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#1%Info: Piedmont travel diary

1%, U'Wine

Quentin Chaperon, Director of Sourcing and Châteaux Relations and Thomas Hébrard, CEO and Founder of U’Wine were in the beautiful region of Piedmont in Italy to visit some estates. Beautiful memories of tastings, beautiful vineyards and meeting new people, discover their trip…

Thomas: “Before we start, we really liked this region for all its aspects. Indeed, Piedmont is an Italian region known for its wines, but it is also a wonderful place to travel because you can find everything there: the sea is 1.5 hours away, the mountains 2 hours, the wines are fantastic, the vineyards are the most beautiful ones we have ever seen! The estates we visited were very similar to Burgundy and it turns out that the producers in Piedmont drink more Burgundy wines than Bordeaux wines!

Piedmont is not only for wine lovers, but also for hazelnut lovers! In Alba, you walk around surrounded by the smell of chocolate, what a delight! This is probably because the Ferrero factories that create the famous Nutella spread and Ferrero Rocher are located right next door…Of course, lovers of truffles and gastronomy will also be delighted.”

Day 1:

  • To begin this week, we visited and had a tasting at Scarpa Wine where we also had lunch. Scarpa Wine has many well-known wines from Italy such as Barbera Superiore, Barolo, Barbaresco but you also have the possibility to taste vermouth and white wines.
  • Two domains on our schedule for this afternoon: Azienda Agricola Giuseppe Rinaldi where the traditions and modern developments of Barolo merge and Renato Ratti, an estate that has forged a fine reputation by maintaining the utmost respect for the parcel-based vintages.

Day 2:

  • We went to Domaine Nervi, the oldest active winery still in operation in Gattinara. This is also where the sparkling wine named Jefferson comes from, in reference to the US President Thomas Jefferson. When the president visited the region of Piedmont in 1787, he fell in love with Gattinara wine. He took advantage of one USA warship and had it transport two barrels of Gattinara to the White House in 1806!

Day 3:

  • Busy schedule for our third day, we start off at Domaine Elio Grasso, a family estate bottling its own wines since 1978. They really do have one of the most beautiful wine cellars we have ever seen and the wines are delicious!
  • After lunch, we visited Domaine Rocche dei Manzoni, an estate known for its red wines but also its sparkling wines. The production of sparkling wine, which began in 1978 at Rocche dei Manzoni, opened the way for the traditional method of producing these wines. Here, they also have a sparkling wine called “Door 185th” that is exposed to music while the wine is maturing. Following this experiment, they have discovered that the music accelerates the yeast activity and resulted in a better product at the end!
  • We then visited the estate Azienda Agricola Conterno Fantino, this is where we tasted the best Barbera from Alba this week! The Barbera grape can be acidic but when the winemaker does a good job it can become a very nice wine like the one we have tasted here.

Day 4:

  • For our last day in Italy, we had lunch with Giorgio, owner of
  • We then headed to Domaine Gaja, whose Barbaresco plots now produce some of the greatest wines in Italy. It is also a domain that does not only use the grape Nebbiolo, but also Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc. It is quite unique as Nebbiolo is used in most wines from Piedmont, it is a little like Pinot Noir when it comes to colour, but a lot more structured on the palate.
  • The last estate of the day to end this trip in style: Tenute Cisa Asinari dei Marchesi di Grésy. Owner of one single Barbaresco monopoly, in addition to their Chardonnay and Sauvignon, they produce three large parcels: Gaiun, Camp Gros and the well-known Martinenga.

An exciting and enriching trip, as always, made up of amazing encounters, moments shared with the estates and wonderful tastings, in perfect harmony with the spirit and vision of U’Wine.

Our favourites and recommendations if you had to choose in Piedmont:

  • Conterno Fantino
  • La Spinetta (also a very good Chardonnay)
  • Roagna
  • Rinaldi
  • Elio Grasso
  • and of course Bruno Rocca!