A morning with Gaia Gaja

The second winery I visited during my summer holiday in Piemonte was as legendary as the first, but just in a different period in history. I was fortunate enough to visit the Gaja winery in Barbaresco and even had Gaia Gaja herself as host for the morning. I was also very happy to be able to visit this winery as normally they don’t open their doors to easily for visits… but if they do open them it is the family itself who shows you around the winery.

For my readers who wouldn’t know Gaja, Gaja is a vineyard that bottle it first wines for sales in the late 1930’s,  the winery itself got found in 1859. But at that time their main focus was on the tavern they had and they wines they produced were served at their own tavern. Their tavern used to be very popular with people who had to cross the Tànaro river . While they were waiting for the boat they all stopped at the Gaja family’s tavern. At this time, with all the money the Gaja family made, they bought pieces of land around their tavern and slowly their focus started to switch to wine making. Someone who understood at quite an early stage they should invest in quality and not quantity (as most wineries at that time would focus on quantity) was Giovanni Gaja ‘s mother. She was also the person to suggest to set high prices to manifest the prestige of the product.

It wasn’t until the arrival of Angelo Gaja (son of Giovanni Gaja) that the winery would write history and lots of vineyards in Italy that would follow him. Angelo Gaja, who besides this Enological degrees (that he obtained at the Institute in Alba and at the University of Montpellier in France), also holds a degree in economics . At his arrival at the family vineyard it wouldn’t take long before the first disputes between Angelo and his father would rise up… basically because Giovanni wanted to stick to traditions and wanted to keep making wines how they used to, Angelo saw it different and wanted to experiment (with respect for tradition) and try new things.  Lucky for us Angelo didn’t care too much about his father’s opinion and continued experimenting 🙂 . A few of the revolutions under Angelo Gaja were the ‘green harvest’ (removal of immature grape bunches, while they are still green induces the vine to put all its energy into developing the remaining grapes), single vineyard production,  introducing malolactic fermentation, use of French barriques, bringing in thermo-controllable fermentation equipment and French grape varieties (carbernet-sauvignon, chardonnay; sauvignon blanc), and eventually grand cru prices.  Angelo was at that time a modernist in a traditional region. In the beginning he got lots of critiques for his ways of working, but soon those critiques would have to take back their words and many other wineries  (even many famous wineries across Italy) would start following Angelo’s way of working, because of the exceptional results. The awards Angelo got with his winery from Wine Spectator and Decanter (to name a few) only made his status become greater!! Their 1985 Barbaresco’s were and are still seen as one of the finest wines of Italy. Next to the Piemonte vineyards they also have vineyards in Tuscany and since recently in Sicily.

Although Angelo is still alive and kicking, today it are his 2 daughters (Gaia and Rossana) and son (Giovanni – he joined last year) that are leading the company. Technically he is retired (he never officalised it 🙂 ), but you’ll still find him almost every day at one of their wineries from early in the morning until late in the evening (I can imagine it is very difficult to leave your baby eventhough you know it is in good hands).  So it is now up to them to continue writing history… after my morning with Gaia I’m sure they have a clear view on the future and know where they are headed 🙂 .

Before I continue I must also say that I find it remarkable that Gaja is probably one of the only wineries I know that doesn’t have a website and that even though they don’t advertise in any way their wine is always almost sold out 🙂 . incredible!

During my visit of the winery I also found out (and I honestly didn’t know it before) a big difference between ‘regions’  Langhe and Roero. From the window at Gaja I saw the two regions get split  the ‘Tànaro’ river. Gaja is at the Langhe side.  At the Langhe side wineries will only cultivate grapes and hazelnuts (that they sell mostly to their neighbor Ferrero). At the other side of the river  (Roero) they cultivate everything, because the soils allows to grow more. I found that fascinating (or maybe I’m just impressed quickly 😉 🙂 )

I must also admit that Gaja has a very beautiful/stylish winery!!

