our all day wine tour with Amandas Wine Adventures. We were to visit 2 wineries and a cheese affineur. I was comfortable booking this as Amanda is an ex-pat American, has the WSET level 3 Advanced and is a Level 4 Diploma student. I have been teaching Level 4 Diploma in Philadelphia for 20 years, she also makes wine in Piemonte with her husband so I felt in good hands.

We were picked up by Alexa at 9:30. 1st up was Corino in La Morra. They are modernist Barolo producers using rotofermentors and small French barriques. We had a very nice visit with Stefania, Co-Owner with her husband, and talked viticulture, trellising, training and soils. We tasted through their lineup. The Barolos showed the effects of their winemaking and elevage approach.

Too much pronounced oak making them unbalanced at the moment perhaps in a few years the oak will be less prominent. We bought a bottle of their Nebbiolo Langhe (for immediate consumption) which did not show the modernist treatment. She waived the tasting fee.
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Roto Fermenter

Next up was Borgo Affinatori, a small cheese affineur with one cave, buying local cheeses and bringing them up aging and washing rinds, etc. and then reselling. We had 11 cheeses along with one of Amanda’s wines. Finished off with a slice of lasagna to complete our tasting. Very nice break.
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Next was one of the legendary producers from Barbaresco, Paitin in the town of Nieve. Not a barrique in sight. After a tour of the cellars we started with a Roero Arneis white, then Barbera, D’Alba Superiore, followed by a Langhe Nebbiolo, then 3 Barbaresco’s 2020 Seraboella, 2020 Basarin and Sori Paitin 2016 Riserva. Wonderful wines but pricey. Did not want to buy to many wines that needed aging at this early stage of our stay, but should have. Perhaps if we had bought they would have waived the 45 euro tasting fee. I left my card and received a very nice email from the estate manager who missed meeting us as he was in the vineyard. With my credentials I rarely pay for visits to wineries anywhere we travel in Europe as you will see in the next three visits on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday where I made the arrangements or through our distributor/importers.
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View from Paitin
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Back to Guarene and time for dinner at Miralanghe.
Maurizio had invited us to come at 7:00 for an aperitif before dinner at 7:30. I ordered a Negroni and Bonnie had a Prosecco. As we were standing, we were introduced to Marco, while Maurizio poured us a white wine. I soon found out that Marco was a regular and a Guarenesi. He is a 3rd generation winemaker at his family’s estate Roero winery today called Az. Agr. Marco Porello where he makes Roero Arneis and Langhe Nebbiolo. His wines are imported into the US. Will see if I can get them for our store. So next the subject of dinner at Piazza Duomo came up . We told them we were having second thoughts and wanted some recommendations for another restaurant for Bonnie’s birthday. Marco said Ristorante All’ Enoteca, in Canale, a Michelin one star where the chef was one of his best friends Davide Palluda.

They called and made the reservation and Annalisa said we will take you and pick you up.

Next up was dinner, we were seated at one of the tables overlooking the Langhe valley. Dinner was lovely.
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View from Miralanghe

Tuesday morning, we had an appointment at Andrea Oberto in La Morra. The arrangements for our visit were made through distributor/importer Regal Wines. We arrived at 10:30 We toured the cellars. There were a few barriques, but mostly large botte for aging. We met Andrea, his wife and daughter.

We tasted through Dolcetto, several Barbera’s including, Giada and San Giuseppe, a Langhe Nebbiolo and Barolos - Barolo Brunate, Barolo Rocche and Barolo Albarella. All 3 Barolos are MGA or cru vineyards.
Here are the aging requirements for Barolo
Barolo: 38 months from November 1 of the harvest year, including 18 months in wood.
Barolo Riserva: 62 months from November 1 of the harvest year, including 18 months in wood.
When we finished the tasting, a cold vegetable salad prepared by Andrea’s wife along with very good grissini was served for lunch. They were very accommodating arranging for an interpreter to be there the entire time. Andrea asked us what wine would we like to take with us. Not wanting to be greedy we asked for the Barbera Giada.
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From there we walked the streets of La Morra, then Grizane Cavour with drinks next to the castle.

