Piedmont Italy–final days
Yesterday we visited e. Pira, one of the few female owned wineries. Today we visit two wineries in another region of Piedmont (peed-mon-Tay)–Alba & Asti. First, La Spinetta. Very contemporary and modest building in the middle of vineyards and we are met by Vanessa who is our hostess and guide for the day. She is lively, and in fact, brings the art of winemaking to life. When she speaks of yeast, she uses words like…alive, actively eating the sugar, it sleeps, and dies–all controlled by the winemaker. Grape types, timing, balance, blending, steel vats, oak barrels, to filer, not to filter, aging, sandy soil, clay soil, pruning — all these words and more are tossed out to 19 wine lovers who have varying levels of comprehension and retention. And then the tasting; we admire, swirl, smell, taste while Vanessa cleverly teases us with foods that would be a magical match. “Imagine shrimp, salmon, grilled meats or strawberries and pound cake” She does this with each of the seven selections. By the end we are starving!
With La Spinetta in the rear view mirror, we head to APE (Ahh-pay) short for “aperitif” for lunch. Homemade prosciutto, gnocchi, tiramisu and of course lots of wine.
In contrast with the modern La Spinetta, Contratto is an old winery that has been making sparkling wine for 150 years, in fact it is the oldest maker of sparkling wine in Italy. Vanessa leads us down, down into the cellars where a million and a half bottles are stored. It is vast and overwhelming–and then the tasting! A long table dressed wth linen, and laid with meats, cheeses and breads is there to compliment the three sparkling wines. Oh my goodness. What a way to end a grand day.