I could lie, but I know you won’t believe me anyway. Eventhough it seemed a bit early to already start tasting wine, one never says no to a tasting of top level wines 🙂 especially in company of a very interesting person like Gaia Gaja.

The lineup for my tasting:  2015 Barbaresco; 2014 Sperss; 1999 Sorì San Lorenzo and a 2010 Alteni di Brassica.

The first wine, the Barbaresco, is the wine it all started with a few generations ago and therefore also very important of the Gaja family. The stress in making this wine for the Gaja family lays in the fact that grapes come from 14 different partials of land that differ in types of soil, etc..  I found the wine extremely complex and refined at the same time… I was told that in 2015 (but I honestly can’t remember it myself after a mild winter temperatures rose in July and August. The vines responded well and that results in an incredible wine full of intense aromas and lovely energetic fruit with hinds crunchy red cherry. On the palate, there is power with a great depth, concentration and density of fruit, with many layers of red cherry, blueberry, red plum and piquant, chalky natural grape tannins (those last ones were only found with a little help 🙂 )

I remember me at some point asking Gaia (not sure if it was with this wine) if their wines are intended to be drunk immediately or if they are best to wrest for a while (because they are known for their ageing potential). She told me that the wines are ready to drunk and do not necessarily need to age. As the moment they decide to bottle their wines and sell them means the wines (according to them) are ready to be drunk..; and when you immediately drink it you taste the wine how the winemakers made the wine and want him to be for you. She did tell me that it does sound like and other marketing trick, but it isn’t. But if one wants to age their wines, no problem… they can age a long long time.

Up to the Barolo aka Sperss (it was noon somewhere in the world). Gaia told me that 2014 was a very wet year and they had a late harvest. She said that at the end of august the grapes weren’t ripe yet. And yet this is one of Gaia’s favorite wines. The reason it is, is because it has great tannins, beautiful color and very rich wine.. all thanks to the Indian summer  after the wet summer. It is a full bodied wine with amazing structure and softness. I mean with that you would think this wine would be much more ‘aggressive’, but it wasn’t. Again the beautiful fruity elements and minerals.

My personal favorite of the wines I tasted was the Langhe Nebbiolo or better their famous Sorì San Lorenzo. At the nose I noticed a woody scent (like when you put out a fireplace) . Like most Gaja wines, the  San Lorenzo is a dark ruby. Deep, powerful, and structured that Finishes with very fine, sweet tannins and outstanding persistence. A wine that only gets better when getting more air. Although it is already a quit older wine, it still has lots of youth in it.

Last but not least the 2010 Sauvignon-Blanc. On the nose (and even the palate) you get an immediate exotic vibe… lots of exotic fruits. A very rich wine. For my personal taste maybe a bit too exotic, but I’m sure if paired well the wine will come out fabulous.

It was very nice to have the opportunity and privilege to visit this vineyard and on top of that meet the lovely Gaia.  Up to the next wine trip 🙂

Barolo of Barolo in Barolo made by the Marchesi di Barolo … it won’t get more Barolo than this

When I left home this morning I felt the summer was over (no doubt about that). So being able to write about my summer holiday (that seems soooo long ago) does bring a bit of sunshine back inside the home and an instant feeling of happiness.  This summer it was the first summer we had to take during the school holidays . “Nothing special’ you might think, but it seems that if you don’t start booking your holiday a year in advance, finding free rooms is a true quest. So I decided to look for regions that are less touristy, but that still match with everything I have on my checklist. A region like this is Piemonte. The region is as beautiful as Tuscany, is a gastronomical Walhalla (with it truffles, wines, etc…), has many beautiful cities and villages to visit and you can get around in this region without the lots of traffic you that you would find in Tuscany or the South of France.  It is not my first visit to the region, but every time I come here I fall in love with it again… especially when you drive through Alba and you can smell when they are roasting the hazelnuts (mixed with chocolate smells) at the Ferrero factory (yes, where the Nutella is made (amongst other things)).

