Le Langhe: the most beautiful Piedmont to experience in Autumn

Hills like sea waves, the Tanaro River flowing placidly, and the Alps that hug the horizon to the west to temper the climate. We are between Langhe and Roero, lands of wines, hazelnuts and truffles. Autumn is the best time to visit when harvest begins, and a year of work on the land ends, and celebrates it with many festivals and fairs.

 

Driving on these hills (as well as cycling or walking) gives a feeling of tranquility mixed with beauty: because the territory between the provinces of Alessandria, Asti and Cuneo is a microcosm of different environments where man and nature have gone hand in hand for centuries. This area is split between the Lower and Upper Langa. The first is that of the great wines, of Barolo and Barbaresco, but also of Moscato and Dogliani. Here the vineyards draw truly suggestive geometries. The Upper Langa, on the other hand, has higher hills and has among its main products cheeses and hazelnuts.

 

But it is the landscape in its entirety that offers vast and memorable panoramas, dotted by castles that inherit the belligerence of the medieval families who fought for the Piedmontese lands.

 

An inspiring 3-4 days driving itinerary stopping at pleasure from village to village, from cellar to cellar.

ALBA E GRINZANE CAVOUR

The starting point for getting for this world-class drive is Alba. Alba is a small city, as dynamic as it is welcoming in every season, although the best time to visit it is obviously autumn. The historic centre of Alba is of medieval and circular shape: it is pleasant to wander among the picturesque towers and fortress-houses, and then come across the great churches, the Cathedral, and especially San Domenico, one of the most beautiful Romanesque-Gothic monuments of Northern Italy. After that, you must try the white truffle, for which Alba is famous.

 

There are many opportunities, from the colourful Saturday market to the International Alba White Truffle Fair, traditionally held from October to November (aim be there for the Palio degli Asini on the first weekend of October).

 

From Alba, drive for about a quarter of an hour on the Provincial 3Bis to reach Grinzane Cavour, another opportunity for a stop between history and food.

The town’s castle, which dates back to the 13th century, was not only one of Cavour’s favourite residences, but it is also home to the regional Enoteca and the Langhe Ethnographic Museum.

MONFORTE D’ALBA E BOSSOLASCO

Now, take the Provinciale 9 to Monforte d’Alba, where the advice is to familiarise yourself with the Barolo wine, and taste it perhaps on the highest point of the town, a suggestive amphitheatre square overlooked by Palazzo Scarampi, and where you often have the opportunity to attend cultural and musical events.

 

Monforte is one of the favourite destinations of international tourism: inns, taverns, wine bars, and famous wineries make the town among the most lively in the Langhe.

 

From Monforte, you go northwards, along the provincial road 57. Here is the outline of a narrow ridge, covered by a carpet of vineyards that follow in an almost harmonious order. The slender shape of the castle of Serralunga stands out with its slender cylindrical tower, a keep and a turret, which the locals affectionately call “the three locks”.

 

One of the most scenic villages in the Langhe, Bossolasco is certainly worth a visit. The arrival is not difficult, simply follow the provincial 32 for 22 kilometres. Trudge along Corso Umberto I, where almost every door hosts rose plants that have their roots in the paving stones.

 

But Bossolasco is not only picturesque and panoramic,  it also inherits a past in which it was the favourite place of a group of Turin artists who came out of Felice Casorati’s school of painting. In 1960, some of these artists created 28 painted signs for the town’s shops, artisans and public offices. Today, the copies of the signs are posted on a wall in the church square, while the originals are in a small exhibition space near the municipality, opening on request.

vineyards of the Langhe in Piedmont

MURAZZANO E DOGLIANI

A little further south (10 kilometres on the Sp 32) is Murazzano. Praised for its views, it is also an opportunity to taste the Toma cheese, Murazzano Dop, made with sheep’s milk. The tasting can be followed by a pleasant walk that takes you from the sanctuary of the Beata Vergine di Hall, to the door of Buzignano and exits the village to a windmill in a panoramic position.

 

Continuing on our mission of tasting local products, we go up on the Sp 661 for about ten kilometres to find ourselves in Dogliani, a village known precisely for the indigenous production of Dogliani Doc, a wine made from grapes of the Dolcetto vine. Here, even in the sixteenth-century basements of the town hall, there is the Bottega del Vino di Dogliani, which brings together about thirty producers

 

From here, you can go up to the castle, the medieval shelter that occupies the entire hill, a panoramic balcony where you can immortalize the view of the Dogliani basin and the town.

LA MORRA E BAROLO

The first is La Morra, which can be reached by driving north for about twenty minutes on provincial roads 661 and 3. Overlooking the Langhe and the Alps, the town has a medieval layout reminiscent of a folding fan. After admiring the painting by Alberti dedicated to San Martino, you can relax in the square by the Town Hall. Nearby, you will find the Municipal Enoteca. Here you can taste and buy Barolo, Nebbiolo, Dolcetto and Barbera from over 70 producer members of the Municipality of La Morra.

 

From the town, the tasting experience can be concluded with a suggestive footpath through the vineyards to the chapel of the Madonna delle Grazie. The trail is about a kilometre long and descends towards Norzole.

 

A few minutes to experience the grand finale in Barolo, the town that gave its name to one of the noblest Italian wines, produced from the autochthonous Nebbiolo grape, and included in the territory identified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, which has the villages of Grinzane Cavour, Serralunga d’Alba, Monforte d’Alba, Novello and La Morra. A landscape where the vineyard covered hills have been producing Barolo wine since the 11th century.

 

The village rises around the Falletti Castle (or Municipal Castle), located on a hilly spur at a lower altitude than the surrounding hills. The castle is home to the Regional Enoteca of Barolo and the WiMu – Wine Museum. It is worth visiting to participate in a multimedia exhibition (signed by the author of the Turin Cinema Museum) on a journey through the history of grapevine and wine. More eccentric, but equally interesting, is the Corkscrew Museum, located in Piazza Castello. Two essential visits to get even deeper into the local culture and its world-class Barolo wine.

THE CELLARS NOT TO BE MISSED

Leaving you the pleasure of discovery according to your tastes, here are five wineries where tasting and buying are a real experience. In Alba you go to the Adriano brothers for their production of Barbaresco (www.adrianovini.it).

 

To taste the excellent Dogliani, go to Anna Maria Abbona, in Farigliano (www.annamariabbona.it). Of course, you go to Ceretto di Alba to taste great wines, but also to do so in the Acino artist space and to take advantage of the wonderful panoramic point (www.ceretto.it).

 

Finally, in Barolo we go to the Mascarello family, whose cellars have written the history of Barolo wine (www.mascarello.com)