Piemonte means "at the foot of the mountains," (the Alps) and has a culture and dialect that is closer to parts of France than other parts of Italy. It is bordered by France and Switzerland and rich in gastronomy and vino. Of course! Or why else would be going there! Small Vineyards has several estates here in this region, and we want to introduce you to them!
Local cuisine has been influenced by the close proximity of France and includes things like chard, anchovies, garlic and white truffles. Home to grissino, a thin and crispy breadstick that is famous to the area, and white truffles as a mainstay. Other great products include rabbit, vinegar, honey, grappa, chocolate, pasta, hazelnuts, panettone, cheese, and above all, Truffles. Piemonte also produces some well-known wines in the chalk hills of Monferrato. This region produces the Asti white wines that include Moscato and sparkling Asti Spumante. The region is also home to full-bodied reds that include Barbera, Barolo and Barberesco. The famous Italian vermouths such as Martini and Cinzano are also produced here and distributed worldwide and drunk locally as an aperitivo.
Tre donne in Neive is a home base estate
As much as Alessandro Lequio loved his daughters, there was no way he was going to hand over the family vineyard to women. (According to his wife, Donna Bruna, Alessandro actually cried for half an hour when their third and final child, Daniela, was born!) Four generations of fathers had handed the estate down to their sons, and even though he handn’t had a boy, Alessandro would be damned if the family business was going to be run by the fairer sex. “Marry a good winemaker,” he would tell them. Just as stubborn as their father, the sisters all staunchly refuted this notion, and assured him that he would be handing the estate over to them one day… In the end (and presumably tired of arguing), everyone agreed to a “do-or-die” wager, and literally bet the ranch: Deciding he could trick them into failure, Alessandro agreed to give the gals everything if they could pass three years of his rigorous tests, culminating in a single vintage of wine which he, himself would judge.
To everyone’s surprise, the Sisters never gave up… and moreover, they actually won more awards in their first year of production than Alessandro had in his entire career! True to his word, their papa changed his tune and turned the estate over to his daughters. He was so deeply impressed, he even allowed them to change the name to ‘Tre Donne’ – which means “three women.”
Today, we meet in the morning and get situated in our beautiful Hotel San Georgio, www.locandasangiorgio.it before going over to the estate of Tre Donne, a short three KM's away, and for those of you who want a ride, it is available. Remember our fearless driver Fabio? Some may want to trek it over to the estate. We meet here at Tre Donne for an incredible tasting and tour of the estate, and a light lunch. In the afternoon, we tour the SLOW FOOD UNIVERSITY, and sit down for a lecture on what Slow Food is. The wine Bank, located in the historical cellars of the Agenzia di Pollenzo, is a centre of storage and refinement for the best wines of Italy. WOW! At the same time it is also a museum of Italian wine, offering visitors the chance to discover our oenological heritage and to taste the wines from some of the most prestigious wineries. A great chance to taste the best wines from around Italy in a expertly renovated setting which has retained all its historical character and charm.
In the beautiful tasting room of the Winebank we offer you a sweet experience. Enjoy different types of chocolate from Cherasco, with five sweet wines and grappas. A new challenge to see how chocolate can be matched with, sipping nice dessert wines.
Dinner at San Giorgio tonight is fabulous. Too much food, but impossible to resist.
Today we concentrate on Small Vineyards Estates. We tour the Langhe area, La Mora and Mon Forte. We have an excellent opportunity to see the countryside and taste Barolo and Barberesco wines. We stop for you to grab a snack along the way. Tonight, after a long day of being welcomed into family estates, we sit down to a fabulous and relaxing dinner at La Luna Nel Pozzo.
At Small Vineyards, we like to find winemakers who listen to their own inner drum. Immediately upon meeting Federico Stella, one becomes aware that he is just such a man. Meticulous beyond belief in the cellar, and seemingly oblivious to the outside world, this young and talented producer possesses an uncanny instinct for making world-class wine. Respectful of traditional varietals, but unrelenting in his desire to improve, Stella experimented with over 30 combinations of French oak before settling on his cooperage formula! (Imagine that expense for a small estate!) Consistently he takes all of his wines right up to the edge of modernity, but then masterfully hovers there, never once crossing the line or going too far.
