Just back from celebrating my birthday in the Langhe region of Piemonte. The area is famous not only for its wonderful wine but also for its cheeses, hazelnuts and truffles – particularly the white truffles of Alba. This is the land of Nutella and Ferrero Rocher – the smell of chocolate drifting from the factory in Alba is just heavenly.
When it comes to wine, the area boasts much more than just Barolo and Barbaresco, even if those two do tend to steal the headlines. You can enjoy similar depths of quality and roundness in the many Langhe Nebbiolo that are available at a fraction of the cost. Then there are all of these delicious wines to try: Dolcetto di Dogliani, Dolcetto di Diano d’Alba, Barbera d’Asti and Barbera d’Alba, to name but a few.
A feature of the region is fog, so it came as no surprise to wake up to thick fog every morning – after all, it was the middle of October. Luckily, the sun was able to burn it off as the day progressed, which makes working out which of the villages we visited in the morning and which were in the afternoon more simple! I have posted a few images below from many of the villages that we stopped to explore. You may notice that art and castles are prevalent in this area.
A town full of sculpture …
A pack of dogs appears to be listening to the reflected moon recordings that are being beamed from the parabolic dish below the sculpted amphitheatre.
View over the misty town from above.
Reflections of Autumn.
Several of these big bronze cats prowl the streets.
While a lone wolf attacks a red deer in the main piazza. A view of the town from across the vineyards (below). The plantation at the end of the ploughed field in the centre foreground is hazelnut.
The line above the fog bank, where the grey turns to blue, is the peaks of the alps. On a fine day, these would be more impressive.
A really charming little village.
From the sublime (above) to the ridiculous (below).
Like so much of this area, its Savoy history has left a distinctly French mark in the architecture.
A town of two halves – the new and newer part at the bottom of the hill (above) and the old borgo with it’s huge villa and castle (below). While we were walking by the torrente Rea (river) in the twilight, we were astonished to see what, at first, we took to be rocks suddenly start to move and swim. As they got nearer, we realised they were nutrie (coypu) and there were hundreds of them. Further research has revealed that there is a serious invasion of nutrie in the Tanaro river basin and its tributaries.
The wine tasting piazza outside the Cantina Comunale.
The castle was at one time owned by Camillo Benso, Count of Cavour who became known as the Architect of the Unification of Italy. Today, this beautifully restored building holds a museum, wine shop and the Michelin star restaurant, Marc Lanteri Al Castello.
Small village. Big wine.
The beautiful castle in Costiglione is now the home of the Italian Cooking Institute for Foreigners. Inside is a restaurant enabling you to enjoy the results of the next generation of international chefs.
The only part of the old castle that is still in regular use is the cantina (below).