On entering the winery it was immediate at how small this part of their operation was in comparision to their operation down in the valley. All the crushing, fermenting and ageing took part in two small adjacent rooms, with some fine oak casks being reserved for these wines. It didn't take us long to walk around this small but perfectly formed winery and head up to the tasting room where we would be tasting a full range of wines that are available from Araldica.
(Barbera vineyards used for the Crocera Barbera at Il Cascinone)
First we went though a range of white wines, starting at crisp Pinot Grigios, soft Garganegas, intriguing Rieslings, toasty Chardonnays and finally elegant Gavis. My personal favourite was a 2008 Riesling which was like a flavour bomb going off in your mouth!
There is a restaurant attached to this winery, but it closes in January unfortunately. We were lucky enough though for one of the chefs to come and prepare us a fabulous buffet to soak up some of the wines we had been tasting. The restaurant is now #1 on tripadvisor in Piedmont, so if you're ever out here you should absolutely go and visit it. After lunch we took a stroll around the estate in the glorious sunshine and just enjoyed the calm and peaceful surroundings.
(the group enjoying the sunshine at Il Cascinone - Barbera vineyards behind us as far as the eye could see)
We then came back to the tasting rooms and went through a range of their red wines, from simple youthful Barberas, smooth Merlots, oak aged Barberas to bold Barolos. One of the wines 'Conan the Barbera' had been made by Graham from Boutinot who was with us on this trip which was amazing.
A siesta was very much required after all the wines (I think we tasted about 40.....) before we went for our last meal together at Acqui Terme. This town has a natural thermal spring running through it which we visited on route to the restaurant. It was remarkable at how hot the water was!!!
(Fountain in Acqui Terme where the thermal waters can be seen)
We eventually found our restaurant for the night after walking round all the beautiful alleyways where we were wined and dined and enjoyed some very unique wines from across Italy.
This was a truly phenomenal trip where we were able to see, taste and learn about the distinct wines from this area, and also understand how they have been made to complement the local cuisine through the ages. From what we witnessed, wines made in this region are made with passion, dedication and a little bit of love - and do you know what, thats a really nice thing to know when you drink a glass of wine from these hardworking winemakers.
Oh, and at the time of writing this they have had their cold snap and snow is falling thick and fast so the 2014 vintage looks set to be off to a good start.