Nothing helps to forget the stress of the city, problems at work and daily traffic jams, like outdoor recreation, among the seemingly unreal beauty of landscapes: villages, castles and vineyards on picturesque hills shrouded in a misty haze.
Those who have visited Piedmont in the autumn fall in love with these places forever and, over time, feel nostalgia at a distance.
Acquaintance with world-famous winemakers, the opportunity for live communication and wine tastings in their company give unforgettable emotions to wine lovers, and the experience gained during several days of immersion in the territory cannot be compared with anything.
Undoubtedly, Barolo is the pride of Piedmont, one of the most famous Italian wines and one of the great wines in the world. Derived from the Nebbiolo grapes, it was born in the heart of the Langhe, a few kilometers south of Alba, in 11 vineyard municipalities scattered among the hills, identified from afar by medieval castles, usually named after the villages: Barolo , Serralunga, Castiglione Falletto …
The history of Barolo wine is inextricably linked with the name of the Marquis Falletti, major local landowners and owners of the Barolo castle. The wife of the local marquis, Frenchwoman Julia Colbert, was one of the first to believe in the quality potential of Nebbiolo and unexpectedly played a crucial role in the birth of Barolo wine, taking an active part not only in the work at her own winery, but also opening a new wine for the royal court of Savoy, and then European nobility. That is why Barolo is called the wine of kings, while adding that Barolo is the king of wines.
A visit to the historic winery in Barolo is one of the points of the wine tour program. To see with your own eyes the premises, wine cellars and barrels, which are more than 150 years old, and at the same time within these same walls, the usual routine workflow, as in any other winery, is very interesting and emotional.
Barbaresco is another must-see for Piedmont wine tours. Named for the village where it comes from, Barbaresco wine is made from the same Nebbiolo variety.
A visit to the producer Barbaresco is interesting not only because the history and glory of Barbaresco and Barolo wines are inseparable. This is a unique opportunity to see with your own eyes the beauty, wealth and traditions of these territories, which are also expressed in wines. The worldwide fame of Barbaresco is inextricably linked with the Gaia family. The Gaja wine house has existed since 1859, and it was their Barbaresco that was valued on a par or even higher than Barolo.
For a deeper exploration of Piedmont, it is worth visiting Roero – an area adjacent to the Langhe, but on the other, left side of the Tanaro River. The composition of soils, terroir and associated historical traditions are changing. Here it is worth trying a mature and complex wine, which is called Roero by the name of the territory. You should also pay attention to the white wines from the local Arneis variety. In the past, this grape was called the white Barolo.
Almost all winemakers in these areas, in addition to the most important wines from Nebbiolo, work with other Piedmontese varieties, producing traditional wines from them, which are named the same as the grapes from which they are made: Barbera, Dolcetto, Freisa.
In addition to Langhe and Roero, there are many other wine-growing areas in Piedmont worthy of a separate trip: Asti, Monferrato, Gavi, Tortona, Canavese and northern Piedmont.
This article will not be enough to tell about the wealth of Piedmont and the generous choice of routes for wine tourists, as it is impossible to get to know Piedmont in one visit.
It is difficult to think of a better time than autumn for such a trip, because, in addition to the wine and gastronomic theme, there are many events in the cultural life of Piedmont during these weeks, and each week is marked with something interesting.
Beginning in September, in Piedmont towns and villages, despite the active rhythm of agricultural work, a series of a wide variety of holidays begins, many of which are traditional, with deep historical roots. Every week, in different places, there is an opportunity to join the fun and joy of local people who cherish the traditions of their land.
On the first weekend of September, according to tradition, the Pelaverga festival is held – a local red wine from the Piedmontese grape variety of the same name. Winemakers, eager to introduce the world to this interesting wine, arrange festivities with music, street food and, of course, pouring Pelaverga on the streets of the village of Verduno, where this wine comes from. Verduno is one of the five main communes producing Barolo. Pelaverga – wine is not as important as Barolo, but very favorite in these places.
Slow Food Cheese Exhibition
The largest international events organized by Slow Food also take place in autumn. This world-renowned association of lovers and advocates of delicious and healthy food has Piedmontese roots and was born in 1986 in the small town of Bra, near Alba.
