None planned yet. Recommendations?
We've visited a good few, plus tasted the wines of quite a lot more.
- I'll typically email any that I fancy visiting, and the majority seem to come back within a week. Whilst I write it in Italian, many have English speakers in the family
- There's a good listing of wineries on the langhe, roero (and now also Monferrato) tourist office site, including days they'll take visitors, address & email address, what languages are spoken and if there's a tasting fee. The info isn't always up to date, but is mostly so.
- I believe the tourist office winery visit booking scheme is still running, if that's easier
- Visits typically take 90 minutes plus or minus 15 minutes, taking in the fermentation barrels (and a discussion of vinification methods), then onto the barrel store (Steel, Barriques, Tonneau and large Botti are the ones likely to be mentioned, as well as oak type (typically French or Slavonian)
- If they have a bottling / label line, they'll show you that
- Bottle store of often unlabelled bottles in large bins, awaiting being ready to sell
- Then sitting down in the tasting room, often with some light nibbles and water to help cleanse the palate
- Although we've not visited them, I very much agree with the suggestion of Forteta della Luja
in Loazzolo. They're arguably the leader in DOCG, yet because it's not a high profile region, it's no surprise to hear of a genuine welcome from them to visit. That should also offer an opportunity for some lovely walking and also an appreciation of a village that feels cozily tucked away in the hills
- We loved Treiso as a place to stay and very much as a place to eat, and the village is pleasingly tiny with nothing much there besides a school, 4 good places to eat, a bar/cafe (IIRC), a tabaccheria and (IIRC) a hairdresser and maybe 1-2 more shops. Winery suggestions would be Rizzi
(possibly the best of the trio), Giuseppe Nada
(somewhat fruit forward Barbaresco wines, but notable for an impressively robust Dolcetto), Fratelli Grasso
(good but not stunning wines, but a wonderfully lovely rustic rural setting and friendliness to match, plus the prices, especially for magnums are very modest indeed). There are others, but nothing jumps out from what we've tasted,
- I'm just starting to caution visiting Barbaresco (in a similar way to Barolo) now, as whilst not impacted by mass tourism, there is certainly a growing level of tourism that can lead to standards slipping (and in Barolo, a creeping feeling that the tourists are shaping the place, rather than us fitting into the local culture / landscape). Nonetheless for winery visits, Barbaresco would be my recommendation if you just choose 1 village (it's in the restaurants where I feel standards are starting to slip). A special mention as well for the cosy regional enoteca opposite the Commune building, as it's a lovely setting to rest legs, whilst being able to taste a broad range of wines. A good solid enoteca. So to the wineries: La Ca'Nova
feels a somewhat ramshackled / sprawling setup, but I like rugged / cellaring wines, and they fit that template very well, partly through their vineyards being suited to that style (Montefico/Montestefano). For years they were modestly priced and barely talked about, but in the last 1-2 years a leading US critic has talked them up
. Cellar door prices will I'm sure be very modest still, but maybe a chance to get to know them before prices rise as his followers buy as they are told. Albino Rocca
would be my 'if you only visited one winery' suggestion, as they have a broad range, yet we found them really good across the whole range, making them a superb benchmark / starting point. Included in that are a superb Moscato d'Asti and an equally superb Cortese (the grape of Gavi, but theirs is better than pretty much any Gavi we've tried). Although the excellent Produttori del Barbaresco
have a drop-in tasting room, I'd advise against doing that, as the drop-in experience is rather cold/impersonal. I've heard differing reports of booked tastings, from similarly cold/impersonal to really good. I suspect this is a by-product of their name, that they've already grown tired of the tourists. We've not visited, but do like the wines of the brother of PdB's winemaker (the family name is Vacca - see below), who set up the nearby Cantina del Pino
. Do also grab a moment to look at the Barbaresco tower that features on the PdB labels. Moccagatta
was an interesting tasting, though at the times they were a little too keen on french barrique ageing for our tastes, but may still be worth a try.
Plenty of others to choose from, and I'd always encourage people to take a chance on a winery not talked up (or even mentioned) by the critics, as we've found some gems that way. Sometimes the winery just sits outside the critics' groupthink, other times a new winery emerges when a family member leaves and sets out on their own (as it appears the case with a new winery bearing the Vacca name I noticed).
I hope this is helpful, but feel free to ask for more info / opinion.