Land of Barolo, a Wine Tour During Fall Festaoffered by supplier M08242 (read about supplier)
Tour Duration: 6 day(s)
Group Size: 2 - 14 people
Specialty Categories: Food & Wine Festival Tours
Airfare Included: No
Tour Customizable: No
Minimum Per Person Price: 3195 US Dollar (USD)
Maximum Per Person Price: 3195 US Dollar (USD)
This 6-day gourmet wine tour begins on the most festive day of the year in the wine capital of Piedmont, Alba, with a medieval parade, donkey race, and food festival. In addition to daily wine tastings and nightly wine dinners, you’ll lunch at a mountain cheese farm, go into the hazelnuts groves with a truffle hunter and his dog, and visit a castle or two in the scenic Langhe hills, where Barolo and Barbaresco rein.
The second part of the tour focuses on Gavi di Gavi, a white wine in southeast Piedmont. Here you’ll have a fun hands-on cooking lesson in the medieval townhouse of your guide, where you can catch a peek at village life.
2018 dates: October 7-12
Day 1 – A day at the races.
Welcome to our fall Piedmont wine tour! Alba is the white-truffle capital of Piedmont, and every October truffle season kicks off with a medieval festival and artisan food fair. After a pick-up at the Tortona train station, we'll shuttle to our hotel in Alba (1 hour). A welcome lunch introduces Piedmont cuisine, then it's on to the medieval festivities! These include a colorful parade of a thousand costumed locals, followed by the day's centerpiece: the donkey race or palio, a comedy of errors which dates back to Alba's defeat by Asti in 1275. Afterwards, there's time to roam the food & food fair and taste samples of mountain cheese, salumi, wine, chestnut honey, and nougat candy.
Tonight we dine at the Marchesi di Barolo winery and delve into the French-influenced cuisine of Piedmont, such as ravioli del plin, braised veal, and pannacotta.
Day 2 – Barolo and truffles.
Don your walking shoes! This morning we stroll through hazelnut groves with Carlo and Lara, a truffle hunter and his dog, to see how canines are trained to sniff out the precious tubers, which grow beside certain tree roots. Then we'll hop over to the museum in the Castle of Grinzane Cavour. This castle was home to the first Prime Minister of Italy, a Thomas Jefferson-like politician who was also a winemaker—and a key player in Barolo's creation.
After lunch, we'll explore the eastern communes of the Barolo DOCG, where the magnesium-rich soil creates more structured Barolos, rich with tannins. We'll begin at Massolino in Serralunga, then continue south to Monforte for a tasting at either Elio Grasso or Fantino Conterno. All are family-run wineries with top ratings and loyal followings. Dinner features more piemontese fare, such as vitello tonnato (veal with delicate tuna sauce), agnolotti (a variation of ravioli), and bounet (chocolate-amaretti pudding).
Day 3 – Mountain cheese.
One of our favorite Barolo wineries is Silvio Grasso, where the founder's wife, Marilena, always provides a warm, effusive welcome—and a generous tasting, pouring comparisons between their Barolo cru and various vintages.
For lunch, we drive to higher elevations in the Alte Langhe. Too high for grape-growing, this is cheese country. Our buffet lunch is at a Murrazzano cheese farm, where we'll have a tour, then feast on freshly made mountain cheese, salumi, fruit, and light-as-air hazelnut cake. On our way back to Alba, we'll stop at another top Barolo winery, Da Milano, whose wines have consistently offered an exceptional price/value buy. Then it's back to Alba, with free time to explore the shops brimming with truffle oil, chocolate-hazelnut spreads, and aged vintages of wine, or visit the baroque churches. Dinner is on your own in one of Alba's many fine restaurants.
Day 4 – Barbaresco and Barbera D'Asti.
Today as we transfer to Gavi, we'll focus on the other B's of Piedmont: Barbaresco and Barbera. More perfumed, elegant, and supple than Barolo, Barbaresco is considered the "queen" to Barolo's "king." In the eponymous village on the Tanaro, we'll visit one of the largest, most historic Barbaresco producers, Marchesi di Gresy, which makes several cru as well as a rare (and quite good) Piedmont sauvignon blanc. If we're lucky (and we usually are), the cellar master will pop in for a hello and a chat.
After lunch, we'll head to Barbera territory near Asti. Our afternoon tasting spotlights Braida, the estate of Giacomo Bologna, the man who revolutionized Barbera. This is a true Cinderella story, with a humble grape and rustic wine transformed into a polished, powerful red that competes on the international stage. Next, we continue to southeast Piedmont, land of Gavi wine (1 hour drive). Our bucolic 4-star hotel is on the property of Villa Sparina, a leading Gavi di Gavi winery. Dinner is in one of the tiny hilltop villages.
Day 5 – Gavi di Gavi.
This morning we have a cooking lesson—and get to peer inside life in a small Piedmont village. We head to Arquata Scrivia the frazione of Varinella (pop. 200), home of La Dolce Vita’s owners. After a tour of Claudio Bisio’s old stomping grounds and his renovation-in-progress of our medieval townhouse, we’ll have 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 aged Piedmont wines.
After lunch, we visit the town of Gavi for coffee. Here shop windows proudly display Gavi di Gavi wine, fresh ravioli, and soft, puffy almond cookies—a local specialty. But you won’t find a single postcard or touristic t-shirt here. Being off the beaten track, Gavi is an unadulterated, locals-only Piedmont spot. We’ll also visit the Fortress of Gavi, a massive 11th C. fort perched high above the town, which once guarded the salt roads leading from Genoa to Milan. Afterwards, we’ll have a tour and tasting at either Villa Sparina or the boutique Il Poggio. Our farewell dinner is at Villa Sparina’s elegant restaurant, La Gallina.
B, L, D
Day 6 – Buon Viaggio!
A shuttle to the Arquata Scrivia train station (between Milan & Genoa) and assistance with your travel plans. B
Supplemental Tour Information:
Meet Tortona train station (near Milan). Depart Tortona or Asti.
Tour Guide Credentials:
The tour-operator owners are your guide(s), one a native of Piedmont and the other an American wine writer.
10% discount for InfoHub customer. Request a free gift certificate.
Airfare is not included in the tour price.
- 5 nights accommodations (double room) in two 4-star hotels, with breakfast buffet
- 4 gourmet dinners (three courses with wine)
- 3 lunches: welcome lunch, cheese farm, cooking lesson
- All wine tastings mentioned
- Admission to Alba's Palio and the Castle of Grinzane Cavour
- Shuttle at beginning/end of tour, as described
- $350 single room supplement
- Air travel
- 1 dinner on your own & most lunches
- After-dinner drinks, or special wines at tastings that are not part of what is provided to the group
- Items of a personal nature
- Anything not specified as included
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Joined InfoHub: Apr 2000
Founded in 1999 our company is a leading pioneer in Italian wine tours. We’re a boutique tour operator, whose owners—a native Italian and an American wine journalist—personally lead most of the tours. These are small in size—minimum 2, maximum 12—so you’ll feel like you’re traveling with friends. Our...