For anyone who knows me, I’m keen on my wine. I’ve managed to go tasting in a few difference regions and countries now.
Helped along by my partners enthusiasm for a glass of Red. We’ve taken a few more trips together recently. This was our first experience in Italy and it is slightly different to a NZ or US wine tasting experience. So here are a few things we picked up along the way.
We were lucky enough to spend 3 days in the Piedmont region. Basing ourselves in Alba for a central location to the other small towns scattered around us. We were with family who managed to scope out the do’s and don’t a couple of days earlier.
Where To Go For A Tasting.
So if like us, your used to wine tasting in the wineries themselves. In Italy this is a little different as they utilise the Wine Shops in the towns themselves. These are marked as Enoteca’s or Wine Shop if theres an English translation. Not all enoteca’s will provide tastings or be able to serve you straight away, so best to either call in advance to guarantee a tasting.
Price Of Tasting Wines
This can vary depending on the Enoteca. We had free tastings in one and 2-5EUR a glass in others. If you have to pay it’s usually well marked, if your unsure most people spoke enough English to let you know if it’s free or not. It’s worth noting if it is free you’re expected to grab a bottle of something.
How To Travel Around The Region?
We hired a car to make it easy, which to be honest is your only option. There are local buses but you would need to find out if they would run with the times you wanted to travel. There are no taxi’s and from what we saw, no tour companies either. You can book a driver to take you around for the day and they will tailor a trip around what you would like to do. This is a much more expensive option so if you’re looking to save some money, I’d recommend no initing a designated driver and hiring a car to drive between towns.
In total we visited 4 of the towns and of course, sampled wines in each.
We spent the best part of a day here, taking two tastings at two Enoteca’s. Its the largest of the towns we visited so provided a good variety of food options to go with your day of wine.
We didn’t book into any Enoteca here but did get turned away form one which was highly rated. I also found a bottle with my name on it! (See pic).
This smaller town hosts a beautiful tower at the end of some windy streets. For 5EUR you can visit the top for some stunning views of the Peidmont region.
But on to the tastings, we could taste 4 wines that were available. All local and the staff are more than happy to talk you through each.
I wish we could have stopped in this little town, however we only drove through it for our only winery experience in the Piedmont region, a lunch at Azienda agricola Gian Piero Marrone. This family run and owned winery hosted some spectacular views of the region from their rooftop, which doubles as a venue to host larger groups. The lunch was 31EUR a head, a 6 course wine and food match. We were thoroughly stuffed at the end of it and loved all of their wines. We did have to pass on the Grappa at the end, I don’t think any winery could make me love Grappa!
Our central base. We actually didn’t do any tastings here but did of course drink some wine. One place I do one to mention is an amazing little trattoria. With an extensive wine list and genuine hosts, they made us feel extremely welcome. Almost part of the family of locals sitting around us. Being obvious tourists and fairly new to Italy, we didn’t really know what we were doing so our host ordered for us. For me, this added to the magic of the place as we tried a few dishes I wouldn’t have typically order and loved them all!
If your sold and looking for a great place to eat in Alba, I’d say this is truely local experience and a really fun evening. The food? You eat what ever the chefs is cooking that night with no menu. To get a table at the Osteria dei Sognatori we had to wait about 40 minutes on a Tuesday night. They do take bookings but if like us you stumble in expecting to eat. I’d recommend putting your name on a table and scooting over to the wine bar across the street.
Over the 3 days we managed to try a bunch of different wines and eat some great food surrounded by locals. By the way, truffles and hazelnuts are the go to’s for this area. I’ll be sure to keep a look out for a good Barollo in New Zealand.