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Andy's Journal Entry #7

Saturday, 08 June 2024 12:35
Andy's Journal Entry #7
In the morning, we left the lovely Hotel Calissano, which incidentally, I couldn’t stop singing the name to the tune of Hotel California, and would continue to do so for the entire day and the next morning, and left for Barolo. So, I should mention, Nebbiolo, the grape of Barolo and Barbaresco, is probably my favorite grape varietal, and the wines grown here are my favorite expression of it. It has the delicacy of Pinot Noir, the power of Cabernet Sauvignon and is one of the most versatile food pairing wines in the world in my opinion. 
I have read so much about Barolo and Barbaresco, studied maps of single vineyards, read about the culture, the unique language they have there, the climate, the food. Basically I have been a huge Piemontese nerd for over 20 years and the idea of actually getting to go there has got to be up there with, I don’t know, a literature dork getting to go visit Narnia or Lothlorien or a movie geek getting to visit the Mos Eisley Cantina on Tatooine or something. In other words, the idea of setting foot in the actual vineyards that I have read about for decades seemed so exciting and surreal.
We started our day at the urban winery of Enrico Serafino, which was located in the Alte Langhe, to the North East of Barolo proper. To make Barolo, you have to have a winery located within the DOCG area, although Enrico Serafino has been making Barolo for over a hundred years and they are grandfathered in. The manager of Enrico Serafino, Nico, greeted us at the entrance. He was sharply dressed in a wine-colored paisley suit, a suit that only an upper-class Italian could pull off, smoking the end of a small cigar. He escorted us through his winery, showing us the old tunnels under the building.
Afterwards we gathered in his office for the wine tasting, a recent Wine Spectator magazine was opened to a photo of him sniffing a glass of sparkling wine. 
As we drove through the hilly landscape of Barolo, I was surprised when our tour guide Kristen, announced that we weren’t going to the Vietti winery initially, we were going to meet the winemaker and export manager in the hilltop town of Diano D’Alba. We departed our bus and walked up, up, up, eventually getting to a small park at the very highest point of the town, we were literally eye level with the belltower which rose above the huge cathedral in the town.
The winemaker Eugenio and Urs, the export manager greeted us with wine glasses and began to explain the landscape of the Barolo region that spanned around us. They pointed out each of the small cru’s of Barolo while we tasted wine from those small vineyard areas. They pointed out the terroir differences of each area; the closeness to the river, the sandy soil here, the wind from the Alps flowing unobstructed through this area, while we tasted the wines which were made from the grapes in each tiny vineyard. It was an absolutely incredible thing to see the small little square patch of green, sometimes they were about a dozen rows of grapes or so, and to try the wine made from it. It was hard to believe that such a small patch of grape vines could even produce a bottle of wine at all! This was hands down the best wine tasting I have ever had in my life, and I think I’ve probably already said that in my previous journal entries.
After this unbelievable tasting, we went to tour the winery of Vietti in the Medieval town of Castiglione Falletto. We walked through the ancient tunnels and cellars under the building and tasted the rest of the wines that they make. Their Barolo’s were excellent, of course, but they make serious, ageable Barbera as well! After the tasting we had another multi course meal, accompanied by Vietti’s wines. The Timorasso was very good, but extremely difficult to get, and we had the opportunity to taste some extremely old Barbera and Barolo’s that evening. The meal was excellent and the wines, outstanding.
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