Whilst we’re in the season of Piemonte, with the competition and everything, I thought I’d continue with a kind of Piemonte 101. As we heard from last time, Piemonte’s up in the North West of Italy, in that little bit in between France, Switzerland, and the sea. Directly translated to “the foot of the mountains” it’s where the alps calm down a bit and the hills start.
We’re closing in towards the end of the competition we’re running to give away a Lazenne WineCheck of 12 bottles of amazing Piemontese wines. This week it’s time to highlight the work and wines of our penultimate winemaker, Fabrizio Francone from Neive, whose vineyards are a great place to tour and taste great wines!
Where the bloody hell has the time gone? The wife and I have to drive home next week, back to Blighty and start real life all over again! Time has 100% got away from me since I’ve been here and, as per bloody usual, I’m rushing to do everything I need to do in the last few days. There was no way I could have left here without seeing my mate, Pier.
Given we’ve had my cousin and his family over here this week, I thought 1 or 2 bottles just wouldn’t be enough, so we ended up plumping for 4 different Barbarescos. 2 of them were co-op wines, 1 from a cantina in Neive, and 1 from Gigi Bianco’s in Barbaresco that we picked up during the visit.
I’ve been thinking, since I wrote the first blog this week, about that Sainsbury’s TTD Barbaresco. £8? How the bloody hell do they manage that? I’ve tried it before and thought it was incredible value for money, as have a couple of NWTW’ers over this week. But how do they manage to sell one of the most prestigious wines in Italy for £8 a bottle?
Nebbiolo is the grape that’s used to make Barbaresco. Round here (where I am now in Northern Italy) you can buy Nebbiolo made from outside the DOCG regions of Barbaresco and Barolo, and it tastes pretty good. But for many reasons, it’s just not the same.
Right boys and girls, Ant’s all tucked up back in Blighty, so it’s my turn to take over for a couple of weeks and keep NWTW on tour into the end of August.
For people who like to pop into the supermarket and pick up a bottle or two of wine every now and again, Italian wines will be no stranger to them. There’s the famous idea of Tuscany, the home of the ever-present Chianti. There’s Sicily, whose marketing co-ops have thrust their solid wines onto the £5 a bottle shelves. You think of Pinot Grigio, you might even think of Soave, but until you’ve been introduced to it, very few people think about Piemonte.
Here we are at week 4 already!
So we’ve gone for a couple of new world (roughly speaking that means non-european) wines so far, and one from the old world. We’ve had a couple of whites, and just the one red. So just to even it all up it’s an old world red, and this week I’ve chosen a grape variety called Barbera from Italy.
Barbera as a grape is grown in the north west of Italy in a region called Piemonte. Any of you who know your maps know this is right up in the top left, with Torino as the region’s capital.