Alternating every two years, Slow Food holds two major events for gourmets from around the world in Piedmont in autumn: the Salone del Gusto, the international food fair in Turin, and the international cheese festival in Bra. These are incredibly interesting events with a very rich program, with masterclasses, dinners with famous chefs from different countries, meetings with famous characters. Gourmets, journalists and restaurant workers from all over the world have extraordinary opportunities these days.
And on September 20, according to a tradition that has been going on for many centuries, the famous holiday with horse races is held in the city of Asti – the Palio d’Asti competition, which was born in the Middle Ages, the first information about it dates back to 1275.
Every year, on the third Sunday in September, on the streets of Asti you can see a colorful procession of people in medieval clothes, heading to the central square, where the holiday reaches its culmination – an exciting competition between the participants of horse races (there are 21 of them in total) unfolds. your team (block or village).
A special feature of the Palio d’Asti is that riders sit on a horse without a saddle. The horse that comes to the finish line first (with or without a rider) is considered the winner. The winner is awarded a beautifully painted standard called palio. This is a piece of valuable material, on which a very famous master works every year. The last to come to the finish line amid everyone’s laughter today, as well as many centuries ago, are presented with salted anchovies.
Palio di Alba
And on October 4, on the streets of Alba, you can laugh heartily at the local donkey festival.
On the first Sunday in October, a couple of weeks after the most beautiful Palio in Asti, the Palio of the donkeys arrives in neighboring Alba. This holiday has no ancient roots and appeared not so long ago – in 1932, and almost as a joke, with one purpose – to have fun, to have fun!
As in Asti, the competition is preceded by a procession through the central streets of Alba by locals in medieval dress, representing the different quarters and districts of the city. The procession heads to the square, where a gorgeous theatrical performance begins: a two-hour performance with stories on historical themes, reminiscent of the two thousand year history of Alba – “the city of a hundred towers”.
Finally, there comes the moment of Palio – donkey racing, although the word “racing” in this case is pronounced with a smile. Donkeys are very stubborn and do not obey the riders, sometimes they completely refuse to move – neither persuasion nor force methods help.
At this holiday, there is no indifferent fun and cannot be, donkeys arrange a very funny show when adults laugh with children. The winners will receive applause, awards and gifts, including the impressive white truffle of Alba.
Alba White Truffle Fair
The most important event of the Piedmontese autumn is the famous Alba White Truffle Fair, attracting gourmets from all over the world, with a program of all kinds of events and trade in Piedmontese delicacies.
Alba is very desirable for tourists these days. On the central streets of the city, you can see endless rows of stalls with all sorts of local specialties, cheeses, sausages, sweets, truffles and, of course, wines, and in the air there is a persistent smell of truffle, interrupted from time to time by the aroma of nutella, carried by the wind from the nearby Ferrero factory. …
This year, the 85th fair will open on October 10 and run until November 15.
The white truffle of Alba is the number 1 specialty of Piedmont, the most fragrant and high quality truffle in the world.
Hunting for white truffles in Piedmont is officially permitted from 21 September to 31 January.
The truffle matures and becomes more aromatic towards the end of October – November. Connoisseurs and gourmets know that they will not lose if they take their time and come back later. The crowds of tourists disappear, winemakers enter a quiet mode of work and can pay more attention to tourists, and the white truffle becomes fantastic, acquires the most intense aroma!
It is not scary if the weather in November can be rainy – without rain the truffle harvest cannot be successful. And the calendar of cultural and gastronomic events brings new joys as winter approaches.
Visiting the autumn Piedmont, it is impossible to remain indifferent to the generosity of this land, discovering unique and precious wines, gastronomic specialties and the feeling of a holiday that the Piedmontese create, carefully preserving local traditions.
Flying in a hot air balloon over the Langhe hills with a glass of Barolo or Piedmont Spumante in hand, you experience the extraordinary sensations of the joy of touching the great creation of nature and human labor.
Officially, the autumn period in Italy is from September 23 to December 21, according to the astronomical calendar. You have a chance to start exploring Piedmont this year!