Spotlight on Barolo, Barbaresco & Barbera
- Enjoy private, sit-down tastings at at Elio Altare, Aldo Contero, Renato Ratti, Marchesi di Gresy, Produttori del Barbaresco, La Spinetta, Braida and more
- See 5 of the 11 communes making up the Barolo DOCG zone
- Visit La Banca del Vino in Pollenzo, a Slow Food project
- Feast on artisan cheese and salumi during a buffet lunch at a cheese farm in the Alte Langhe
- Dine at two wineries (Marchesi di Barolo & Brezza)
A few years ago, the Society of Wine Educators asked us to organize a tour in Piedmont. Something that really focused on the wine, they said, skipping incidentals like cooking lessons, truffle hunts, and food fairs. Something for people who wanted to learn as much as possible about Piedmont’s most important wines, namely Barolo and Barbaresco.
That’s how XTREME PIEDMONT was born. We liked the tour so much that we’ve kept it on our calendar ever since—and even started a comparable trip in Tuscany. Both XTREME tours include an extra tasting or so per day. They also include some hard-to-get-into estates that we visit only on these tours.
So this is our wine-intensive tour featuring marquee names in Barolo, Barbaresco and Barbera. People like Elio Altare, who changed the game in the 1970s and became a mentor to a whole new generation of Barolo winemakers. Like Braida, whose founder, Giacomo Bologna, was the prince who turned Cinderella—aka Barbera—into a world-class wine. Like the Produttori del Barbaresco, a nonprofit wine cooperative that’s unquestionably one of the best in Italy.
Because our focus is the Langhe—that hilly region south of the Tanaro River—we stay in just one hotel the entire time (unlike our other tours, which typically include two). Our base is Alba, a charming city with Roman roots and medieval veneer that’s considered the red-wine and white-truffle capital of Piedmont. Its wine shops alone are a big draw, stocked with older vintages, and its restaurants offer the best of Piedmont’s elegant cuisine.
During XTREME PIEDMONT, you’ll learn about terroir and see the three geologically diverse mountain ridges that run through Barolo’s 11 communes. We’ll get acquainted with the most important historical vineyards like Cannubi, Cerrequio, Brunate, and Martinega and do taste comparisons of cru Barolos and Barbarescos. You’ll hear the debates surrounding traditionalist vs. modernist styles, barrique vs. botte. And you’ll learn about the pioneers and personalities that shaped these wines in the 19th century and the 1970s, and meet some of today’s leading lights. In sum, you’ll get to know Piedmont wine like a pro.