Where did this weekend bring us? BARBARESCO!

With the excuse of officially signing the contract for our lot in La Morra, we once again found ourselves in Langhe. We didn’t want to get mixed up in the fuss of the Fiera del Tartufo (world famous truffle festival in Alba) so we went to visit one of our friends named, “Rino Quello Alto” (That tall guy Rino). He has a small family run winery in Barbaresco called Varaldo.

But before drinking these strong reds in the middle of the afternoon we needed to fill our bellies. We chose a simple little bar and had a sliced meat and cheese platter with local products and a glass of wine. Harvest time, beautiful colors and of course the Truffle Fair, always bring loads of tourists to the area in October. Now, normally I am not such a fan of organized tours, but I was reminded why I think it could be helpful in a place like Piemonte. 

The Piemontese are known to be a bit cold, traditional, and not always so extroverted towards tourists. This is why I firmly believe that the choices you make here require a little guidance in order to get the best all around experience. Imagine the scene: A group of foreigners politely ask for a bottle of lighter typical red wine. The waitress sends them a bottle of 2010 Nebbiolo which in any case can be very tannic (Barbaresco is made from the nebbiolo grape). The table sends it back saying that it was too tart for their tastes. The owners and waitresses go crazy and tell them off in Italian! Apart from the fact that they didn’t speak English, they were downright rude to these tourists who deserved to be taken care of. 

Don’t they know that the customer is always right!? Claudio and I suggested giving the foreigners a small taste from the bottles which were already open for serving by the glass. At least that way they wouldn’t waste another expensive bottle. Completely overreacting, they answered, ” we are by no means  a “tasting room”! These people are just idiots.” 

In some respects, Piemonte is not quite ready for tourism like other parts of Italy, and may never be. However, this did reminded me of why I think I can make my dream come true of scoping out the places with the best quality products and the most pleasant and memorable people behind them here in Piemonte.

Thank god we only had to walk across the street to Varaldo in order to have one of these great experiences. They let us nudge our way into a group of Norwegians who were way ahead of us alcohol-wise in the tasting.

Barrels of wine and laughter filled the tiny basement cellar.

How could you not love Rino the winemaker and his brother the enologist? They make you feel at ease, mixing the order of their bottles and just cracking jokes. I didn’t get too much technical information because we were laughing the whole time at the tourists from NORWAY or NO WAY as they kept calling it.

I loved the laid back atmosphere and appreciate Rino’s philosophy when he told us that, “wine is to be drunk when friends come over, to socialize, to smile and to laugh”. This is exactly what we did!

Not only are these two brothers hilarious, but their wine is outstanding! Barbaresco happens to be my favorite wine and we couldn’t leave empty handed. Our choice was the exquisite vintage 2000. I will be sure to open it with friends in honor of Rino’s philosophy.

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