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Visiting Piemonte

Visiting Piemonte in Autumn is a wonderful thing for wine and food enthusiasts and was for me at last October. The reasons are quite simple;

Impressive views of rolling hills painted to all colors of Autumn, winery visit that can give opportunity to meet their winemakers in cosy environment, white truffle festival during October and November, relatively lower priced fine wines compare with Bordeaux and Burgundy’s and all combined with superb local food.

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WINERIES WORTH TO VISIT

We visited to several wineries in Barolo and Barbaresco and among them these are my favorites;

Marchesi di Gresy
One of the famous Barbaresco producer with consistent quality, that their cellar door is always busy at weekends and located in beautiful villa surrounded with vineyards. There is an attentive service that provides good selection of their wines and winery tour but the appointment has to be taken in advance.

Paolo Scavino
This is family owned winery provides informative winery tour and tasting. We were lucky to meet with the wine-maker.

Fratelli Revello
They produce one of the most elegant wines of La Morra and very well-priced.

Ceretto
They have a spaceship-like cellar-door and a bit touristically approach for wine enthusiasts but it’s worth to visit for their wines and the view.

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For more information about winery visits, please click here .

WHITE TRUFFLE MARKET

White Truffle Market is one of the most interesting markets for food lovers to buy them at lower prices and learn how to chose them.

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Tips for choosing them;

– Check by hand and don’t buy if it is soft, because truffle is basically a kind of mushroom and should be consumed in a week after hunting, soft texture indicates it gets older and already lost some of its aromas.

– Smell and chose intensely aromatic one.

– Don’t buy bigger one if it will be consumed at home, because small quantities are enough to give powerful aromas to dishes. Bigger ones are more expensive and not possible to consume in short period time.

When you speak with sellers you may get more tips about it. When we bought ours, we took Tajarin plates from the food stand in the Market and they made our truffle sliced on them and we consumed some of them immediately with a glass of Roero Arneis.
And other mushrooms, candied truffles, truffle pastes, local cheeses and fresh pastas can be found there.

FOOD

For good food, there are infinite options as in quantity and style. Our favorites were;

La Libera
La Libera is young face of Piemonte food. The food is Piemontese with contemporary touch and prepared from local high quality ingredients, served in sleek ambiance very attentively.

For more information, please click here .

Il Falstaff
It’s located in Verduno Town that is 20km far from Alba Town. They have traditional specialities mostly with truffles and it was the best dinner in Piemonte for me.

Some of the dishes we had were:

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Fish served with warm Tomato and Potato Purée

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Warm Cardo ( Thistle ) pie with Black Truffle

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Tagliatelle with Black Truffles

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Tagliatelle with White Truffles

Villa d’Amelia
Villa D’Amelie is a Small Luxury Hotel in Benevello. It’s a nice building with wonderful view. The Restaurant has one Michlen star. Delicious food, smooth service, well-priced extensive wine list. It would be chosen for special events for dining and staying.

Dining at Enoclub in Alba Town is a good option. We went there without reservation for lunch and there was long queue for tables in front of the door but it’s also possible to eat at the bar that we did. It’s fun to see how they prepare or slice the Parma Ham in front of your plate.

Local specialty Carne Cruda is not to be missed, especially if you like Beef Tartar. Carne Cruda can be found almost in all menus.

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ACCOMODATION

There are plenty of options; agroturismo, historical villas, hotels…

But we stayed in a self-catering room in Alba Town considering cool weather conditions on October; Casa Bona. It’s budget and gives opportunity to cook with local ingredients bought from Truffle Market as well.

Fine wine, good food, the Nature and wonderful people; Piemonte !!!

Piemonte in October, Day 1 ( 26/10/2012 )

It’s our first morning in Piemonte, cool and rainy one. Lots to do, we would like to enjoy picturesque views of the nature and Medieval villages as well as seasonal local foods ( especially after we had a wonderful dinner at La Libera yesterday evening, we are more curious about food! ) and the wines of the region. But today, our priority is wine! cause most of the wineries are closed on weekends. Our appointments are done in advance.

The first one is Paolo Scavino in Castiglione Falletto, 20 min. to Alba. Although our car navigator fails to show there – as it happens often at rural areas – we could arrived the winery on time by helping our mobile phone maps and luck.

First we take winery tour that;

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We see rotofermenters, are used for alcoholic fermentation and maceration at the same time for their Barolos.