The accommodation we stayed at is definitely a tip I want to share with you. We stayed at  QB apartments in Montelupo Albese (just outside of Alba). Apartments/studios with an incredible view over the hills of Langhe and its beautiful vineyards and all the comfort one needs designed by host  himself who also happens to be an architect. On top of that you get the peace and quiet (maybe when my children were there a bit less 🙂 ).  We chose an apartment as we liked to have the possibility to be able to cook ourselves as with small children it isn’t always ideal  going to restaurants. Not that we didn’t go out for eating, but having the choice was very practical.

Going on holiday with small children does change a thing or two in things you can do (which is logical and I don’t mind adapting myself)… but when you are in one of THE most famous wine regions in the world, NOT visiting a vineyard is not an option. Luckily I have a wonderful wife who understands all of this (and I do all the holiday planning 😉 ) and I was able to visit 2 vineyards during our holidays in Piemonte. As I could only visit 2 I wanted to make sure the once I would visit were very good ones. And so they were as I was fortunate enough to visit Marchesi di Barolo and the one and only Gaja. Both very well-known wineries, but both with a different view (and price range).

At Marchesi di Barolo it was the lovely Lucrenzia who showed me around this historical winery. The cellars of Marchesi di Barolo are located in the heart of the village of Barolo, with views over the beautiful castle of Marquis Falletti. The world-famous wine Barolo is not only a ‘symbol’ of this region, but of the entire wine country of Italy. The Nebbiolo grapes for the Barolo Tradizione come exclusively from the best vineyards of Barolo, Monforte, Castiglion Falletto and La Morra. These vineyards are all located on the hills south of the city of Alba.

Me personally I know Marchesi di Barolo from the time my dad had his restaurant, as back then he used to sell (one of my favorite MdB wines) the Cannubi by Marchesi di Barolo.

I don’t know if you guys are history lovers? I am one for sure!! I really enjoyed listening to Lucrenzia (who was telling it to me with that much passion I started thinking it was her winery) who took me on a magical path through history.  I was surprised that they still had so many old wines, including a bottle of 1895!! I was also surprised to hear that (Just like I had heard at Bouchard a few years ago) at Marchesi di Barolo, every 20years they check all the old wines and see if they are still drinkable. If they are they get a new cork and can wrest some more. I was also told that sometimes for very special occasions they still open some of those old bottles for the public. I was however disappointed to find out my visit wasn’t one of those special occasions 🙂 🙂 (just kidding).

Something very charming to see was the special flip book they made to explain the history of Marchesi.

One of the most intriguing old bottles I have seen during my visit , were the ones hidden in a book cover from during WWII (1943).  I don’t know if you can see it well on the picture below, but the bottles were actually flat. The fact they were flat was also a big reason why the bottles are still there today and survived the war… otherwise the Nazi’s would have drunk them 🙂

Although the history lesson I received was very interesting, the moment we all wait for is the tasting of the wines (but we’ll never admit that 😉 . It  is always a privilege to be able to taste wines where they are produced. Especially in such a bright room (with signatures on all the walls of everybody who visited )as at Machesi (and in good company)

First wine on the list was the Gavi di Gavi. Gavi an Italian dry white wine produced from the Cortese (a variety known for its high acidity and its ability to maintain good freshness even if produced in a very warm environment) grape that is cultivated in the restricted area of the Province of Alessandria. Gavi is a wine crafted from grapes sourced from rocky marl soils and has more weight and presence than perhaps typical for the area, but not at the cost of the delicately framed floral and mineral notes that characterize this style. Bright and tangy fruit with lemon/lime notes and I might say a snap of grapefruit. I would call this wine an ‘all man’s friend’, as I cannot imagine anybody not liking this wine 🙂

As a little in-between I was served a ‘cocktail’ made with Moscati d’ Asti, lime, mint and ice cubes. I can honestly say it was a very refreshing cocktail  with a ‘mojito’ vibe to it. It has also already found its way to my home in Belgium 🙂

