Two years ago now, I first visited Piedmont, I had been warned I would fall in love and I certainly did. So much so, that could not wait too much longer to visit again, this time with my husband, I was so looking forward to showing him around.
We arrived in late September, neatly timed for the mushroom season. Mushrooms are not one of my favorite foods, however this all changed when I tasted fresh, exquisitely cooked mushrooms in Barbaresco – porcini, lightly fried in butter, garlic and oil, served with a raw egg yolk, they were like vegetarian steaks.
Situated in Italy’s Northwest, the region of Piedmont is home to some of Italy’s most long lived wines and is a real treasure trove, home to Barolo, Barbaresco, truffles, hazelnuts and the Fiat car – the innovative automobile company started in Turin in 1899. The predominant red grapes are the indigenous varieties, Nebbiolo, Barbera and Dolcetto, the whites, Arneis and Moscato. A few of the international varieties are permitted here, Cabernet, Merlot and Chardonnay. Perhaps more than in any other part of Italy, the wines here are distinctly regional and ooze flair. Learning from my previous visit, we stayed as close as possible to where we were eating and drinking each day – by foot is definitely the preferred means of travel. In Barbaresco we stayed at the top of the majestic Martinenga vineyard – our view each morning was down the slope, across the roof of the vineyard and out towards Barolo.
Known officially as ‘Tenuto Cisa Asinari dei Marchesi di Gresy’ and affectionately around here as ‘di Gresy’ this estate has been in the Di Gresy family since 1797. In 1973 Alberto di Gresy put his stamp on the wines, vinefying from the company’s four estates Martinenga , Monte Aribaldo, La Serra and Monte Colombo. Martinenga is considered the greatest of all estates in Barbaresco and is home to the single vineyards Camp Gros (2.58ha) and Gaiun (2.30ha). There’s also an impressive traditional Barbaresco off the central part of the Cru – labelled Martinenga (6.49ha). We were hosted at Marchesi di Gresy by our good friend Jeff Chilcott. New Zealand born Jeff Chilcott is the cellar master and winemaker at di Gresy and a wonderful host.
Jeff is back home visiting family for Christmas and will be in the cellar at Glengarry Victoria Park this Saturday 22nd December from 12 – 3pm tasting a selection of the recent arrivals from Marchesi Di Gresy. I know I’ll be escaping from the Christmas madness for a few hours and popping down to the cellar at Victoria Park, I’d love to see you there.