Back to Guarene and aperitif’s at Luisa’s Smile from the patio enjoying the late afternoon view of the Langhe Hills. Dinner was at home.

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Sunrise from our balcony at Luisas Smile

Wednesday, I had made an appointment directly with G.D. Vajra in Barolo for 11:30. Another great producer. No barriques here only botte. We were joined by a couple from Australia and anotherfrom New Jersey all in the business. Here we tasted a lot of wines. Starting with N.S. Della Neve Vino Spumante Di Qualita’ Rosato NV, 50% Nebbiolo and 50% Pinot Noir. Nice start with a sparkler for Bonnie’s birthday, followed by Luigi Baudana Bianco called Dragon, a blend of Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling, Nascetta. Next was Clare JC Langhe Nebbiolo from younger vines from their Barolo vineyards. Next were all 2019 Barolos, Coste Di Rose, Ravera, Bricco Delle Viole,
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Then we walked the town of Barolo, visited Serralunga D’Alba, we finished with wines at Luigi Vico overlooking the vineyards from their terrace.
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So now time for dinner at Ristorante All’ Enoteca in Canale. Chiara drove us there, no time for an aperitif at Miralanghe. We had a wonderful meal and had a chance to talk with the chef. Maurizio picked us up. He invited us in and sat with the locals including Marco and were given glasses of Genepy. Leaving that night, Annalisa and Maurizio surprised us with a half dozen ripe peaches and a dozen plums to take home. A great day indeed.
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Fois Gras sandwich
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On Thursday it was time for a hike, the local Sentiero dell’Incantanto a 3.2 mile trail through the vineyards and hazelnut groves.
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We had an appointment at Giacomo Borgogno in the town of Barolo at 3:00. We received a thorough tour with Matteo. We tasted through a Riesling, Derthorna Timorasso, No Name, a Nebbiolo Langhe, long story about the name and the wine. We were able to choose what Barolos to taste; 2018 Fosati, 2018 Cannubi, 2016 Riserva and 1982 Riserva. Matteo then mentioned we were welcome to a glass of our choosing and to enjoy it to the roof terrace which has sweeping views of the town and vineyards beyond.
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Huge botte over 100 years old
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The view from the roof.

On our way back to Guarene we picked up a flowering plant to give to Annalisa and Maurizio as a thank you for their hospitality and stayed for another aperitif, We took a couple of photos. They gave us the book Osterie della Tradizione. It profiles local traditional restaurants in Piedmont, where Miralanghe is included. Then they gifted us two jars of their preserves one plum and the other a chocolate and fruit compote.

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Me, Maurizio , Annalisa and Bonnie


We have been treated very well on our trips to wine regions in Europe. This is one we will never forget thanks to Annlisa, Maurizio and Chiara.

We also spent 5 days in Venice, 4 days in Milan and 5 days in Bellagio.
Will try and post more.
 

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Super stuff and good to see Borgogno's timorasso mentioned. Not one I've tried, but have been a big fan of the grape for a decade or more, and it's definitely become more popular in that time.

We also visited Corino, albeit it's over a decade since our visit. We consciously chose wineries cutting across the modernist/traditionalist divide (and it was still something of a divide back then), but also that were walkable from where we were staying and between each other. IIIRC there was a Danish element to the family, but can't recall the details. FWIW I didn't dislike the wines, but also wasn't excited by them.

Borgogno a winery whose older wines could be found for a decent price (unless they'd been through reconditioning, as the re-release prices were a lot more), and we've had good 1961 and 1971 riservas. Now under the ownership of the owner of Eataly I believe.

Great that you got some walking in - it really is superb here, whether through vineyards, hazelnut groves, pockets of woodland or just down old tracks.

Some lovely hospitality comes through strongly in your experiences :)
 
Ian, The Timorasso was very nice. Borgogno has a special bottling that sells for over a hundred euros They are owned by the owner of Eatitaly. Hospitality was amazing.
 

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