Now some serious business, the red’s. Although the region has some very nice white’s, the reds are the reason we come 😉 The first red to taste was a 2016 Barbera d’Alba ‘Peiragal’. From a commercially point of view Barbera today is one of the most import grape varieties in the area, however, the variety is not as old as some other varieties from Piemonte … Barbera has for a longtime been seen as a “less important” wine in comparison with the Barolo. BUT it now found its rightful place at the top. In terms of taste, you type Barbera the easiest in comparison with Nebbiolo. Barbera always has a rather deep color, very high acidity and moderate tannin, while Nebbiolo is just the opposite on these three levels.  The “typical” style of Barbera has, however, been changed considerably in recent years by some producers by using certain wine making techniques. Often it is said the Barbera is female and Barolo Male 🙂 Not sure why that is actually, maybe because of its tempting fruitiness acidity?  (it is also said it is the Merlot of Italy). As for the Peiragal (I sometimes get carried away) for me it is a warm, robust and full, ruby red wine with aromas of berries, hazelnut and hints of vanilla (not too much of the last).

Up to the 2013 Barbaresco  ‘Serragrilli’ that was one of my favorites of the tasting (if I can be picky, because the other ones were also fabulous). Probably because of the fact the Barbaresco is made 100% out of Nebbiolo grapes it is often compared with its nearby brother ‘Barolo’. But they both have different soils, different history and different rules of making the wine (in many ways also due to the difference in soil they grow on).   So basically they share the same grape and that’s it 😉 but in case you are very curious, this link might help to clarify a thing or two 🙂  BTW, the best way to actually know the difference is just tasting both next to each other (like I did at Marchesi). A solid, to the point wine, that opens with aromas ‘new leather’ (I know, but it really did), black cherry and a hint of oak-driven spice. On the palate I noticed dried black cherry, anise and a slightly bitter note. But what made it a winner for me was silky tannins, characterized by a long and fresh finish. A warm and full-bodied feeling in the mouth . Beauty!!

Now time for the Barolo di Barolo 🙂 😉 Not an official term, but hey, I’m drinking Barolo of Barolo in Barolo made by the Marchesi di Barolo … it won’t get more Barolo than this!

I tasted 3 of Marchesi’s 2013 Barolo’s:  Barolo (Classic), Sarmassa and my beloved Cannubi.  3 wines made with the same grape, in ways similar but yet so different. Putting these 3 next to each other is the best example of when wines are cultivated in the same ways and produced in the same ways that the fact they come from a different soil makes them completely different!! Incredible.

It already starts at the nose with the Cannubi being tight and focused with aromas of wild berry, red rose. Whereas the Sarmassa gives more black-skinned fruit, coffee/toasty, dark spice and  even balsamic notes and the “Barolo Tradizione” that is somehow ‘softer’ with the red-fruits but still the hints of coffee. All 3 with an incredible finish, but maybe all 3 might need some extra time …but nevertheless very drinkable now and a pleasure for the taste buds and the palate.

Thank you very much Lucrenzia for this fantastic visit!!


Heavenly delights white truffles and Barolo wine

That I’m a fan of the Nebbiolo grape is clear by now I think? For the last few posts I’ve been talking to you about the Valtellina variant. This time however  I’ll be talking about its more famous brother from the neighboring region Piemonte  (Alba/Asti). I know it seemed that I don’t like Alba/Asti  or Barolo variant, but I do without any doubt like them. It is just that as my roots are in Vatellina it has a special place in my heart… but I wouldn’t call drinking a Barolo a big sacrifice 😉 It is just like Luciano Taliano (owner of the Montaribaldi vineyard) said during the meal we had a couple of days ago at Spiga d’oro:  he is fan of all his wines, but the Barbaresco is the apple of his eye… why? Because his family roots are in Barbaresco….