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French Oak barrels for ageing and also malolactic fermentation takes place in them. Ageing takes 24 months; 12 months in barrels and additional 12 months in casks. As the quality of wine in all individual barrels are observed during the ageing period, so lesser qualities can be eliminated.

In vineyard they apply organic and biodynamic applications including harvesting their grapes according to the moon calendar.

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Tasting them;

  • 2011 Paolo Scavino Langhe Bianco

  • It’s a blend of Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and Viognier. Fruity and refreshing style. Intense aromas of apricot and peach with good acidity.

  • 2011 Barbera D’Alba

  • Deep crimson. Cherry pie and cheesy notes. Medium tannin and acidity. Long.

  • 2008 Barolo

  • It’s a blend of 3 regions; Barolo, Castiglione Di Falleto and La Morra. After tasting Barbera, it’s distinctively deep and complex. Aromas of red berries, licorice, chocolate with delicate floral notes.

  • 2008 Bricco Ambrogio

  • From Roddi. Brown sugar, cherry and floral notes. Long mineral and medicinal ending.

  • 2008 Monvigliero

  • From Verduno. More delicate. Floral with white chocolate notes.

  • 2008 Bric del Fiasc

  • From Castiglione Falleto. Intenser than Monvigliero on the nose. Complex aromas of licorice, brown sugar, chocolate with earthy and fleshy edges.

    At the end of the tasting we are lucky enough to meet with Mr. Enrico Scavino, who is the owner and wine maker of Scavino wines. Scavino wines offer a knowledgable and sincere tasting atmosphere.

    Now we are on the way of La Morra, 10 min. to Scavino Wines. Before Osteria Veglia, the view is wonderful, so taking some photos;

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    We are at La Morra town. Unfortunately the view is not clear at the Piazzo Castello because of heavy rain. So we choose one of the wine bars for lunch, Viniera S.Giorgio on Via Umberto.

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    We order “Tajarin” ( homemade pasta prepared with lots of eggs) which is a local dish can be found widely in the region and their Barbaresco option served by the glass.

    Our second tasting appointment will be at Fratelli Revello at 2pm. Revellos produce La Morra wines that are elegant and perfumed style of fine Barolo. The style is result of its Calcareous-Marl soil type that is same in Barolo Docg as well, whereas less fertile and Sand-Limestone soil combination of Castiglione Falletto Docg, Mondorte d’Alba Docg and Seralunga d’Alba Docg produce beefier, more tannic and structured wines that are less approachable when young but have more aging capacity.

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    1999 Fratelli Revello Barolo was one of my random purchase at the free-shop of Ataturk Airport in Istanbul and was one of the best wines I’ve ever had up to then. So we are at their panoramic wine tasting room.

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  • Fratelli Revello Barolo 2008
  • Long with red fruit aromas and floral notes.

  • Fratelli Revello Barolo Gattera 2008
  • Sweeter on the nose. Carnation flavours are already perceivable.

  • Fratelli Revello Barolo Giachini 2008
  • Elegant with aromas of sweet red fruits, leather and Autumnal notes.

  • Fratelli Revello Barolo Conca 2008
  • More powerful expression of Barolo with coffee and meaty aromas. 2007 is Intenser and sweeter on the nose with smokey fruits. 2006 is less approachable and has aromas of sage, cherry and strawberry.

  • Fratelli Revello Barolo Rocche dell’Annunziata 2008
  • Intence and delicate fruit is very well integrated with high tannin and acidity. Perfumed and already focused.

    Gattera is the only one aged in Slovenian oak and represents more traditional ageing approach. The others are more modernists and aged in French oak barrrels for 24 months.

    We are leaving there with pleasure of tasting their fine wines.

    It’s time to turn back to Alba for having some rest and be ready for having a local food experience at Il Falstaff !

    Vineyard Trip to Barbare Wines!

    A boutique wine producer located on the north-west coast of Marmara sea, Barbare Wines took attention of wine lovers by producing first ( and still only ) Southern Rhône style red blends in Turkey.

    Firstly, 2009 Barbare Syrah & Grenache & Mourvèdre took place in the market and was appreciated well for its complexity, finesse and balance. Followed by a Châteauneuf-du-Pape blend, 2009 Barbare Elegance is my favorite in their premium selection.

