First of, I do have an account on Vivino. I admit I’m not the most frequent user, but I am trying to post more. The problem for me is that I usually take a picture of the wine and then later I post it on instagram or something, and I always forget about Vivino…
Anyone use it? Love it? Hate it?
Know of any good accounts to follow?
Any tips are welcomed!
For those who are not familiar, Vivino is an app created for those of you who either like reviewing wines or for those who like reading wine reviews. Many consumers will read reviews before purchasing, either in a wine magazine like Decanter or online. The app is an easy way to get quick access to wine reviews. If you want to review a wine you can also read what other people thought of that same wine. It’s a pretty good tool, and I want to get better at using it.
Finally, a visit to Conterno. This winery has been on the list for quite some time, and I was very happy when the dream became reality. Located in Monforte, it has an amazing view (as you can see above) and the winery is recently renovated, absolutely stunning.
Roberto Conterno, the grandson of Giacomo, now runs the winery and he gave us the tour (along with a translator). I personally thought his English was good, but none the less… The winery is relatively small, they produce a small quantity of wine, and as of now they only really make 3 different wines, sometimes 4 when they also make the Monfortino. He uses big botti, a “traditionalist”, and all his wines are aged in wood (none in stainless steel).
The tasting consisted of his Barbera and the 2 barolos. Conterno is known for his Francia, that he uses both for his barbera and one of the barolos. I thought the 2014 Barbera Francia was excellent, which is rather strange, because 2014 was a difficult year and the wines have been so so… Roberto joined us for a glass or two, and passionately explained his philosophy. Overall a fantastic visit.
I have been to Mauro Veglio’s winery many times, both for visits and for a coffee break. But I went back again for a visit this time because my brother had never been for an official winery tour and tasting. It’s always a pleasure to spend time with Daniela, and Mauro of course (although it’s easier to have a conversation with him if you speak Italian). Daniela was kind enough to show us Barolo 2013 from the tanks, so we could compare them to the 2012’s. It’s always interesting to compare vintages.
Looking forward to visiting again soon, and of course drink more of their wines!
My first visit to Pira was a few years ago, and the visit was hilarious. My family and Pira together. We spoke little italian and he claimed to speak very little English. He was either being modest or he got better over the years because he spoke English very well this year. He was accompanied by his daughter this time; he was teaching her to do visits and tours. So while we were tasting it was the daugther that presented the wines, and Pira would add on if needed.
We tasted the 2012’s as well as 2014 Barbera and Nebbiolo and 2015 Dolcetto. I really like the 2012’s, although they will be way better in a few years, they are quite drinkable now. 2014 was a difficult vintage so the wines are not the best compared to the year before or the year after. All in all, a very nice visit! I hope be back very soon!
When you visit with Nadia it’s more like a casual aperitivo than a wine tasting. She offers some salami and cheese, opens a few wines and you just sit around and drink together. I always love coming here, I just have the best time. Nadia is wonderful, extremely funny and very kind. It was a while since I’d been there, and one thing that was very different from last time was her labels! She completely changed them, as you see above. Below are her old labels.
My brother enjoying the wine and salami
The 2012’s are looking really good, it was a treat to taste her 2012 Arborina. She brought out a 2007 so we could compare them, which is always fascinating. The 2007 is showing well. Nadia also makes a Freisa, which is a lesser known wine, but quite a few producers make it. Sometimes it’s fizzy and sometimes not, some make it one way on purpose and others make it so it’s fizzy one year and not fizzy another. Anyways, it was an excellent visit and I hope to be back soon!
During my visit to Beaune this summer, Joseph Voillot was my first visit. It was funny because I emailed them thinking I would probably get the same response as I’d been getting from all other producers saying: “we are closed, we do not take visits”, etc etc. However, he replied that we were welcome to visit and voila: he was penciled in.
I walked around Volnay looking for him, first at what looked like the wine cellar and then at what looked like his house. I rang the bell and a woman (I think maybe his mother) opened. In my terribly limited french I tried to explain I had an appointment. She disappeared into the house and a few minutes later Mr. Voillot was there!
