Winefriend by David Way

Writing about the wines of Piemonte, Italy and France


The wines of Piemonte/Piedmont 

Guido Rivella, Barbaresco Montestefano vertical 2010-2019

Diary 45: Guido Rivella’s Barbaresco Montestefano, a vertical tasting

I was fortunate to attend a complete vertical tasting of Guido Rivella’s Barbaresco Montestefano, courtesy of Ultravino, his UK importer. Ultravino is doing a great job finding hands-on winemakers producing small volumes of really high-quality wines from Piemonte. It has been impossible to visit every important winery for my forthcoming book on The Wines of

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Alba DOC in tonneaux

Diary 44: Alba DOC really does exist…and it’s not what you think it is!

Is Alba DOC the same as Barbera d’Alba? Barbera d’Alba, Dolcetto d’Alba and Nebbiolo d’Alba are all well-known Piedmontese DOCs. The former two are important as they represent Barbera and Dolcetto in and around Barolo and Barbaresco, even if there are also specialist DOCGs in this area for Dolcetto. By contrast, Alba DOC is an

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Moscato d'Asti vertical 2021 back to 2014

Diary 43: a final long visit to Langhe and Monferrato?

I started work on my book, The Wines of Piemonte, for the Classic Wine Library in October 2019. The idea was to deliver the text for this 300-page book in three years. However, Covid 19 had other ideas. Fortunately, I was hugely helped by the growers who sent me samples during lockdown and were happy

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David with all the wines of the Nascetta di Novello association

Diary 42: rare varieties around Barolo

Barolo is of course made with the Nebbiolo grape but there are also rare varieties around the Barolo area. For me, the week of 18–23 July 2022 was devoted to Pelaverga piccolo, Gamba di Pernice, Nascetta and Croatina. With, naturally, some fine Barolo along the way. All of this research contributes to my forthcoming book,

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Carema, pilun

Diary 41: Piemonte–wine regions for the adventurous

Piemonte has wine regions for the adventurous, beyond Barolo, Barbaresco and Nizza. Early May 2022 gave Janet and me the chance to visit the least well-known wine areas of Piemonte, plus some better-known regions that are under-regarded. The former are the three denominations in the Alpine valleys that lead to France. The latter included the

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Diary 40: the small DOCs in Piemonte’s Western Alps

I am about to set off to visit the small DOCs in Piemonte’s Western Alps: Valsusa, Pinerolese and Colline Saluzzesi. To call these little known would be an understatement. I am not sure any journalist has visited them recently, apart from the indefatigable Ian d’Agata. They also boast some extremely rare grape varieties, including Avanà,

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Return to Vinitaly: Padiglione 10–Piemonte

Diary 38: Return to Vinitaly

Vinitaly returns to Verona Vinitaly is the Italian national wine fair, usually a behemoth with 50,000 visitors a day, held in Verona. After two years when Covid prevented the fair from taking place, April 2022 saw its return. Mercifully, it seemed rather smaller in terms of visitors. For example, while the trade does not have

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Diary 37: Tasting Albarossa wine: more than a blockbuster?

Before tasting Albarossa wine, it is good to know something about its story. It is the product of crossing Chatus (also known as Nebbiolo di Dronero) with Barbera in 1938. The aim was to confer some of the elegance and prestige of Nebbiolo onto an offspring of Barbera. Later it was discovered that one parent

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At the heart of Barbaresco, the view from the Produttori

Diary 36: Wine co-operatives: socialist ethos or dynastic leadership?

The socialist ethos of co-operatives is often noticed, their dynastic leadership pattern less so. I spoke recently with John Leech, Commercial Director of Araldica Castelvero, a major co-operative producing Piemontese wines. The company processes the grapes from 900 hectares of vines, of which they own just under 100 ha. John is particularly a fan of

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Dusk at Bricco Rocche, Barolo

Diary 35: Beginning 2022, an update

The first day of a new year, beginning 2022, feels like a good time to give you an update. The current Covid situation looks bad but hopefully–and who can know?–2022 may allow us to do rather more things in person than 2021 did. Most of all I wish you a healthy and productive new year! 

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