My relatives visit and beautiful sunny weather created a perfect occasion for a trip. We departed equipped with a camera and GPS navigation, that, as often happens, turned out to be useless and wanted me to drive through the fields…
The first stop was Barbaresco. It is a small (650 citizens) and charming town in Lange, famous for precious wine – Barbaresco which is called younger Barolo’s brother (like Barolo is made from the Nebbiolo grapes, but it requires shorter ageing process – 26 months, 9 of which in oak).
Like many small towns in Southern Piedmont, Barbaresco is situated in a very picturesque place, 274 meters above sea level. Driving winding road, surrounded by vineyards, we saw from the distance a characteristic tower – the symbol of the town. It dates back to 11th century and in the Middle Ages it was a part of fortified complex, consisting of the castle, three towers (two, smaller and crenellated and a square one). It was built to defend the village from the Saracens attacks. Then, during 13th century Alba and Asti towns fought for its dominance, in 17th century it was taken by the Savoy Royal family, to became at the end (in 1694) an independent city. During the turbulent history the castle and smaller towers were destroyed and nowadays we can admire only square, massive, thirty-six meters high construction. In the past it was a watchtower to looking for enemies and today it’s a perfect viewpoint for surroundings, Tanaro river included. In 1695 in place of the castle it was built a new construction that now it’s property of Gaja winery.
Ex-church of San Donato is now house of Barabresco Regional Enoteca Wine Shop (Enoteca Regionale del Barbaresco) and it is a real temple of wine, the Barabresco wine, in particular. Under its roof 120 local labels were collected, which gives 90% of total local production. It’s a perfect place not only for Barabresco tasting and shopping, but also for different wine events and it functions as tourist information center, too.
Since Roman times, “nectar of the gods” has taken important part in Barbaresco citizens life. Once the local hills were covered by forest (its name probably derives from barbarica sylva meaning in Latin “wide wood”) that with time gave place for grapevines cultivation. Today 55% of Barbaresco community territory is dedicated for grape growing. Despite Barbaresco wine it’s also a land of Dolcetto d’Alba, Barbera d’Alba, Langhe Chardonnay, Langhe Rosso.
We were charmed by this town – its well-maintained old buildings, vegetation, and because it’s so tiny we felt like in a fairytale… 🙂 Unwillingly we got in to the heated car and we drove to Neive. You can read about this beautiful borgo in my next post.