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Wine tour in Piedmont: itineraries, cellars and routes

Where to go for some wine tasting in Piedmont? Find here all the information about itineraries and cellars!

In 2018 an Italian underdog from Piedmont bested the bigwigs, claiming the N. 1 spot on Wine Enthusiast’s Top 100 list. Out of nowhere, Michele Chiarlo’s Cipressi Nizza DOCG shot past thousands of more prominent wines, including Piedmont’s mighty Nebbiolo brothers, Barolo and Barbaresco, and into the limelight. Overnight, the ‘everyday’ vino da tavola, Barbera, and lesser-known terroir of Monferrato were on the map.

Part of the Piedmont region, Monferrato is characterized by flat plains and low-lying foothills that ascend into steeper terrain approaching the Ligurian Apennines. Cooled by the Alps towering in the distance, warmed by its vicinity to the sea, the region’s resulting continental climate and volcanic soils make it an ideal terroir for growing grapes. In addition to Barbera, Monferrato is home to an array of native clones including Moscato Bianco, Cortese, Ruché, Freisa and Grignolino, as well as a range of international varietals like Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc.

Centuries of winemakers have sculpted Monferrato’s landscape - lining its rolling hills with meticulously precise rows of intersecting vines, carving ancient cellars deep into its tuff soil and painting it with an ever-changing palette of seasonal hues. So harmonious is its panorama, so deep its viticultural roots and so well-preserved are Monferrato’s ancient winemaking traditions, that it was recently designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site along with the adjacent territories of Langhe and Roero.

Tenuta La Court

 
 
 
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Un post condiviso da Michele Chiarlo (@michelechiarlo) in data: 4 Ott 2019 alle ore 3:07 PDT

To begin your wine tasting itinerary in Monferrato, start at the title-holding Michele Chiarlo estate, Tenuta La Court, in Castelnuovo Calcea. Michele Chiarlo’s award-winning wines harken from humble origins: his father, Pietro Chiarlo, got his start in the business washing muslin bags utilized to filter Moscato at a local cantina. In the 1930s, he planted the family’s first vineyards in the hills of Piedmont. The fruits of his labor were later bottled by his son, Michele, who attended winemaking school in Alba and duly followed his father’s advice to “have patience and make sacrifices, but only buy vineyards in important positions”.

Tenuta La Court encompasses twenty beautiful hectares in the heart of Monferrato’s Nizza designation. Not only the site of world-class winemaking, the winery is also an open-air museum where unique art installations dot the landscape with color and whimsy. Take a tour through Art Park La Court and enjoy a tasting of Michele Chiarlo’s “Super Barberas” in addition to other wines in their collection like Gavi and Moscato d’Asti.

Coppo in Canelli

 
 
 
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Un post condiviso da 🚀Kate 🦄 (@_annekatherine_) in data: 2 Nov 2015 alle ore 10:20 PST

Next, head to the UNESCO heralded hills of Canelli, known as the capital of Italian sparkling wine. Stop at Coppo where you can take a tour of the astonishing subterranean cellars, part of Canelli’s vast network of “Underground Cathedrals”. Connected by twisting tunnels which extend for 20 kilometers under the tuff hillsides, the ancient cellars reach depths of up to 130 feet (40 meters). First utilized in the 1800s and then expanded over the next two centuries, their vaulted ceilings, traditional naves, suffused lighting and reflective silence call to mind the spectacular architecture of Italy’s cathedrals (hence the name).

In Coppo’s underground cellar rooms, bottle upon bottle of prestigious wine is stored at a perfectly constant temperature of 12-14 ºC (53-57 ºF). Guided visits twist through the historic passageways past endless racks of Metodo Classico sparkling wine and Barbera which lay in repose before being released to the outside world. Tours are available daily by reservation and start at 20 euro.

Castello di Razzano

 
 
 
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Across the Tanaro River in Basso (Lower) Monferrato, Castello di Razzano rises amidst thirty hectares of vineyards with sweeping panoramic views. Whether you’re partial to bold reds, bright whites, sparkling, aromatic or sweet wines, this gorgeous winery covers all the bases. Visit the tasting room and ArteVino Museum, stay for lunch at its upscale restaurant or, even better, reserve a night or a weekend in one of the castle’s elegant suites on Agriturismo.it. Groups of ten or more can book guided visits to the ArteVino Museum and historic aging cellars, followed by a tasting of five wines paired with local bites.

After a good night’s rest, it’s time to discover another local treasure, Ruchè di Castagnole Monferrato, a ruby red gem still unbeknownst to many. In the 1970s, a parish priest received ten rows of Ruchè as a gift. He was immediately enamored with the wine’s extraordinary bouquet - a dazzling mix of floral aromas, fruity notes and spice – and began encouraging neighboring growers to plant more vines. Since then, the indigenous grape has grown by leaps and bounds, earning the single varietal wine the honor of Italian DOCG status in 2010.

Montalbera winery

 
 
 
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Un post condiviso da Montalbera (@montalbera) in data: 16 Ott 2019 alle ore 1:26 PDT

To learn more about this local jewel, visit Montalbera winery whose spectacular expanse of land encircles the hills straddling Monferrato and Langhe. Vineyards totaling 160 hectares rise and fall amidst hazelnut groves and woodlands, providing a truly breathtaking panoramic view. The Morando family has dedicated 82 acres to the Ruchè grape (60% of their total production), and others to Barbera, Grignolino, Viognier and Nebbiolo, to name a few. At Montalbero you can delve into the history, winemaking process and characteristics of Ruchè as well as other wines. Call in advance to make a reservation any day of the week, or stop by to visit their wine shop.

Braida

 
 
 
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Un post condiviso da Braida di Giacomo Bologna (@braidawines) in data: 31 Lug 2019 alle ore 11:10 PDT

Continue your wine tasting journey by crossing back over the Tanaro River where you can visit the notable family winery, Braida, in Rocchetta Tanaro. Some of the first vineyards planted in Rocchetta were owned by Giuseppe Bologna. His son, Giacomo, bottled their Barbera del Monferrato, “La Monella,” in 1961, going on to win a gold medal at the Douja d’Or National Wine Competition in Asti. Always the innovator, Giacomo then experimented aging Barbera in oak barrels and released Bricco dell’Uccellone, one of Piedmont’s most well-known Barbera wines. Today, his children, Raffaella and Giuseppe, continue Braida’s winemaking tradition with the same passion and eye for innovation. Take a Classic tour which includes a tasting of four wines, or deepen your knowledge of Barbera on a Reserves tour.

Pico Maccario winery

 

 
 
 
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Un post condiviso da Pico Maccario (@picomaccario) in data: 12 Apr 2017 alle ore 11:19 PDT

Top off your itinerary in Monferrato at Pico Maccario winery in Mombaruzzo. A new addition to the wine scene, Pico Maccario was founded in 1997 by brothers Pico and Vitaliano Maccario. Modern winemaking techniques, an extensive wine list, contemporary art and thousands of rose bushes make it a delightful destination to experience Monferrato’s viticultural past come full circle.

Don’t forget to pair all the delicious wine with an authentic meal of local cuisine! Explore our selection of farmhouses with restaurants ready to welcome you in Monferrato. Buon appetito!

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