Piedmont is a food and wine lover’s paradise and one of our favorite regions of Italy. While not as accessible as California wine country, it’s much more rewarding.
The hills of the Langhe are dotted with medieval towns and lined with a patchwork of vineyards. On a clear day, you can see the snow-capped Alps in the distance. The food is rich – predominantly made with butter, pasta, game, and truffles.
We recently visited Piedmont with Ceri Smith, 2014 Food & Wine Sommelier of the Year and owner of Biondivino Wine Boutique in San Francisco. Our focus was on traditional, small production wineries that make Barolo in a classic, elegant style. While you may not have seen these wines in your local wine shop or on your favorite restaurant wine lists, they are well worth seeking out. Once you try them, you’ll become a collector.
We’ve had so many requests to craft culinary trips, that we’re now opening a waitlist for 2019. Click here to join the waitlist to travel with The Taste, Ceri, and Alfio where you’ll have an experience of a lifetime.
How to Get There
Fly into Milan or Torino and rent a car. You’ll need a car to get around the hilly countryside. The Langhe area is just two hours from Milan and one hour from Torino.
Where to Stay
There are quite a few hotels and agriturismos in every price range in the Barolo region. We chose to stay in an apartment in the village of Barolo, which is a charming town with several good restaurants and enotecas. It’s centrally located and has easy parking. We would also recommend staying in the hilltop town of La Morra, which has incredible views of the Alps.
Where to Eat
Vinoteca Centro Storico
This is our go-to restaurant in the region. Alessio and Stefania own this enoteca and restaurant which is favorite of local winemakers as well.
The village of Barolo has several restaurants that are highly recommended.
Osteria Rossobarolo has a great selection of Barolo by the glass and an extensive wine list with traditional wines. Their truffles are also some of the best we tried in Piedmont.
La Cantinetta is also highly recommended, and is in a beautiful location near the Barolo castle or try Ristorante Brezza at the winery just on the edge of the town.
Our favorite enoteca in Barolo is La Vite Turchese, which has an amazing selection of wines by the glass, and also an extensive selection of Champagne. It’s the perfect place to stop in for small bites and bubbles before dinner. Try their marinated anchovies with salsa verde and munch on roasted local hazelnuts.
Outside of Barolo, we’d recommend:
- Osteria More e Macine in La Morra, where you’re likely to run into local winemakers at lunch. Try the tajarin with ragu.
- Restaurant Tra Arte E Querce in Monchiero, which is owned by an award-winning truffle hunter.
- La Repubblica di Perno, a tiny restaurant in the beautiful hilltop town of Perno.
- Locanda Cortilletto d’ Alba.
Things to Do
Visit wineries and enotecas to explore the wines of the Barolo region. See our list of favorites below.
This small batch production vermouth and Chinato will change the way you see aperitifs.
Take a tour of an incredible confectionery and taste traditional torrone and chocolate in Asti.
Wineries to Visit
Note: The best Barolo producers are small wineries that have been family-owned for multiple generations. Many are gated. Call or email well in advance of your trip to set an appointment. We are a not aware of any Barolo producer worth visiting that does not require an appointment in advance.
Maria Teresa Mascarello carries on her father’s legacy of crafting elegant wines in a classic style.
Mario Fontana produces organic Dolcetto, Barbera, and Nebbiolo from his family’s estate in Perno.
Consistently topping critics’ lists of the best wines in Italy, Mauro Mascarello’s Barolo Monprivato has achieved legendary status.
Crafting both a Barolo Classico and three single vineyard bottlings, this organic estate also has a lovely guest house and restaurant.
The largest of the wineries we visited and the only to use barriques, Vietti wines are widely available in the United States. Offering numerous single-vineyard Barolos and Barbarescos, their wines are a relatively balanced expression of the modern style, and owners Lucca and Elena are incredibly gracious hosts.
The legendary Cavaliere Lorenzo Accomasso rarely sees visitors at his home in La Morra, but if you can get in, a visit here is a must (preferably with an Italian-speaking friend). Accomasso wines are experiencing a surge of popularity, especially in Europe and Asia, so if you see a bottle, buy it. It may be the last chance you get.
Fabio Alessandria, great-great grandson of the legendary GB Burlotto carries on the family’s classical winemaking tradition at this gorgeous estate in Verduno. Burlotto’s magnum opus is the Monvigliero, a complex Barolo with mesmerizing notes of black olive.
This small production winery in the heart of Serralunga d’Alba, just a short walk from the castle and Vinoteca Centro Storico.
A hot winemaker crafting the coolest wines. Need we say more?
Long considered the finest expression of Barolo, don’t let the sleek, modern winery fool you. Winemaker Roberto Conterno continues his family’s legacy of crafting wines in the traditional style, without compromise.
Longtime friend of Bartolo Mascarello, Beppe Rinaldi’s wines achieved legendary status and are a favorite of collectors. His strong and talented daughters, Marta and Carlotta, continue the legacy of traditionally crafted Barolo.
One of Barolo’s rising stars, Elio Sandri’s organic Barolos showcase the power and elegance of the Nebbiolo grape.
A Day in Barbaresco Region
The neighboring region of Barbaresco also produces beautiful wines. We highly recommend a visit to the The Produttori del Barbaresco. It’s the perfect place to get an education on the Barbaresco region, as well as purchase beautiful affordable wines. Make an appointment to visit the famous Romano Levi grappa producer, and have dinner at Ristorante Bandini in Asti. We have a few other secret winemakers we love (like our friend Fabio Gea), but you’ll have to travel with us to get the full experience.