Tasting My Way Through Langhe-Roero

When I booked a two-week trip to Italy, I didn't have any plans beyond a few days in Florence and Tuscany with friends. But I knew two things: 1. That I wanted to renew my love of wine and 2. That I needed to do a lot of research before I decided on a destination. So many choices!

After researching, I decided on Piedmont. It's a famous region but it isn't overrun by tourists. It's also ideal for a solo trip because it's safe and accessible. (I was by myself for the first week of my journey.) I also decided to base out of Alba, which is in the Langhe area of Piedmont. With those choices made, my next task was to figure out how to tour wineries and vineyards without a car. I have driven in both Italy and France before but didn't feel like renting a car this time.

Thankfully my friend Patty over at The Road to Wine is always good for a recommendation! She connected me with Anna and Claudio at Italianna Food & Wine Tours. They put together an amazing two days in the regions of Roero, Barolo, and Barbaresco for a small group of us to learn about their wines. To say that I highly recommend them is an extreme understatement! If you're interested in unique experiences and high quality wines, they are the folks for you!!

Here are the awesome wineries and vineyards we visited, as well as my favorite wine from each! Have you tried any wines from these winemakers?
Click here for a primer on the wines of Piedmont!  
Morra Gabriele Barbaresco

Cantina Morra Gabriele
To kick things off, we traveled out to Pocapaglia in Roero to taste among the vines. I'm really not one for the outdoors but standing on top of a hill with 360-degree views of vines was truly magical. While the Morra family has been growing wine grapes for generations, it wasn't until recently that Gabriele and Stefano started making their own wines. Now they both juggle full-time jobs in addition to being one of the smallest producers of Barbaresco. I'm truly looking forward to watching their winemaking evolve.

Favorite Morra Gabriele wine: 2016 Barbaresco. Their Barbaresco is an outstanding example of what is to come from these new-ish winemakers. It is rich, floral, and perfumed. I brought a bottle home and can't wait to open it in a few years.

Winemaker Gabriele Testa

Azienda Agricola Bajaj
Next we ventured to Monteu Roero surrounded by the "rocche" or sandy cliffs. You can learn about Bajaj by reading my article on Adriano Moretti on The Vintner Project.

Favorite Bajaj wine: Unreleased skin-contact Arneis. It will be released soon under the "Prometheus" label. We tasted it from a pitcher that Adriano pulled from the aging vessel. It was rich, fruity, and high in acidity. There was a touch of nutty oxidation but not too much to overwhelm the other flavors. Probably one of the best skin-contact/orange wines I've ever had!

Skin-contact Arneis at Bajaj

Azienda Agricola Matteo Correggia
Walking into the Matteo Correggia winery, you can feel the layers of emotions. Today Ornella Costa Correggia and her children Giovanni and Brigitta run the winery but it wasn't long ago that the late Matteo was at the helm. His presence is still felt in the wines, particularly the Langhe Sauvignon bearing his name. He was known for innovation, a legacy that the family continues today.

Favorite Matteo Correggia wine: 2014 Roche d'Ampsej Roero Riserva. While the Langhe Sauvignon is very special, it is hard to compete with the Roche d'Ampsej. It is of course 100% Nebbiolo and showcases everything good about Roero Nebbiolo. It's rich and complex with notes of cherries, roses, oak, and leather.

Matteo Correggia Langhe Sauvignon

Azienda Agricola Ca' Del Baio
Driving up to Ca' Del Baio, the region was covered in the famous fog that gave Nebbiolo its name. A very fitting kick-off to day 2! At this winery we enjoyed touring their space and then tasting four of their Barbarescos (among other wines). Yum, Barbaresco for breakfast! Talk about starting on a high note.

Favorite Ca' Del Baio wine: 2016 Autinbej Barbaresco. At Ca' Del Baio we tasted many Barbarescos, including their newest cuvee Autinbej. While traditional in style, I found this one to be more approachable than most young Nebbiolo. Still tannic (which I do like) but it was also warm and rich.

Barbaresco for breakfast at Ca' Del Baio

Azienda Agricola Mauro Molino
As much as I love Roero and Barbaresco, it was time for some Barolo! Thankfully Mauro Molino did not disappoint. With its bright pink exterior, this is the prettiest winery I've ever been to! And the wines are fantastic, too. Their terrace overlooks the beautiful Bricco Luciano vineyard, which is said to convey the elegance of Barolo. We also enjoyed a wonderful Chardonnay here.

Favorite Mauro Molino wine: 2015 Bricco Luciano Barolo. I brought my parents back a bottle of Bricco Luciano—fingers crossed my dad can wait a few years to open it. It is extremely floral and tannic, and like all good Barolo needs time to rest before it reaches its peak enjoyment window.

Mauro Molino winery

Azienda Agricola Pira Luigi
Sometimes it's hard to pick a favorite. And sometimes it's not. I've loved many Barolos, but Pira's wowed me beyond measure. This is no small feat!! Their wines are so evenly balanced and have layers upon layers of complex flavors. I'm so thankful to have had the opportunity to taste their wines next to each other, and highly recommend trying them if you find them. (To be fair, I recommend the wines of ALL the wineries I visited!)

Favorite Pira wine: 2015 Serralunga Barolo. If you love classic Barolo for under $50 (you can find this in the States), here is your wine. With notes of black cherries, cranberries, leather, dust, and cinnamon and high acidity and tannins, I just can't imagine something better at this price point! I gave a bottle of this to my sister and brother-in-law and I'll be buying another for myself.

Next check out: Something Special at Bajaj