Where to taste the best wines in Piedmont

Piedmont has always been known for the production of high quality wines.In particular, the Langhe area known for its vines of international prestige, such as Barolo, Nebbiolo and Barbaresco.

Red wines that are part of the Made in Italy known throughout the world, so much so that the Langhe area, together with Roero and Monferrato, has been included in the UNESCO World Heritage List for its artistic and environmental heritage.

There are many wineries that produce this type of wine in the Langhe area, but some stand out for the excellence of their wines. With this in mind, we have compiled a small list of some of the best wineries of the Langhe. In no particular order, here are five of the best wineries to visit you are travelling in the area.
 

La Morandina

A favourite of famous TV presenter Michael Palin, La Morandina winery, its name deriving from the hill upon which it is situated, has belonged to Giulio Morando’s family for 8 generations – that’s around 300 years!

At Morandina, Giulio exclusively produces white wines, including the sweet, sparkling Muscato, which is refreshing and perfect to cool off from the summer heat, as well Chardonnay, which is extremely fruity and aromatic. But red lovers, don’t fear! You can also enjoy a glass of the winery’s Barbaresco or Barbera wines from their vineyards in Neive and Montegrosso! All tipples can be enjoyed in the amazing surroundings of the winery’s arched, brick cellar, or in the natural surroundings of the vines that made the produce possible!

Enjoy local produce as you sip, from goat’s cheese and artisanal salami, to Giulio’s home cooked sausage in aromatic rosemary sauce, whilst you listen to the clinking sound of the modern machine putting stoppers into bottles ready to be exported all around the world. Don’t forget to take a look at the old-fashioned filtration taps to get an idea of how the process used to take place before modern technology reached La Morandina.

The winery is also well situated to explore the other delights of the Piedmont region, including panoramic views across never ending vineyards, nearby truffle hunting possibilities and 3 historic castles such as Castello Mango, Calasso and Castiglio da D’Asti, one of which was visited by Napolean Bonepart himself.


La Morandina Wines

La Morandina

La Morandina Wines
 


Baracco Pietro

Baracco Pietro is a small winery located in Balluri, currently run by Renato Baracco, who’s family have owned the business for 3/4 generations. Be welcomed by the family dog at the front gate before you explore the unassuming building, that boasts a cellar full of pressing machines, inox tanks and wooden aging barrels all ready to produce some of the highest quality wines you’ve ever tasted, untainted by unnatural pesticides and fertilisers! 

From Dolcetto D’Alba DOC to Barbara D’Alba Superiore DOC, Bebbiolo D’Alba DOC to renowned Barbaresco DOCG (and even a La Vino Rosato for rosé lovers!), there are plenty of varieties to try whilst sat around a warm and friendly table, laid with creamy sheep and goats milk cheese, as well cured meats produced by Renato’s friend a few houses down the road.

Baracco Pietro Winery

Baracco Pietro Winery
 

Marchesi Alfieri

Marchesi Alfieri is not just a beautiful winery, but also the home of a historic castle that dates back to the 17th Century and was owned by the Alfieri family. 

Whilst one the most famous members of the Alfieri family was Camillo Benso, Conte de Cavour who was renowned for being the first minister in unified Italy in 1861, the “last Alfieri”, Adele (also known by the nickname “Tota” meaning unmarried woman) died in 1937. She passed the winery onto cousins who still operate the business today, with the help of winemaker and Director Mario Oliviero. 

Producing mainly red wines, with 50% of their produce being Barbera (La Tota Barbera is named after Adele) this is a perfect place to visit for lovers of vino rosso. Enjoy the tour of the surrounding parkland, which was created in the mid 1800s in an English style, and boasts a beautiful oak tree that has stood fast for 300 years! Fun fact: the park was built on the original site of the nearby village, which was moved to make the creation possible! 

Afterwards you are invited to explore the palatial Orangery, under which is the wine cellar, where oak barrels (both the larger traditional Piedmont style, and the smaller style that the Count introduced to the winery after working in France) line the walls, as well as a stone plaque adorned with the Alfieri family symbol of an eagle, and the year 1705, which is the only piece of evidence that suggests when the winery was founded.

Marchese Alfieri Wines

Marchese Alfieri Winery

Marchese Alfieri Winery
 


Cantine Massucco

Currently run by Massucco brothers Loris and Roberto, Massucco winery has been in the family for 4 generations and boasts an impressive “history of the winery” in their cellar (or barrel room), with an extensive shelf that holds copious dusty bottles of every wine that the family has produced since the winery was founded 1983! Whilst one of their top red wines is their Roero, which has one a plethora of awards, their “Nonno Vet DOCG” is affectionately named after their founder, and is made with Piedmont region’s signature

Nebbiolo grapes. As well as reds, Massucco also produce a range of white, sweet and sparkling wines, as well as grappa, which are fermented and aged in either their large Italian style barrels made in Asti, or French “barriques”. They even have a colourfully painted cement fermenting tank which contrasts the traditional French oak vessels that populate their cellar. In keeping with the family values of the winery, Massucco also boasts a beautiful restaurant called “Le Vigne e I Faló” in which the brother’s cousin, Gabriella, is the chef. It’s the perfect spot to enjoy an aperitivo lunch or sunset diner, whilst overlooking the panoramic view of Piedmont’s vineyards from the restaurant’s wall of glass windows.

Massucco Wines



Cantine Massucco
 


Contratto

Set in the historic village of Cannelli, the birthplace of Italian sparkling wine, Contratto is not just a beautiful winery, it is, along with three other wineries in Canelli, a UNESCO world heritage site! 

Renowned for its expansive “wine cathedrals” (who said drinking vino isn’t a religious experience?) that were carved into the heart of Canelli’s hill around in the 1850s, Contratto is a romantic, fantastical underground network, populated with 1.5 million dusty bottles of predominantly sparkling wine – after all they were the first winery in Italy to start producing the fizzy stuff! Contratto follows the famous “Metodo Classico” - similar to the Champagne method – a traditional process which includes one man turning all 15,000 bottles by hand at small degrees to help encourage the sediment to sink to the neck of the bottle, a job which he can complete on his own in just 1 hour! This sense of sticking to tradition and honouring history runs throughout the winery, and there are particularly evident allusions to the early 20 th Century. 

First and foremost, Contratto’s memorable 1920s poster designed by the father of Italian poster art, Leonetto Capiello, still adorns bottles and brick cellar walls alike. Even the lighting system in the tunnel of rosé originates from the 20s! But of course, some things do change, and since 2011 Contratto has been owned by renowned winery La Spinetta (who also have a very memorable logo of a rhino, drawn by German artist Albrecht Dürer from a description by his friend), and is under the direction of lead wine maker Giorgio Rivetti. 

If one winery isn’t enough for you, why not take in Contratto and La Spinetta together, with a joint tour that includes a delicious lunch at Ape Bar in Santo Stefano Belbo to help soak up all the bubbles.

Contratto Wines

Contratto Winery

Contratto Winery

(Photos credit Jonathan May)