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The Wines of Elvio Cogno, A Beautiful Expression of Barolo

This past summer I spent four days in Piedmont, the northern Italy wine region famous for Barolo and Barbaresco.  I wanted to understand the Nebbiolo grape, and the differences in Barolo and Barbaresco.  Going to the place where the vineyards are planted and the wine is made is the best way to learn about this grape that only grows well in the region called the Langhe, a beautiful valley carpeted in vines up and down the gently rolling slopes, punctuated by hilltop villages. Of my four or five winery visits, my absolute favorite was Elvio Cogno, a small producer whose family vineyard and winery is located just outside the village of Barolo. I discovered Cogno at one of the Wine & Spirits top 100 tastings in San Francisco.  In 2011 Cogno was the Winery of the Year.  I kept the brochure with my tasting notes.  When it came time to…

When in Piemonte, Italy The Winery You Must Visit

Going to wine country in Italy is not quite like visiting Napa Valley or Sonoma County in California.  While things are getting easier for wine tourists, you just can’t show up and expect to be able to go taste at any winery you want to.  The concept of a tasting room open daily to visitors is still something that’s not as common in the region that is home to Barolo and Barbaresco.  But one winery has recognized the need for opening its doors to wine lovers.  That’s why you can visit the Ceretto winery and be treated not only to great wine but eye-catching art too. The main Ceretto winery is in Alba, just outside of the historic downtown area.  The building was a farmhouse that belonged to Vittorio Emanuele II, the famous king who ruled the newly unified Italy in the mid 1800s.  Now it is the Ceretto…