With the arrival of Spring, wine country was calling me. You can just lose yourself in the winding roads and always discover something new. This is no Napa Valley, where the wineries are ostentatiously laid out on two main streets. Here, you have to find the houses/wineries, drive up to the gate and ring the doorbell and ask if it is possible to taste.

Driving with no planned destination, one of the first towns we passed through was Dogliani, famous for their Dolcetto. One of my favorite Dolcettos from Dogliani popped into mind. Thanks to the GPS system, but not entirely, we found Chionetti Winery. We pulled into the driveway of what seemed like a big country house where we were lucky to find 3 people out on the driveway. They greeted us with enthusiastic waves like we were old friends. There were no tasting room signs so we hesitantly asked if it was possible to “fare una degustazione”. This sweet old man in his 80’s (86 to be exact) waved us into a sort of dining room where he started opening bottles but was more focused on telling us about his life. One bottle opens, the second bottle opens…he doesn’t talk about the wines while he pours them but talks more about how the wine industry has changed.

91 points Robert Parker

I was falling in love with this man who enchanted us with his words. “Wine needs sediments.. it shouldn’t be too filtered..no chemicals.. there is too much garbage out there”, he said. We talked about how barrique was all a show and how many even try to make a business out of selling “barrique” essences. All of this was an eye-opener to me but made me appreciate his honesty.

What struck me so much was this man’s sincerity and humility. He did not put sommelier’s up on a pedestal but appreciated those who had a natural ability to taste wine. After shooting the breeze on this Saturday afternoon, he kindly gave each of us a bottle of “Briccolero” … the one we liked the best. We couldn’t pass up the opportunity to buy a case of this decently priced yet delicious flavorful Dolcetto. (14.5% alcohol!).

Afterwards, we headed for the tasting room in Castiglione Falletto Castle at the Enoteca Communale where you can taste local wines in the heart of Barolo country. We paid for a Barolo tasting and were served by a fellow American expat who worked there.

But it just didn’t live up to the last experience. To be there at the winery, to see where they bottle and label, to drink a glass of wine at the table with Signor Quinto, the owner of this well-known historic winery is what it really means to “taste”. Being on the territory and learning from the producer himself, gives you priceless insight. Now these bottles of Chionetti will have sentimental value for us and bring us back to that sunny breezy Saturday afternoon in Dogliani with Mr. Quinto Chionetti. This is what it means to drink wine…the experience.

Contact Me!
close slider