Summer moves steadily along. It’s mid-August already, and the weather is turning cooler. We moved back into our house just over a week ago, and we’re still digging out from under boxes of possessions that we haven’t seen since the fire. It’s a bit overwhelming, but we’re making progress. The silver lining to it all is that our 1920s south Minneapolis house is all new. We have a little more closet space and a bigger bathroom. The kitchen, though, is what we’re most excited about! It’s spacious and open with lots of counter space and a fabulous gas range. Soon we’ll get back to cooking and we’ll post a few photos on Due Spaghetti. In the meanwhile, let’s finish our tour of northern Italy’s wineries.
We started in Trentino-Alto Adige along the Strada del Vino, and then worked our way through Veneto and La Valpolicella before traveling west to Piedmont and the Langhe. Our first stop was in a tiny village high in the hills called Castiglione Tinella, home to the Paolo Saracco Vineyards. Stefano met Paolo this past winter when he was in Minneapolis recently to present his wines, and was impressed not only with his Moscato d’Asti, his trademark wine, but also with the Pinot Nero he produces.
Paolo Saracco Vineyards owns a hotel called Albergo Castiglione, just minutes away from the winery. The hotel pool is located near the Saracco vineyards, on a hilltop overlooking the vines below. We stayed at the hotel and while nonna Maria and the boys enjoyed the pool, Stefano and Cara toured the winery.
The entire experience was delightful; the village was charming, the hotel staff were attentive to our needs and recommended two very good local spots to eat, and the winery itself and the wines we tasted were splendid.
Seemingly the setting could not become more idyllic, until we traveled 40 kilometers southwest to the Azienda Agricola Cogno, storied Barolo producers, and found ourselves immersed in some of the region’s most beautiful scenery. The winery was founded by Elvio Cogno in his hometown of Novello, where his family had been producing wine for several generations prior. Under his daughter Nadia and her husband Valter Fissore’s attention, the winery produces highly acclaimed Barolo as well as a Barbaresco, a Dolcetto d’Alba and two Langhe. The Elvio Cogno representative for the American market, Daniele, was in Minneapolis last winter and came to the Butcher Block to present his wines to Stefano and Filippo.
We arrived at the winery complex in mid-afternoon, under a scorching sun. The winery is housed in a perfectly restored 18th century manor. The family lives in on part of the facility, adjacent to the actual winery. A spectacular outdoor kitchen sits alongside an infinity pool that looks over the rows of vineyards that run up and down the hills of the Langhe. Once again, Sean and Luca put their swimsuits back on and spent a few hours in the pool under nonna’s supervision while Stefano and Cara toured the winery and tasted the outstanding Barolo and other Elvio Cogno wines.
It was a fitting end to our tour of northern Italy’s wineries. With an extra several bottles in tow, we packed up Marco’s Toyota RAV 4 and headed to the sea and the Cinque Terre.