Italy was a blast!

So a few weeks ago I managed to escape my vacation and write a brief summary about some wine in Tuscany. I've been quiet ever since… Mostly because I was busy – busy vacationing.

Have no fear though, I have some stories to share!

Firstly. That Barolo I tried was a complete bomb. For a Barolo it was lacking in every department and if I had tasted it blind I would have skipped it immediately. Then again we tried an Asti from the same producer and it was also in the range of terrible; so perhaps it's the producer. Hrm. Regardless, we did have some amazing regional wine (mostly in the 5-10 euro range), which ranged from good to spectacular. So I suppose the same rule applies when shopping for wine abroad – picking wine straight off the shelf can yield unexpected results.

Rant over. Now onto some travel.

After Tuscany we headed south to Rome. Rome is busy. Very busy. Very very busy. Did I mention it's busy down there?

One evening we decided to find a slightly higher end restaurant outside the main super tourist areas of Rome. We ended up at a fancy rooftop restaurant; of which I was stoked to see a fairly large wine list. I was interested in trying some regional wines from Campagnawhich is the province in which Rome is located correction: Rome is located in Lazio. However upon my order the waiter quickly and quite emphatically suggested that I NOT order the wine I chose. This was a bit shocking as I've never actually been told to not order something I had selected myself, but ok.. I asked for a suggestion of another Campagna wine and was promptly told that all the wine they carried from the region was crap, and I should get a Primitivo from southern Italy instead – Manduria to be specific – by Felline (seemed to be non vintage too).

Wine in Rome

Luckily it was actually quite good. Also lucky that everyone at the table seems to like Zinfandel. πŸ™‚ Nothing else to report from Rome, it was busy.


We then left for the island of Sardegna (English speakers tend to call it Sardinia). This place is awesome. That is all. Actually no wait, there actually produce a TONNE of wine, and it's quite good. Oh and lots of Limoncino (a hard liquor made of lemons).

Theeeeeen… After a five hour boat ride, and what should have been a three to four hour drive (which took about eight due to crazy traffic in Rome and Naples) we arrived at the Amalfi coast. Barely mind you as we got rear ended while crawling around in gridlock around the Rome ring road, then was almost part of a high speed three lane pileup because someone was impatient at 150km/h and decided to come into our lane without shoulder checking. I digress.. Our place was super quaint and overlooked a corner of the gulf. Good times.

Nona special blend - Amalfi

Um, yes. Stunning again. How do did they build all this up on cliffs?! But more importantly what kinda grapes do they grow here. I wasn't sure. And neither was Nona – who happened to be this old lady who manned the local grocery store. We managed to buy a few bottles of her home made super dark red wine. She was quite proud of it, and clearly stated that it was far better than anything with a label on it. Not only was it pretty good, but insanely inexpensive (3 Euros). Very fruit forward, yet held some character. We visited Nona a few times before leaving.

Last but not least. Alba and the Barolo region. Alba is world famous for a few things, the slow food movement, truffles and the king of italian wines.

We arrived right before peak harvest time for both truffles and wine. We managed to stay close to town and even indulged one night to experience the best meal of our lives at a double michelin star restaurant in town. Which in turn was simply a mind blowing experience – I've never been served so many Amuse-bouches in my entire life combined!

Of course we did venture out of Alba and in the surrounding wine area meccas of the Piedmont region. I have never, ever, ever seen anything quite like this place. There are vineyards absolutely EVERYWHERE. Up the steepest of hills, crossing roads even in peoples yards. I think they grow wine here. Yikes.

View from the town of Barolo

Touring this region was quite a lot different than my previous experiences. Wineries don't exactly lend out a long arm inviting the many tourists flocking the region to come by. We did however manage to visit a few including Cannubi and a past WineCollective feature Andrea Oberto. Speaking of which we were touched to be toured around the Oberto residence and try a bunch of their wines (all quite amazing to be honest). Their entry level Dolcetto is quite spectacular for the price. I have a sneaking suspicion we may be featuring something from them again in the future. πŸ™‚

So um, that's that. Well mostly. We ended up driving up to Chamonix (France) for an evening and went up the Aiguille du Midi to get a closer look at Mont Blanc. Absolutely breathtaking. Literally, since you're standing at close to 14,000 feet. Little known fact: if I lived in France I would be a very very fat man. I love bread, and their pastries are to die for. Thus we returned to Frankfurt (Germany) and promptly flew home.

Now back to work. πŸ˜‰