The older a Nebbiolo wine get the “easier” it gets to recognize them, because as they age the wines take on a ‘brick-orange’ shade at the rim of the glass. I know it might sound strange but you should just try it once putting an older Nebbiolo wine next to for example an older Sangiovese wine… The difference in color couldn’t be bigger. Next to its ‘characteristic’ color the Nebbiolo wine comes with fragrances of violets, tar, wild herbs, cherries, raspberries, truffles and tobacco. The most ideal location is at an elevation between 150 and 300 meter. What is special about the nebbiolo grape is that it usually only gets harvested in October, sometimes even at towards the end of the month. This is ‘special’ if you know most grapes in other regions get picked at the end of august or the latest at the end of September… then again the climate and hours of sun during the year obviously decides this … I know the Nebbiolo grape might seem like an easy grape to grow, but it isn’t as it does not adapt particularly well to various vineyard soil types. It prefers soils with high concentration of calcareous marl.


Just like in many other regions there are multiple approaches on making wine, a ‘traditional’ way and a ‘modern’ way. Both have their pro’s and contra’s. A contra of the traditional way or at least how it used to be done many years ago was the ‘lack’ of taking hygiene in consideration that would lead to the a bacterial infection and in the end development of off flavors and potential wine faults that would require at least 24 hours decanting to alleviate . Nowadays winemaking for both traditionalists and modernists include strict hygiene controls and the use of some modern winemaking equipment… so if you no worries anymore 🙂

The most famous wines from Piemonte made with the Nebbiolo grape are without doubt Barolo and Barbaresco. The way to distinguish the 2 wines was very well described by Giorgia Tontodonati from the Montaribaldi vineyard. Barbaresco is the ‘queen’ elegant, ‘softer’ and aromatic, Barolo is the ‘King’ very complex and strong.

I’ve already had the pleasure to have travelled many times to Piemonte to discover the many wonderful things this region has to offer. Next to their wonderful wines they  also have a very refined cuisine with evergreens like ravioli del plin, Tajarin al sugo, vitel tonné (vitello tonnato), Agnolotti, carne cruda alla piemontese, etc… BUT the other world famous trademark product of the of Piemonte is the one and only white truffle! Earlier this week all these wonderful things got combined at one of my preferred Italian restaurants in Belgium Spiga d’oro by my dear friend Franco Di Taranto… As tip of the iceberg he had invited Luciano Taliano from the Montaribaldi winery and trifolau Ezio who brought white truffles he had found the day before… only when in Alba itself you’ll get them on the day itself 🙂 To describe the evening in 1 word “Mythical”!! As I’m not really the man who sticks to one word (sorry for that)  I’ll tell you more about this wonderful evening that made me feel in Piemonte all over again!!


Montaribaldi is a quite young vineyard as the brothers Roberto and Luciano Taliano only opened it around 1994. Technically speaking the vineyard already existed earlier, but in 1994 as after he acquired the vineyards from his father Guiseppe aka ‘Pino’ who had founded it in 1968. The vineyard was named Montaribaldi after the old Roman roads that link the winery to the vineyards. Luciano’s goal was and still is to create a diverse selection of holdings that highlights the different wines of the region.


What I think is the reason for success of Montaribaldi wines is the accurate selection of grapes (the wine gets made on the land) and careful vinification. They also are very fortunate to have vines located in between the ones from their renowned neighbor Angelo Gaja. After having tasted their wines I can only come to the following conclusion their balance, length, intensity and concentration of flavors are all right how they supposed to be! Combine these wines with a meal by Franco and you have a feast… We were served the following menu with paired wines:


A secret celery and truffle salad ‘Arte e Querce’ prepared by Ezio’s wife Clelia. The salad got served with a 2015 Roero Arneis (white). I never saw a man so proud!! You could really tell truffles are Ezio’s passion as he was flaking it so proudly… very endearing to see 🙂

Celery truffle saladRoero Arneis


Vitel Tonné & Carne cruda a l’Albese con tartufo bianco paired with a 2012 Barbera

Barbera Vitel tonné

Robbilo tre latte with blac truffle, leek from Cervere, pears, beetroot and cugnamust from Nebbiolo. This dish got paired with a refreshing 2010 Langhe


“Cocotte” (cheese fondu) from Fontina cheese with fennel sausage and white truffle flakes. Served with 2 Barbaresco’s from different pieces of land aka Palazzina and Sori. Both wines were from 2011.

