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Barolo

Piedmont is a special place, deserving of at least a few days.  Close to the French border, you’ll find an area with a rich and diverse array of wines, food and of course truffles.  Now, you’ll find this in the rest of Italy of course, but there is something about Piedmont which feels special.

On this visit we stayed in Gavi at Villa Sparina.  Set amongst the vines this hotel is tricky to find but well worth it once you get there. This is a historic building with a fabulous restaurant.  It was magical having dinner with breathtaking views across a sloping sea of vines. They also produce the best Gavi in the area.

Villa Sparina
Restaurant at Villa Sparina

On our first day I booked a full day tour with Matteo from Langaround Wine Tours.   He created a custom tour of a truffle hunt followed by lunch and then tastings in Barolo and Barbaresco.  

Doing a truffle hunt in the forest in Alba was such a highlight.  We went with the truffle hunter, his dog and a friend who happened to be a translator.  It felt so authentic and we learned about the types of truffles (in this case black or summer truffles), and the lifestyle of the truffle hunters. The truffle dog was in good form and uncovered several truffles during our walk in the forest.  

Truffle hunter, Alba
Brava! The truffle dog is pleased with his achievements
Thumbs up from the truffle hunter

We stopped at a tiny village for lunch, then it was on to Marcarini in La Morra and Ca’ del Baio in Treiso.   It was a treat to taste so many Barolos at Macarini and our host was just excellent at explaining the wines.  We learned about Barbaresco during our visit to Ca’del Baio which was a great contrast.   These tastings really showed us how versatile the nebbiolo grape is.  I am especially fond of the (easier on your wallet) Dolcetto, which is a new favorite!

 We ended up taking a truffle back to the hotel and it was such a treat to have them serve it on our pasta.  Piedmont is not only just beautiful with all the sloping vineyards, and many hilltop towns, but the wines are just outstanding.

Summer black truffle from the hunt
Leaving Gavi

Mindy Joyce