Saturday we ventured out to one of Langhe’s most breathtaking towns; La Morra. Besides the spectacular view and famous wines, I LOVE it for the name. It gives me a sense of warmth and reminds me of the Italian word L’AMORE.  We went for two reasons: 1) to house hunt and 2) to wine taste. I think it is more fun to tell you about the 3 different wineries that we visited in La Morra than the houses.

#1- Cascina Ballarin

Our first visit was to this well known but small winery. We were greeted by the owner with a strong handshake and surprisingly joined by a car full of Israeli tourists. Everything was low key, he walked us into the dining room/breakfast room and quickly put out some cheese nibbles.  He offered us tastes from different bottles of Dolcetto, Barbera, Barolo and a few blends. Our favorite wine by far was the Ultimi Grappoli 2007 which was a perfect harmony of the Barbera and Nebbiolo. He was a working man and got straight to the point in his explanations. He believed in dealing directly with the consumers and valued his territory greatly. You might say he was reserved, but was also very interested in hearing our points of view as the consumer, which is appreciable.

#2 Erbaluna-
Just up the road we rushed up to Azienda Agricola Erbaluna which is unique for its care in using bio/organic winemaking methods. We were greeted by one of the brothers who run this family business. A simple and friendly man, Andrea won us over with his smile. It seemed like one of his favorite parts of the mini winery tour was showing us the old dusty wine bottles in the cellar, quickly passing the barrels and tanks. We got right to the tasting where he was very openhanded with descriptions and most of all portions! We started with the first Erbaluna Rosso (sulfite-free) and he was generous with pouring the whole organic range all the way to the Barolo. What an interesting experience to taste certified organic Barolo! However, our favorite was surprisingly the Dolcetto 2009, which happened to be the cheapest at 6,50 €/bottle. Intense bouquet and an incredibly unique exotic fruit burst on the palate. It had a clean delicate finish as well. Andrea, the owner was very relaxed and talkative with us and very open about their organic philosophies. His mother came in with her apron on and stood by his side. They were one of the first organic winemakers, who were thought to be crazy but are now finally being valued.
We already called to say we would be about a half an hour late but Osvaldo kindly accepted our 6 o’clock visit. Then as if it wasn’t bad enough we got lost and drove into the wrong winery with the same last name which cost us another 10 minutes. We basically arrived an hour late, but I was relieved when I saw a nice looking man waving us in. He brought us directly into his house (his tasting room) where I could not help but notice his wife kneading pizza dough right in front of us. We all hit if off so well that we started chatting away with empty glasses for about 30 minutes. Rather than the wine I was waiting for, his wife came over and brought us cheese, salami, and organic bread. In that moment, after a long day of wine tasting, that food was even more tempting than the wine. We finally got to opening a bottle of Barbera. Well balanced and delicate. We had one glass and then got to the Barolo. The Barolo was elegant and gracious just like its maker. Again, the wine took a back seat not because of the quality, which was superb but because of the overwhelming hospitality that the husband, wife, and two children showed us. I tried to get more info about the wine through all of this and found out that their Barolo got 91 points from Parker (his exporter sent it and Osvaldo hardly even knew who it was!). By then the pizzas were done, and we ended up eating dinner there with this splendid family. This is exactly the “real” down to earth experience that I was looking for and we were lucky to meet such an incredibly humble, accommodating family who also happens to make delicious wines!
And then zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz……


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