If you haven't tasted a glass of Barolo, you haven't lived; after all, it's not called "the King of Wines" for nothing. Sure, you've probably scoffed at the triple-digit prices on restaurant menus in the U.S., but have a sip of a properly aged Barolo, and it will entirely change your outlook on red wines. Here's a little background about the grape and things to do in the grape's home, the Piedmont region.
The first thing you should understand about Barolo is that it's actually made from the Nebiolo grape. From that same grape come Nebiolos, Barberas, and Barbaresco wines. Barolos must be aged at least three years before sale and five years before it's considered a riserva; but most say the wine is best enjoyed between 10 and 30 years of age.
While you're in the Piedmont area, head over to Cantina Comunale di Castiglione Falletto. They hold daily wine tastings and even offer walking tours around the countless vineyards in the area – truly a can't-miss if you want to get an up-close and personal look at the region's vineyards, walk through rows of grapes, and cool off afterwards with some wines.
After you've had your fill of vino for the day, head over to Bovio Ristorante in La Morra. Set on a hill overlooking the Piedmont region, this place is clearly a local hangout, judging by how many people are speaking Italian (and the fact that the waiters speak very little English), so you know it's legit. You'll dine on dishes that are generously topped with white and black truffles, a true sign you're in Italy – dishes like these would set you back hundreds in the U.S (main courses start at around $23).
If you're looking for a central location to rest your head, Le Torri Hotel in Castiglione Falletto is a good choice. From there you can drive to nearby towns, explore countless vineyards, while at the same time enjoying the charm of a small, barely touristy Piedmontese town (rates start around $120/per night).
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