Barbaresco Cocotte

The main course of the evening was venison with a Barolo reduction with white truffle that got paired with the wine everybody was looking forward to drink the 2012 Barolo.

Main course SVI


To end our meal we got served a chocolate dessert together with a Moscato d’asti. We did also get some white truffle flakes on our chocolate dessert, I didn’t refuse it but if it wouldn’t have been there the dessert would have equally been good 🙂


For me when you prepare a dish with truffles, it should be the truffles playing the main role!! Here again the key word ‘simplicity’ is important to make sure the truffle gets the justice it supposed to get. That’s exactly what my dear friend Franco did. My first words after my meal (and you can check with the people at my table) were “I feel like going to Piemonte now”!! So I guess a trip to Piemonte won’t be far off 😉 😉

I’m not sure why I always have to say which wine I prefer as I like all of them and I don’t want you guys to think that because I prefer one over the other it means the other wines were bad… as they weren’t  🙂  But just to keep everybody happy I admit that the Barbaresco’s charmed me most with on the first place the Sori. On the nose sweet and penetrating notes of licorice and chocolate, firmer and more sustained on the palate but with the roundness and solidity of a high quality extraction. Maybe the fact Luciano talked with so much love about it had an influence ooooooooor that Giorgia compared it with a queen 😉 😉 who knows?! One thing is for sure once again I’ll need to expand my wine cellar and definitely have another winetrip to Piemonte 🙂


Many thanks to Franco,  Aline, Toni, Luciano, Giorgia, Ezio and his wife for making this an unforgettable evening (and of course also my table guests 🙂 )

For more info on Montaribaldi wines in Belgium please contact SVI.

List of nice hotels and restaurants in Piemonte

Let me list some nice address in Piemonte. Because otherwise you’ll have to always read through my posts…

ALBA Region:

Hotels, Agriturismo:

          Il Boscareto 5* L (if you really want to spoil yourself)

           Strada Roddino, 21 – 12050 Serralunga d’Alba (CN)

          Ai Tardi

Via S. Sebastiano, 81  – 12055 – Diano d’Alba (CN)

          Casa Ressia (Agriturismo)

          Località Altavilla, 42 – 12051 Alba (CN)


           Via Gioberti ,4 – 12060 Barolo (CN)


Restaurants, Osteria, etc…

          Osteria Da Gemma (A MUST!!!!)

          Via Marconi 6 –  12050 Roddino (CN)

          Ai Tardi

Via S. Sebastiano, 81  – 12055 – Diano d’Alba (CN)

          Ristorante RossoBarolo

Via Roma, 16 – 12060 Barolo (CN)

          Trattoria della Posta

Località Sant’Anna –  12065 Monforte d’Alba (CN)

          La rosa dei vini

        Località Parafada, 4 – 12050  Serralunga d’Alba (CN)

          Ristorante Bovio

         Via Alba, 17bis – 12064 La Morra (CN)



Lunch spots


        Via Nizza, 230 – 10126 Torino

          Mood libri & caffè

         Via Cesare Battisti, 3 – 10123 Torino

          Pastificio Defilippis

         Via Lagrange, 39 – 10123 Torino

          Brek self service

          Piazza Carlo Felice, 22 –  Torino

           Piazza Solferino, Via Santa Teresa, 23 – Torino

I can also suggest to look in the Guide from L’espresso (Italian newspaper) not only for Piemonte, but for whole Italy.

Beni di Batasiolo

As you could read in my previous posts, I’m currently visiting a longtime friend (Fiorenzo) from my father, who owns together with his family the ‘Batasiolo’ vineyard. But that is not the only reason this wine house is close to my heart, also for products they offer and produce.

