When we talk about Italy, we can’t miss pasta and wine by any chance. Also, wine and travel are inseparable in Italy. Many people associate wine tourism with places like Tuscany and Veneto, but we suggest getting to know Barolo and Barbaresco in Langhe, two of Italy’s most renowned, and elusive wines. And, this is the harvest season so Langhe or Piedmont, won’t disappoint you.
Langhe|UNESCO World Heritage Site in Italy:
The Langhe-Roero and Monferrato vineyard landscapes, which we recommend visiting during the harvest season are ideal for a wonderful trip to the heart of Piedmont. It is another extraordinary location that was added by UNESCO to the World Heritage List in 2014. It is a delight for all connoisseurs and gourmets in Italy. The Langhe region was included in the elite list by the stringent UNESCO selectors because of its deeply ingrained wine culture and its landscape that was impacted by human activity.
Why visit Langhe?
The Langhe, located in the center of Piedmont’s wine region in Italy, is the region around Alba that is best known for its Barolo and Barbaresco wines. Alba is a little city that is worth a trip all by itself. Tourists are advised to visit this location because it is ideal for sophisticated palates. The scene that visitors may see here is a “tableau vivant”; the characters are the rows of vineyards and villages distributed throughout the great expanse of the Langhe, Roero, and Monferrato.
- White Truffle “Tartufo Bianco D’Alba”:
We definitely can’t forget to mention Alba’s white truffle, which is celebrated locally in October and November as part of the International Tartufo Bianco d’Alba Festival. When the rare white truffle is in season in the fall and the city hosts the Fiera Internazionale del Tartufo Bianco d’Alba, it’s a spectacular sight. White truffles can be shaved over pasta if you go in October or November, but you can also stroll through the Fiera and sample various local dishes and wines.
Another little-known fact about Alba is that it serves as the global headquarters of Ferrero, the Italian business behind Nutella, the chocolate and hazelnut spread made famous by the Tonda gentile hazelnuts found only in Alba. Walking through Alba’s streets and smelling chocolate is quite common because Ferrero still operates a factory there!
You will appreciate your vacation in the Langhe since it is the birthplace of Barolo, one of the most celebrated wines in the world, made by storied wineries like the Fontanafredda estate, which belonged to the Savoy.
This region is home to stunning and well-preserved castles. For instance, the Grinzane Cavour Castle, which served as Camillo Benso, Count of Cavour home, in the nineteenth century and is now the site of Piedmont’s first regional wine shop, also houses an ethnographic museum devoted to the area’s winemaking heritage.
What to do in Langhe during harvest season?
Each season in Langhe is a highlight, but the harvest season is special. Here is how you can make the most of it.
- Pair food and wines:
You can, of course, drink wine throughout the entire year. However, the cuisine changes in the fall, and you’ll have in your dishes that go well with mature red wines like Barolo and Barbaresco as well as certain young wines like Barbera’s which is quite popular because of its exquisite structure.
Close your eyes and visualize thistle or roasted peppers dipped in “bagna cauda” with a glass of Barolo, and anchovy sauce. Or start with moistening your dry mouth with a Barbaresco wine glass with a slice of excellent hard cheese. It’s surely a culinary haven!
- Enjoy Grape Harvest:
One of the most important parts of the wine-making process is the grape harvest. The harvest season in Piedmont normally lasts from August to October, but in addition to the weather, other factors such as the grapes’ level of ripeness, sugar content, acidity, and tannin content can affect when they are ready to be picked. The villages celebrate this time when the grapes are harvested for wine.
Despite the expense, it won’t be wrong if we say that the greatest, or nearly all the wineries prefer hand-picking grapes as opposed to using machines because staff are more skilled at selecting only healthy bunches and are more careful with the grapes.
- Hand-Pick White Truffles:
While white truffle season only begins in the fall, black truffles are nevertheless available throughout the summer. It will be a thrilling experience to search for white truffles in the woods with a seasoned seeker.
- Experience the romantic postcard fog:
Nebbiolo, the primary grape used to make all of Piedmont’s best red wines, is a fruit that originates from the Nebbia, and its actual definition is the Fog.
Also, the fog may transform a steep landscape into a genuinely charming postcard, especially at sunrise.
Langhe Specials| Barolo and Barbaresco:
Wineries in Barbaresco and Barolo often only welcome visitors by appointment, in contrast to wine regions with a stronger focus on hospitality. So, you have to plan your trips far in advance, especially during peak travel times. Since there are only 10,000 to 150,000 bottles produced annually in the Langhe, you should anticipate paying a tasting price as well. But, some wineries, will waive the fee with a minimum purchase.
A typical winery visit in Barolo lasts 1.5 to 3 hours and includes a cellar tour and prolonged tasting. Each visit is distinct, showing various facets of wine culture that have been passed down from generation to generation over time.
Tips for enjoying a wine tour:
- To have enough time to roam about the rural area, it is preferable to schedule no more than two visits every day.
- Try to plan some breaks so your palette isn’t shot early on in the journey because the tannic, complex Nebbiolo wines are what draw people to the region.
- Fortunately, Piedmont produces a lot of white and sparkling wines, which can assist to cleanse the palate. These include white wines from Arneis, Timorasso, Gavi, and Moscato d’Asti as well as Alta Langa Metodo Classico wines.
The winning combination of castles, tranquil settings, and outstanding gastronomy created Langhe a special place, although not all Italians are aware of it.
Looking for an exclusive e food and wine experience in the Langhe? Whether you’re looking to experience the Piedmont Truffle festival 2022 or uncover hidden gems in the Italian culinary scene, Luxo Italia designs custom-made, bespoke Italian itineraries perfectly suited to your needs. Get in touch with us and start planning your next trip to Italy today!