Explore Piedmont Wines at Alba’s Festa del Vino

Piedmont Wine Tasting and Education: Alba Festa del Vino

Get to know Piedmont wines!

>>>> 2016 UPDATE: Alba’s 18th Annual Festa del Vino takes place Sunday, September 25. 

  • Time: 2 to 8 p.m.
  • Location: Purchase your glass in Piazza del Duomo
  • Cost: 12 euros 

Hope to see you there! Now, learn more about the area’s wines! Salute!  After tasting Piedmont wines all weekend (I know, I know, it’s a hard knocks life) we got home a few Sundays ago ready for down time. Except that wasn’t to be; booths were set up all over Alba for the Festa del Vino, a wine tasting featuring all the communes of the Langhe and Roero. Well, I did need more study of the area. We put our drinking caps back on and grabbed an umbrella – you see, Mother Nature insisted on pouring, too. Time for a little taste and learn – Andiamo!

>>> Alba Festa del Vino

All municipalities attend this late September event showcasing Langhe and Roero wines. Wine lovers and curiosity seekers meander through town from Piazza Duomo along Via Maestra to Piazza Savona tasting 700+ labels along the makeshift Alba Wine Route. Table layout is designed by homogeneous areas. Purchase a wine glass to taste and compare the wines on parade. Truly one of Piedmont’s great wine festivals.

Cost: 12 euros

We purchased our wine glasses, then started at the Verduno table, a Barolo commune.

Explore Piedmont Wines at Alba's Festa del Vino

The crowd was alive with tourists and locals alike – I mean, who would pass up tasting all these Piedmont wines for a paltry 12 euros!?

The rain started to pour a couple hours in, but that didn’t deter the masses. Out popped the umbrellas and the tasting continued.

Explore Piedmont Wines at Alba's Festa del Vino

If you are heading to Piedmont in September consider synching your trip with this wine festival as it offers a rare opportunity to taste wines from all over The Langhe and Roero. Compare and contrast styles, locations, vintages, and more.

>>> About Roero

Roero neighbors The Langhe and Monferrato, which forms the “Distretto Langhe, Roero e Monferrato” wine district.

Wines include the red Roero made of Nebbiolo and the well known and much loved white Roero Arneis (still and Arneis Spumante).

Explore Piedmont Wines at Alba's Festa del VinoWhite in the red – what, what?

>> Red Roero DOCG is made of 100% Nebbiolo. True story: pre-DOCG designation it could contain 2 to 5% Arneis; Roero gained designation in 2005.

About 200 vineyard hectares are dedicated to this wine production. It must be cellar-aged for twenty months, six in wooden barrels, while Roero Riserva requires at least 32 months total of aging, also with a minimum of six months in wood.

>> White Roero Arneis DOCG and Roero Arneis Spumante are 100% Arneis grapes, which make up 425 hectares of the Roero vineyards.

Explore Piedmont Wines at Alba's Festa del Vino

>>> The Langhe

The Langhe is the hilly area south and east of Piedmont’s Tanaro River in the province of Cuneo. The area is most loved for its wine, cheese, and truffles (particularly the Alba white truffle.) The region’s most well known DOGC wines are Barolo and Barbaresco, a.k.a., The King and Queen. 

Explore Piedmont Wines at Alba's Festa del VinoCoronating Piedmont’s King and Queen

>> Barolo DOCG is 100% Nebbiolo with 3 years minimum aging, including 18 months in wood. Barolo Riserva is 5 years minimum aging. >> Barbaresco DOCG is 100% Nebbiolo with 2 years minimum aging, including 9 months in wood. Barbaresco Riserva is 4 years minimum aging.

The loyal subjects

>> Langhe Nebbiolo DOC, 12 months minimum aging with Nebbiolo grapes from the Barolo or Barbaresco zones. A great value for the money. When producers reach their legal allotment of Barolo or Barbaresco (based on vineyard size) OR if they planted a new Nebbiolo vineyard and the vines aren’t ready for Barolo / Barbaresco primetime, the wines often become a Langhe Nebbiolo, also earning the title Baby Barolo or Baby Barbaresco. >> Nebbiolo d’Alba DOC is primarily the Roero zone – grapes cannot come from Barolo or Barbaresco. No blending allowed. Roero doesn’t get the same fanfare as the Langhe, but the wines are beautiful. Definitely worth the taste. In fact, one of my favorite wines of the day was a Roero Riserva from Demarie

Yeah, we tried a few

The festa features primarily small producers (think 3k+ bottles annually), which gives them an opportunity show off their wines as the larger producers usually snag the visitors. And, often it was the wine maker pouring.

Explore Piedmont Wines at Alba's Festa del VinoFratello Kevino demonstrates the art of the taste while Il Ragazzo contemplates the fermented grape juice in his glass.

Explore Piedmont Wines at Alba's Festa del Vino

Explore Piedmont Wines at Alba's Festa del VinoThe proper way to wine taste in the rain. 

Explore Piedmont Wines at Alba's Festa del Vino

So, that’s my recent exploration of Piedmont wines. I love getting to taste and learn about all the region’s differences, so it was my kinda play day. The regional wine festivals continue. Coming up are more festas with the grandest of them all, featuring the fabled Alba White Truffle.

85rd Annual International White Truffle of Alba Fair

Dates: October 10 to November 15, 2015 Location: Alba, Italy

Cin cin! V-dawg OUT.

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