Already being the 3rd generation (4th and 5th are also already ensured), you can be sure that the Dogliani family knows what they are doing. The name Batasiolo was only given to the ‘Azienda’ or vineyard around 1978, before they used to call it “Cantina Chiola”.

What really keeps surprising me is that eventhough Batasiolo is exporting to more than 63 countries worldwide, they are still able to keep the same high level taste and still have the same respect for the traditions of making wine.

MY personal favorite Batasiolo wines are:

La Corda della Briccolina, Barolo DOCG (red)

Sovrana, Barbera d’Alba doc  (red)

Bricco di Vergne, Dolcetto d’Alba doc (red)

Langhe Doc Rosso (red)

Granée, Gavi DOCG (white)

Bosc dla Rei, Moscato d’Asti docg (dessert)

Langhe Chardonnay DOC (white)

Ofcourse the most famous wine they are producing is without any doubt the Barolo (and I’m sure everybody knows this wine) that is a monovitigno wine. The reason for that is that they only use 1 kind of grape, the Nebbiolo. Barolo is also one of those wines you keep in your winecellar for years, 20 years easily. As you might already expect, this is a stronger kind of wine J not your every day table wine 🙂 .

The other day I had a tour around the ‘factory’ to see how the wine gets made, because what better moment then during the vendemmia??

Staying right in the middle of the vineyards, I got to see the workers picking the grapes.

But being a bigger wine house and making sure being able always stay at the same level, Batasiolo searches for the best new techniques and machinery to make this possible.

What I didn’t know (and I already know Batasiolo a lot of years), is that they also make special “Kosher” wine for the local Jewish people, who at the moment I was there were checking if the making respected the Jewish traditions. And as Batasiolo is already doing this for some years I think they are indeed respecting them 🙂

Basically first the grapes get squeezed to get the juices out (for the precious Barolo Nebbiolo grapes, the machine even separates the fruit from the pit and for the white wine it even peels it??? Wow, what a machine.

I just needed to add the next picture, because I really like engraved wood.

And as I said I really really find it amazing the machines like the one on the below picture, that clean the bottle, fill it, label it, close it, put it in a box, but the box on a pallet, etc…. I admire the person who invented this!!

And I’m sure it will not surprise that I tasted wine that morning (yes, at 10 o’clock), we tried 3 Barolos, from different vineyards from Batasiolo… and they all 4 tasted different… what could be seen a strange,, as they are from the same grape and treated in the same way… but in fact it is nature who helps a hand to give them all something different. I also tried the Sovrana (that I really like a lot) and the Barbaresco… (I just had a sip from the wine, I didn’t drink it all 🙂

If you have the chance, you should really taste the Batasiolo wines as they are really Worldclass!! (let me know when, then I’ll join you guys 😉

And so also the second day has come to an end…

For some reason I’m never able to sleep late, I’m always awake around 7 o’ clock and when I see the sunshine it is even more difficult to stay in bed. The first thing I did yesterday (same as today) is write the next post. After doing that, this morning I went to a little town called Boves (btw, my girlfriend doesn’t have my problem, so she kept sleeping). Boves is a small town near Cuneo (the capital from this region). I needed to go there to buy the ‘Bovesine’, these are chocolates filled with cognac, grand marnier, etc… and are a specialty from this region (in Cuneo they are called Cunesi). Not that I like them that much (I don’t like alcohol and chocolate together), but my favorite Zia Livia asked me to buy them for her 🙂 :-). To get there (about 60km from where I’m located for the moment) I took the regular way and not the highway… as then at least I can enjoy the view.

The below picture was one of the first views I had on my ride.

Just beautiful! And this was one of the many sights I got to say (really worth doing).

My first task when arriving in Boves was buying these chocolats at Pasticceria Rebecca after that I explored the little town, + there was an open-air market at that moment, so that’s even better 🙂 . A little town close to Boves that is really worth going to, is Saluzzo, a little medieval town…

I was really exited reaching the afternoon, as my Zia Livia is also in Piemonte (Torino) to visit a friend of her and we had planned to meet around 3pm in at Alba.

