May 5, Barolo and Bra
We first visited the family-run winery of Franco Conterno, where we had a tour of the winery (small but typical, though unusually they do most of their own bottling and labeling.) We then had a well-done tasting with Franco's own wild boar sausage and sliced ham, plus local cheeses.
First up was a white wine, Langhe Freisa. Then it was on to the reds, Barbera d'Alba (which I had tried the day before and liked), Nebbiolo, and three versions of Barolo. I had never tried Nebbiolo nor Barolo before; as Sandro explained to us, Barbera is high in acid and low in tannins, whereas Nebbiolo is moderate in acid and high in tannins. As expected from those aspects, I preferred the Barbera and Leslie preferred the Nebbiolo. The Barolos were somewhere in the middle and not to our taste. We ordered some of the Barbera and Nebbiolo to be shipped to us.
We then drove south along one ridge of the Barolo valley, had a walking tour of the town of Barolo with an opportunity to try some delightful gelato - I had the unusual flavor combination of lime with licorice chunks, and it worked surprisingly well. Leslie loved the green apple gelato, containing grated apple, and found it refreshing.
Then it was up the other ridge to Bra, home of cheese maker Giolito, where we had a tour of their cellars and a cheese tasting that included some not-for-sale experiments such as a twice-fermented cheese and a spread combining Gorgonzola and Mascarpone.