Friday 11 September 2015
Today we are getting serious. Serious about wine that is ….
We are in one of Italy’s premier wine regions but apart from admiring vineyards as we drive around and drinking some local vino we have not done the wine thing. Today is the day to rectify this injustice.
So after another uninspired breakfast we head off. My research tells me there is two ways to get to our first destination – the direct, windy and potentially disastrous route over mountains and through valleys or the longer less confusing way on main roads. After experiencing the windy roads the last two days we opt for the second option.
One the way Stravos takes us on a double loop around the Alba ring road then its a short drive to Castiglione Falletto, home of Vietti – the premium winery of Piedmont. Castiglione Falletto is one of the many hilltop fortified medieval villages of the area. Alas we cannot get into Vietti but we get to look at a wall! There is also a small empty castle on the very highpoint with walls that go straight up into the sky – a testament to the violent past of the area.
Next stop is Barolo, famous for it’s red wine production. Barolo is bigger than Castello Falletto and a definite must on the wine tourist map. There are bus loads of visitors milling around the cafes, wine stores and castle. The castle here is a much more modern, stylish castle and houses a wine museum.
For lunch we are lucky to get a table at Osteria Barolando which specialises in the cuisine of the Langhe (the specific area of Piedmont we are in). I order rabbit casserole and H selects the fillet steak with porcini mushrooms. Tasty but not outstanding.
Jumping back in the car we head out of the Langhe hills, across the valley to Bra. Its 3:00 – 3:30 on a Friday afternoon and everything, and I mean everything is closed. Its like a ghost town with no redeeming features that we can find. We hightail it out of their back to Alba.
H is determined to buy some tartufo tajarin – the super fine pasta of the area laced with truffles. We cruise the main street through the old town checking out our options. We decide on a outrageously expensive pack that is safely stored in a cardboard box (others were in a plastic bag) – essential for transporting the pasta pack to Australia in one piece.
At Plaza Michele Farrero we pick a table at one on the many cafes and order a couple of drinks. Moments after our drinks are served we are also given a selection of nibbles – free. There is cured meats, cheese, pasta, bread and breadsticks. Very civilised.
Later that night we decide to go back to the Spaghettoteca just up the road from our hotel. Older and wiser we order a farmers salad and Spaghetti Carbonara to share with 1/2 litre local white wine. Our second visit in 3 days …. does this make us regulars?