Alba, is for me one of the nicer towns or I might even say small cities in the neighborhood. I especially like via Vittorio emmanuele (lots of deli shops ), but also for the shoppers, there are some very nice boutiques. And on top of that you get the fragrance of Chocolate! Yes, that’s right, chocolate. The reason for that is that the Ferrero factories are located right in the heart of Alba and whenever they are melting chocolate, you smell it in the whole town (it actually makes one hungry 🙂 ). For all you that don’t k now Ferrero, they are the ones from Nutella, Ferrero Rocher, Mon Cherie chocolats or the Kinder Bueno.


And to make a long story short (er) we encountered my aunt and here two friends earlier than expected and one of the friends insisted to invite us for lunch (for her small, for us pretty big). So again we had a celebrative lunch 🙂

Last evening we went to my favorite restaurant in this region, ‘ Osteria da Gemma’. This restaurant is not for small and/or picky eaters, as you don’t have menu, you just have to eat what they serve. And believe you me, they really serve A LOT. As starter or antipasto, we had vittelo tonnato, steak tartare (piemonte style), Insalata Russa, salami and coppa. We then continued with ‘gli primi piatti’ tagliolini and agnolotti al sugo di carne. Followed by rabbit and veal with peperonnata. We finished with a choice of desserts (they just gave them all) Strüdel, Crème caramel, semi freddo. ALL HOME MADE!!! We drank their own Dolcetto wine and water. How much would you guess we paid? 48EUR for 2!!

I had already been to this restaurant with my dad (the picture is still on their wall)

Another perfect end of a perfect sunny day. Today we are going to my mom’s favorite Italian city Torino.

Some call it Barolo, I call it heaven – day 1

I think the best way to start this post, is by showing you the view I have right out from my chair.

Yes, that’s right, all vineyards! If heaven looks like this, I’m really blessed.

For the moment I’m visiting a friend of my father (Fiorenzo) in La Morra. Which is one of the 11 villages where the Barolo wine can get produced (Yes, lucky me). Every time I come here, I forget how beautiful this region is and how many gastronomical greatnesses it has. Starting with ofcourse the world famous Barolo wine, the Spumante d’Asti (sweet spumante), White Truffles, Nutella or better Ferrero, etc…. Do you guys now understand what I mean with heaven?!

Something I also should tell you, is that Fiorenzo is the 3rd generation of a winemaking family that sells its wine under the name “Batasiolo”, but I’ll tell you more about that in one of my next posts. Usually I visit Fiorenzo with my dad, this time I brought my girlfriend. As I really wanted her to see this underestimated region that is as beautiful as Tuscany (no doubt).

Like every time, we stay at “Bofani” which is a ‘little’ house in the middle of one of Batasiolo’s vineyards.

In the back there are the grapes to make Barolo, and in front of the house to make Chardonnay.

Yesterday was our first day here, and already we got dipped in the Italian way of living.

We had a small lunch right in front of the house together with a few Puerterican and Candian friends from Fiorenzo, who are visiting. I was also very happy that Fiorenzo’s nephew also joined.

What do you guys think about when I say Italian feast? Long tables, lots of food, lots of people, wine more than the eye can see? Yes? Well that’s exactly how it was. I helped to set the table.

After this “lunch” or “Merenda” we went back to have a tour in the cellar’s and see how the wine of Batasiolo gets made… as there is no better moment to see this as now it is the “vendemmia” or grape picking. (more about that in my Batasiolo blogpost).

That night we went for a dinner at Rosso Barolo in a town called Barolo (what’s in a name).

We really enjoyed our meal. We started off with some Melanzane with cottage cheese, followed by some gnocchi and ravioli, to finish with some Brassato. We didn’t have a dessert… but I must admit they looked great 🙂 . I would recommende Rosso Barolo for its great food, romantic atmosphere and very friendly staff that for some reason didn’t want us to go yet 🙂 .

A great end of day 1, up to day 2… who knows what might happen