Sitting down to taste wine at the family’s dinner table, we also get to see the patience and love he shows his family—he is happy to include his grandfather, Felice, who listens in and nods as grandmother Helda silently presses cookies into our hands. Across the room, Federico smiles quietly as we notice a photo of his new daughter, Sofia…
Although extremely affable, Federico remains serious while discussing his vision. Indeed, even when the subject of conversation turns away from Poderi Elia, one always has the distinct impression that, privately, Federico is still thinking about his wine.
This region is not only an agricultural center but an industrial one as well. Piemonte and it's capital of Turin is an industrial powerhouse that has young people from other regions flocking to work here. The city of Turin is also the capital of Italian engineering and its southern suburbs the home to automobile manufacturers Fiat and Lancia. With the second largest museum in the world of Egypt treasures, you will be impressed to linger and enjoy this elegant city. Dropping us at Piazza Castello, we will take a tour of the city and enjoy this one-time Olympic site. Lunch is on your own today and we suggest you have fun at EATALY. After spending all day in Torino, also known as Turin, we head back to Neive for another fabulous dinner at San Giorgio.
Otherwise known as Gasoline, Benzina or Moonshine, we will see how this unbelievable liquor comes to fruition. A visit through the distillery and a generous tasting of 6 different Grappe will finally answer the questions everyone ask...."How do you make this stuff?" We visit the Alba outdoor market and enjoy some shopping. Alba is a wonderful city. Charming and medieval, with old houses and stone towers known for its excellent wine. The city is in the heart of white truffle country and each fall truffle lovers the world over converge on the town for its annual truffle fair. Alba is also home to wine favorites such as Barolo and Barbesco. To the south of the town are the chalk and clay hills of the Langhe, covered in vines and Oaks. A view from this area explains the culinary gifts that nature has bestowed upon Alba.
Maybe you want to grab a Panini or a lite snack, while here in Alba. but our farewell dinner will be fabulous. We dine tonight on all of what makes Piemonte famous at Gagliardo. Where typical Piemonte Food is taken to a Modern Level of spendid.
Giuseppe Lonardi lives in a little village not far from Verona, tucked into the romantic hills of Valpolicella, you will find the estate of one of the best Amarone producers in Italy—Giuseppe Lonardi. Bepi, as his wife likes to call him, is a fourth generation winemaker, and leads a beautiful, simple life. On average, he hand-crafts a scant 100-200 cases per year of each of his finest wines. Marilena, meanwhile, runs a tiny bistro near the cellars, where she has perfected one of the most sumptuous dishes we have ever tasted: a slow-cooked, Amarone-infused risotto.
One family friend guarantees that the three most important things in Giuseppe’s life are Food, Wine and his Wife. “But,” he chuckles, “not necessarily in that order”. Marilena smiles fondly when you ask her about her husband: “He’s a workaholic. He basically sleeps with the wine.”
A great toast surfaced at Bepi’s trattoria around the dinner table one night: “Peccato gravissimo ē quello di stare senza vino e senza amante.” Translation: “It is a grave mistake to live without wine and a lover.
After we arrive, we will take a tour and tasting of this small estate after we have settled in to enjoy our next three nights here. Dinner at Bepis restaurant is tonight is a must-do!
Jump on the train, and make tracks for the most fascinating city in Italy, Venice! We will embrace the city with an outdoor walking tour where you are free to wonder around and get lost, and also free to spend the entire day here exploring museums and eating on your own at your own pace. We will head back to Bepi's for a late dinner in Valpolicella.
Paolo Trevisol At the annual Vin Italy festival, where even farmers can be spotted wearing their best suits, Paolo Trevisiol instead leans casually back in jeans and a button down to sip on a cool glass of his own Prosecco. Image is obviously something that doesn’t concern him—the man just loves to make good wine. He cracks a down-to-earth smile as he tells us about his family, who was the first in their region to start making bubbly. The difference between himself and four previous generations? Paolo’s sole interest is in making a small amount of quality wine, as opposed to the larger productions of the past. The picture of self-sufficiency, he still rotates every bottle of his top spumante by hand!
From Valdobiadene's grand family of prosecco, Paolo Trevisiol delivers an absolute delight with this delicate, pleasing prosecco made in a wonderful, traditional frizzante style. Tiny, delicate bubbles deliver flinty aromas of acacia flower and Meyer lemon, all with Trevisiol's trademark minerality borne of his remarkable moraine soil. Today we have lunch here at the estate and after take a tour of the beautiful city of Verona.
Tomorrow, bright and early, our bus transfers you to Verona bus, train or airport.