Dates: October 7-12
- Wine estates: Marchesi di Barolo, Silvio Grasso, Produttori del Barbaresco, Ceretto, Giacomo Bologna, Villa Sparina
- Truffle fair & Palio degli Asini, a medieval donkey race
- Lunch at an artisan cheese farm in the mountains
- A cooking lesson at the company owners' medieval townhouse.
Day 1: A day at the Rases. After shuttling from the train station to the Langhe hills, we'll devote the day to Alba's medieval festival and truffle fair. The centerpiece is a donkey race, which dates back to Alba's defeat by Asti in 1275. Today the palio is accompanied by a medieval parade, artisan food fair, and truffle market spotlighting Alba's famed white truffles. We'll have time on our own to enjoy the festival and watch the palio. Dinner spotlights the French-influenced cuisine of Piedmont, some of the most elegant in Italy. Includes: (D).
Day 2: We spend the morning with a truffle hunter and his hound. Walking through hazelnut groves, we'll see how these canines are trained to sniff out the precious tubers growing at the roots of trees. Next we delve into the history of Barolo, which is intertwined with the ruling class of Piedmont in the 1800s. We'll have visit the Castle of Barolo, home of French-born Marchesa Guilia Colbert, who first created Barolo wine. In the afternoon, we taste some premium Barolo at two wineries in Barolo's eastern communes: Massolino in Serralunga and either Elio Grasso or Fantino Conterno in Monforte and. Both of these communes (townships) are known for more structured Barolos, rich with tannins for long aging. Dinner will feature local fare like agnolotti (a variation of ravioli), veal with delicate tuna sauce (vitello tonnato), and bread sticks - a piemontese invention. Includes: (B).
Day 3: Mountain Cheese. Our first stop is either at Sandrone, a modernist leader with a devoted following, or else the small family-run winery of Silvio Grasso, which makes a delicious "Super Piedmont" blend as well as single-vineyard Barolos. Lunch then takes us to the high hills, or Alte Langhe, where we'll have a buffet lunch at an artisan cheese farm, feasting on freshly made mountain cheese, salumi, and other regional goodies. In the afternoon, we will spend time in the commune of Dogliani, a brand new DOCG zone where the most structured Dolcetto comes from. We'll visit Pecchinino, a master of this fruity wine. There's free time afterwards to explore the shops of Alba, a lovely medieval city whose storefronts are brimming with local delicacies like truffle butter, chocolate, and chestnut honey. Tonight is dinner on your own at one of Alba's many fine restaurants. Includes: (B), (L).
Day 4: Barbaresco - Barbera. Today we focus on the other B's of Piedmont: Barbaresco and Barbera. We'll start in the town of Barbaresco, visiting either the Produttori del Barbaresco or Marchesi di Gresy. Both make benchmark Barberescos and feature several cru, or single-vineyard Barbareschi. After lunch, we'll head to Barbera territory near Asti and have our afternoon tasting at Braida, the estate of Giacomo Bologna. This was the man who single-handedly revolutionized Barbera, transforming it from a rustic table wine into a wine of great character and finesse. After hearing Barbara's Cindarella story, we'll drive to our second hotel in southeastern Piedmont-the land of Gavi wine. The hotel is on the property of Villa Sparina, the leading producer of Gavi wine. Includes: (B), (D).
Day 5: Gavi Di Gavi. This morning, we'll visit the town of Gavi. Here shop windows proudly display Gavi di Gavi wine, as well as light-as-air almond cookies. We'll visit the 11th C. Fortress of Gavi, which once guarded the salt roads from Genoa to Milan. Then we'll head to the medieval townhouse of Dolce Vita's owners for a fun, hands-on cooking lesson. On the menu: bagna cauda (vegetables with a creamy garlic/anchovy dip), risotto al Gavi, and tiramisu. We'll also raid the cellar for a sampler of Piedmont wines. Afterwards, we'll tour Villa Sparina's estate and 17th C. cellars, followed by a tasting of its award-winning wines. Finally, our farewell dinner is at the hotel's elegant restaurant, which spotlights regional fare and Gavi wines. Includes: (B), (D).
Day 6: Arrivederci. A shuttle to the Arquata Scrivia train station (between Milan & Genoa) and assistance with your travel plans. Includes: (B).
Also see tour packages in:
Europe Italy Local Culture Food & Wine Festival Tours
Email it to a friend:
Click here to email this vacation to a friend
US: , ext: 08242
Outside US, please use a number below and enter the extension "08242" when prompted:
UK: 01865 52 2588
Australia: 08 8121 5884
Note: If unavailable, leave a voicemail for the supplier to call you back.