Monday, May 28, 2018

Into Piemonte Wine Country

Two years ago this fall, I was looking around for something to focus on, something to do after Mark's death. I had always had a mild interest in wine, so I signed up to attend a Lifelong Learning class on Italian white wines being offered through the University of Utah and taught by Salt Lake City resident and wine educator, Sheral Schowe. 

While at that class, I discovered that Sheral would be starting an eight-week course offered through the international Wine Scholar Guild on Northern Italian wines. I signed up. I completed that course and eventually took the French Wine Scholar course and the course on central and southern Italian wines, but ever since that first course, I've wanted to go to Piemonte (Piedmont) -- the "Burgundy of Italy."

So, here I now am, having arrived yesterday with my group of fellow Salt Lake wine enthusiasts for a week-long stay at the Locanda Marchesi Alfieri in San Martino Alfieri, a winery, B&B and former home of the Marchese di Alfieri. Descendants of the family still live in the "manor house" during the summer but rent out rooms to wine tour groups in the surrounding out-buildings.

Upon our arrival and after a brief tour of the grounds, we plunged right into a tasting in the estate's Orangerie featuring six cheeses from around Piemonte along with various paired Alfieri wines.

Doors leading into the Orangerie

Mandy: Wine Wife #!

Lori: Wine Wife #2

Following the tasting, we were given a tour of Alfieri's cellars, then we headed off to the Barbaresco area for our first winery visit, at Cascina della Rose, founded by Giovanna Rizzolio but run today by her two sons, Riccardo and Davide Sobrino. That was a fun experience as we sampled some of their Barberas and Barbarescos.

Alfieri cellars

Davide and Riccardo Sobrino of Cascina della Rose

A view of the vineyards and village of Barbaresco from Cascina della Rose.

Our day concluded with a marathon meal at a restaurant in Priocca d'Alba, starting with appetizers in the restaurant's cellar. At midnight, we arrived back at the Locanda, and boy was I ready for bed. I went to sleep with the sound of hail cannons firing around the hills in advance of a threatening thunderstorm. This week may end up being more grueling than my bike tour!

(Bob: This one's for you. I finally found a fava bean salad I liked.)

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