My first barrel tasting was also my first wine tasting
Lucky me. Barrel tasting with Elio at his winery in Cinque Terre was an extraordinary experience and was the catapult that has led to so many wonderful experiences. My family was vacationing in the area and coincidentally Elio was there tending to his grapes. My dad managed to arrange a visit, a visit that turned out to be legendary.
The visit started with a trip in the vineyards. Have you ever been to Cinque Terre? Let me tell you, it’s steep and rough terrain, so how they do vineyard work is beyond me! There’s no way to bring a tractor down, so they have to do everything by hand. Yikes! And harvest time? Carrying all those baskets of grapes up and down that steep uneven hill? It’s only for a certain type of superhuman!
After the trip in the vineyard, he brought us to the cellar, where we proceeded to barrel taste! Keep in mind, I was only 18 at the time and this was my first wine experience whatsoever. The whole concept blew my mind and I marveled at the man standing before me. How could this (older) man have so much energy (and be in such good shape)? I had never met a person like him before and I was amazed at his passion and love for what was to me only grapes back then. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that I started to love wine shortly after we met Elio.
If you ever have the chance to meet him (and his incredible daugther Silvia) take it! And I recommend traveling to Cinque Terre, if not for the wine then for the beautiful landscape!
About 5 years ago I was on a family vacation in Portovenere and we happened to be there at the same time as Elio Altare. My dad was able to organize a tour of the vineyards and the small winery Elio has in Cinqueterre. This was my first wine experience ever.
Elio Altare, my brother Ask and me in Cinqueterre
Elio took us into the vineyards along the cliffs of Cinqueterre. The terrain was rough, very steep and there is not really any equipment that can move up and down the hills so everything has to be carried, even the grapes during the harvest.
Pinner, Cavallotto: Cavallotto is obe of my favorite producers, their reds are fantastic. But I also love their whites. They make two, a Langhe Chardonnay and their Pinner. Although they are both good, I prefer the Pinner. It’s a 100% Pinot Noir
Herzu, Ettore Germano: Mr. Sergio Germano makes many good wines, but the Herzu is by far my favorite! It’s a Riesling, but tastes nothing like it. It’s fresh and earthy, and not that sweet. I definitely recommend it.
Cinqueterre, Elio Altare: Elio has a big heart, an ambitious mind and kind soul. His project in Cinqueterre is helping save the land and prevent more mudslides. He makes wine on the steep hills near the ocean. It’s hard work, all done by hand and that’s why the wines are a little expensive. His Cinqueterre white wine is one of my favorites. You can read about the project on his website: http://www.elioaltare.com/en/cinqueterre-cantina-campogrande/13 There is also another post on my previous blog, you can read it here: http://piemontegirl92.blogspot.com/search/label/cinqueterre