    So, we thought it was nice timing to visit the vineyard before harvest!

    We met in Taksim square with Tulin Bozuyuk, General Menager of Barbare wines and other wine lovers. It takes nearly 2 and half hour to The Vineyard from Istanbul that we kept on good company together about food, wine as well as Turkish policy and social life at their comfortable shuttle.

    The location is quite intriguing that between two big water; Black sea and Marmara sea near to Tekirdag with a delighted view ;906.jpg” class=”alignnone size-full” />

    20120902-170153.jpgAfter we had our welcoming drinks, 2011 Rosé Cabernet Sauvignon & Mourvèdre we started informative touring the Vinery that we learn ;

    – After alcoholic and malolactic fermentation of the grapes, resulted wines of varietals are aged in mainly French oak except from Grenache wines.

    – They use only high quality medium or light toasted Allier and Nevers as French Oak barrel,

    – Their wine-making philosophy is minimum intervention in Vinery,

    – No carbonic maseration process for any grape varietal,

    – They produce their premium level wines to be benefited with bottle-age.

    And tasting at the Vinery Cellar;

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    – Firstly, we tasted without oak sample of red Rhône blend,
    – After that barrel sample,
    – Finally 2009 Syrah & Grenache & Mourvèdre.

    It was quite surprising and informative tasting experience to understand how barrel ageing process can effect the aroma and texture of the wines.

    Than at the vineyard we noticed perfect application of VSP Cordon-trained, Spur-pruned healthy vines and tasted their berries. And also noticed different skin thickness of red grape varieties especially between Grenache ( was obviously thinner ) with Syrah, Cabernet Souvignon, Merlot and Mourvèdre.

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    – Tulin Bozuyuk states that they have 23 ha total vineyard area and are happy with that size. Instead of extending the vineyard area their aim to apply biodynamic and sustainable viticulture efficiently.

    Vineyard area divided to 17 parcels according to sun exposure, drainage, soil type etc.

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    – Viticulture is organic and certified by ECOCERT,

    – Effective Yield Controlling, restricted to 350kg/decare ( ~ < 35hl/ha ),

    – No irrigation with exception of Merlot parcels have drip-irrigation system only for excessive drought conditions,

    – Sea breezes protect the vineyards to humidity in growing season and related vine diseases, also has warming effect against to frost,

    – Attentive vineyard and vinification activities are checked by Xavier Vignon during his monthly visits.

    After the vineyard tour, time to barbecue! with local speciality Tekirdag Kofte;

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    Tender vine leaf wrap ( vine leafs from vineyard );

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    And we tasted almost all of their wonderfully distinctive wines 🙂

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    Thanks to Tulin Bozuyuk and Barbare Wines Team for such a lovely day!!!

    Cape Town Notes 3

    In order to taste famous sweet muscat of SA, the wine that Napoleon begged for while in exile, first we visited to Klein Constantia Estate .

    After tasting the wines we had Winery tour and we have seen;

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    Winery,

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    Old Cellar

    Than we coincided desteming of harvested Sauvignon Blanc;

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    Than we drove to most beautiful wine estate of Constatia; Buitenverwachting !

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    Estate has gardens with ancient trees and houses like wedding cakes;

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    And we had wonderful picnic under trees,

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    With Husseys Vlei Sauvignon Blanc 2011 which was our favorite in the tasting.

    After that we visited Steenberg Vineyards which has probably most Modern buildings in Constantia.

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    The Bar

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    The Restaurant

    And we did our wine tasting, bought our favorite; Magna Carta 2009 (60% SB – 40% Semillon) for pairing to our self-catering at the evening.

    The day after in early morning we leaving Constantia and we took a flight to George.

    To be continue…

    Cape Town Notes 2

    Today we came to Constantia and check-in to our self-catering cottage;
    Ikhaya Safari Lodfe

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    We drop off our luggages and we immediately visited to Monumental Wine estate of Cape, Groot Constantia;

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    Manor House at Groot Constantia

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    Wine tasting at Groot Constantia

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    Vineyards

    Than we drove to The Cape Point Vineyards to taste one of the most terroirist white wines of Cape;

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    Than we drove to southern edge of the Continent, The Cape of Good Hope;

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    While returning to Constantia, we gave a stop at Boulders to see the Penguins;

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    And finally we turned back to Constantia, did some shopping for our own self-catering at the cottage.