Tag Archives: wine

Barolo tasting as easy as 1, 2, 3…and 4

Enoteca Regionale del Barolo

If you’ve chanced upon this page looking for expert advice on Barolo the wine, I’m sorry, but expert I am not. What I can tell you, however, is how easy, fun, and educational an afternoon of wine-tasting can be if you visit the Enoteca Regionale in Barolo. With 32 labels to choose from, I dare you to walk out of there without feeling several sips wiser on tasting Barolo!

Barolo 101: the soil

Made from 100% Nebbiolo grapes, one Barolo can differ from another depending on the type of soil where the grapes were grown. Vines grown in sandy terrain yield wines that are fruity and less tannic, while vines grown in clay are more tannic. The enoteca takes the guess-work out of where to begin by grouping various Barolo in 3 soil types: sand, sand and clay, clay.

Each category has 8 labels to select from. This gives visitors an ample opportunity to note the nuances between various winemakers in any given soil type. Not fond of the harshness of tannins? Stick with category 1. Want to try them all? Start tasting in numerical order from less tannic to more tannic. A 4th and final category is dedicated entirely to bottles of aged Barolo. We tried only one (year 1984) and it tasted almost like a dessert wine.

Barolo 101: pick a wine, any wine

You’ll need to leave an identity document with the staff to receive a wine card and wine glasses. The automated system is super easy: insert card in single slot above category, place glass under dispenser, push screen to dispense, remove card and carry on.

Enoteca Regionale del Barolo

Pours are about 1/8th of a cup. Prices are listed for each label and range from 2€ to 4€ (the older Barolo in category 4). When you’re done, return card to the staff and they’ll total your pours. Great way for a do-it-yourself introduction to Barolo, and you can purchase bottles to bring home. Nice plus: the enoteca is dog-friendly too.

Barolo tasting Mister B hiding out in Barolo

Mister B was so terrified but he found a hiding spot from which to check things out.

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Nice, France unpacked

Two dogs and a dozen baguettes

“MISTER, I know you can smell these freshly baked baguettes but these are not for you!”

We are very lucky dog parents to a dynamic duo who don’t turn into troublemakers (well, not always) as soon as no one is looking. But with a keen sense of smell and Mister B’s taste for bread, I bet it wasn’t easy having a warm bag of fragrant baguettes securely tucked in and sitting in the back with them. Poor guy, just look at his face!

Potato chips from France
Note the Mackie’s Mature Cheddar & Onion and Haggis & Cracked Black Pepper!

If I were to come up with a Top 10 list of goodies to bring back from France, potato chips would be at #1, cheese #2, wine #3, chocolate, cookies, baking ingredients, seasonal produce, soap bars, kitchenware (♥ Emile Henry) and baguettes for the rest and in no particular order. If anyone here in Italy knows of where to find Mackie’s line of products, ice cream included, please share in the comments!

Groceries from Auchan

L-R: McVitie’s Hob’Nobs, 1 kilo-size icing sugar (Italy sells tiny bags), bottle of vanilla extract (difficult to find anything larger than teeny vials over here), wine, Scott’s porage oats.
Front: pâtisson/scallop squash, vanilla beans, thai oiseau peppers, turkish figs, McVitie’s Sablés Anglais, potimarron/red kuri squash. All purchased at Auchan – La Trinite – in Nice.

Dining al fresco: breakfast, lunch, dinner & merenda

While our neighbors come and go on their respective summer holidays (it seems that when one family returns, another one takes off), we take advantage of good weather days by eating outdoors whenever the mood hits. Lazy weekend breakfasts, quick and easy lunches, picnic dinners, and best of all, a late afternoon merenda (snack) with a glass of wine and a plate of nibbles. We have a couple of days planned in Tuscany to check out local food festivals, but other than that, we’re fine with the rest of the season looking like this.

Breakfast al fresco
Stonewall Kitchen pancakes, cappuccino, greek yogurt, fresh fruit, and canadian maple syrup!

Teddy Bear Picnic Day 2014
Freeze-n-serve mojito, gazpacho, bbq ribs, farro salad and chocolate-hazelnut tart.

Merenda al fresco

Piromàfo made from 100% Negramaro grapes. The name, of Greek origin, literally means “fire fighter”. From the website: The local population uses this word to indicate heat-refracting soil. The name of the grape Negroamaro has very old origins; it seems to be composed from the link of two words, niger and mavro, one in Latin and the other in Greek, that in both languages have the same meaning black or dark, just like the colour of the wine. Pair with roasts, game, raw shellfish. Very good also at the end of a meal as a meditation wine.