He came directly from the vineyards in his tractor. He lead the way through this very tiny door into a small tasting room. There I tasted through his wines while we had a strange conversation in french/english/gibberish. It’s not easy carrying on a conversation when neither speaks the others language. But we managed and I actually learned a little more about wine. It was a truly fantastic experience and I hope to meet him again soon.
It’s not as easy to get visits with winemakers in Beaune as it is in Barolo, but I was lucky enough to get us in at Michel Lafarge. Personally I do not have a lot of experience with the wines, but I follow the family and winery on social media and know a little about them through there. We were greeted by Frédéric Lafarge, who along with his father now runs the winery. The first thing he did was take us into the vineyards, which has to be one of my favorite things to do when I visit a winery.
While in the vineyard he explained the idea of the Clos, as he has his own Clos “Clos du Château des Ducs”. For those who do not know, it just means that it’s a “monopoly” vineyard that is fenced in. He also tried to show us some mildew, as it is a problem in certain years, but luckily for him and his wines he could not find any.
Inside the winery in the cellar we tasted quite a few wines, both from barrel and bottle. What I find interesting about wine tasting in Bourgogne is that you stand up the whole time. In Barolo, you almost always sit down, at least for part of the tasting. In honesty I don’t remember all the wines we tasted, as I forgot to write it down and was unable to take pictures because we tasted directly from the barrel, but the wines were very good! And I hope to come back and visit again!
This was my first time visiting Gianfranco Alessandria, although not the first time trying his wines. His two daughters, Vittoria and Marta, showed us around and tasted with us. Gianfranco took over the winery after his father died in 1986, which happened to be the year of the freak hailstorm that destroyed all the vines, so no wine was produced that year.
Today the family produced about 45 000 bottles of wine spread out across the different wines. They produce Dolcetto, Barbera, Barbera “Superiore”, Langhe Nebbiolo, Barolo and one Barolo Cru.
We tried the 2015 Dolcetto, Barbera and Langhe Nebbiolo. 2015 is looking good, very powerful and intense compared to the 2014 which are more light. Then we tried the Barbera “Vittoria” 2013, a more concentrated and powerful Barbera due to the age of the vines and the more strict selection of grapes. The 2012 Barolo does not have as strong a structure as the 2011, but it is a more classic vintage. It may take some more time in the bottle, but I though it drank very nicely. Last we tried their Cru, Barolo San Giovanni 2o12. I have tried this before, but a 2000 (it was 15 years old at the time) and it was fantastic. I am excited to see the evolution of the 2012.
In March I went to Manzone for the first time. The winery is located a little outside of Monforte. I was lucky to meet Mirella, Giovanni Manzone’s daughter. Mirella joined her father at the winery in 2012. Giovanni bought a plot of land in 1925 and started making wine, and today they produce 9 different wines.
I tasted 6 wines. We started with the white, a Rossese Bianco. I have never tried it before, it was very interesting, very fun to try. We then moved on to the dolcetto, which is one of my favorite wines. Dolcetto is so easy to drink, very fresh. And Manzone’s was no exception. We then tried the langhe nebbiolo before we moved on to the barolo. We tried 3 different crus. It was very fun to try the different crus together. The only difference between them is the terroir. So the different crus are each an expression of the soil.
It was very nice to meet Mirella and I hope to be back again soon!
I have been the Piemonte region quite a few times, and each time I try to visit some new places. On the list this time was Revello. My good friend Elena is the daughter of the winemaker and she was able to arrange a visit, a tour of the cellar and a tasting of some of their wines. Elena also works at the winery.
Fratelli Revello, Carlo and Enzo, had their first vintage in 1992. The previous years were a mix of selling grapes to other producers, producing wine for their father and even pausing the winemaking to pursue other professions. Recently, Carlo and Enzo split, and so going forward Enzo will be the sole winemaker with the help of his children Elena and Simone.
My favorite part of the visit was the tasting room. One side of the room was completely covered in floor to ceiling windows, and the first thing you see is the beautiful ceder tree. And with this view we tried Barbera d’Alba Ciabot du Re 2013 and Barolo Giachini 2012. Both wonderful. I personally preferred the barbera, but probably only because the barolo 2012 is still quite young!
If you want to read more about Revello check out their website.