My new book The Wines and Foods of Piemonte is the result of more than 15 years of traveling to this great wine region and getting to know dozens of the most influential wine producers, winemakers and chefs. I have included more than twenty one-on-one interviews with these individuals in my book; these serve both as a complement to my overview of the region and its most notable wines, as well as valuable insights into the Piemontese view of wine and food.
At the end of this post, there is a link to the information about how to pirchase the book. For now, here are excerpts from a few of these interviews:
Gianluca Grasso, enologist, Elio Grasso (Photo ©Tom Hyland)
Gianluca Grasso, replying to a question about his work as winemaker:
“Wherever I go, people ask me, are you the winemaker? I tell them, yes, I am the winemaker, but the most important thing here in this area is the fact that you don’t need the winemaker, but you must be a great grape grower – that’s the key. That’s point #1 – only with great grapes are we able to make great wines. If the grapes are just okay, then the wines will be just okay.”
Danilo Drocco, enologist, Fontanafredda (Photo ©Tom Hyland)
Danilo Drocco, replying to a question about the Barolos he produces. Are they better today than in the past?
“The increase in the quality of the wine depends in my opinion of at least 90% in the increase of the quality of the grape. The grapes I crushed 15 years ago are completely different in terms of talking about quantity of grape per vine, maturation of the tannins. Now it’s much better, as we have more knowledge of these qualities.”
Raffaella Bologna, Braida (Photo ©Tom Hyland)
Raffaella Bologna, replying to a question about her thoughts on Barbera, her winery’s most famous offerings.
“It’s a red wine that pleases the farmer. It can be feminine as a wine. But it can also be masculine, more power, more extract, a little bit more reserve. Something that I love in wine is that it’s never the same, everything is a challenge. Barbera, compared to other grapes in Piemonte, is the one that allows you to be more of an artist in a way; like an artist, it’s very versatile.”
Enrico Scavino (Photo ©Tom Hyland)
Enrico Scavino, proprietor of the Paolo Scavino estate in Castiglione Falletto, responding to a question about his family’s work:
“Some winemakers have agronomists, winemakers and others; they are set up as an investment, but here, there’s only myself along with my two daughters. There is no agronomist, so our touch comes from the heart.”
Pietro Ratti (Photo ©Tom Hyland)
Pietro Ratti, replying to a question about Barolos being priced too low, in comparison to Burgundy and Bordeaux:
“The top Burgundies are way more expensive than our Barolos. My hope is that Barolo will be even more expensive in the future even more than now. Of course, that is the hope for any winery. Barolo in general is undervalued.”
Luca Currado (Photo ©Tom Hyland)
Luca Currado, winemaker at Vietti, replying to a question about the style of his winery’s Barolos:
“My father was always considered a traditional producer, but I don’t like using this classification because it is basically incorrect; it depends on which vineyard you have. We are lucky, as we have so many grand cru vineyards, so we can tailor the style of vinification and aging according to the characteristic of terroir.
What my father was trying to do, what I’m trying to do is not make a Luca style or an Alfredo style. I think it was something where we step back and do the style of the vineyards.”
Mariacristina Oddero (Photo ©Tom Hyland)
Mariacristina Oddero, replying to a question about whether she is happy with the way that Barolo is being marketed today:
“Not always. For example, in Italy, often no. I see great interest for foreigners. Sometimes foreign people, when they come here, they are very knowledgable about Barolo and they want to learn more.
“I think as far as discussing Barolo with other producers, today it is a little easier than in the past. I see when we have tastings around the world, it is a nice comparison.”
Luca Pellegrino (Photo ©Tom Hyland)
Luca Pellegrino, chef, Ristorante Le Torri, Castiglione Falletto, replying to a question about the famous local pasta, tajarin:
“Today, tajarin is a plate that I think represents this land to the world, as it is often served with the prized tartufi bianchi of Alba: this is unlike the poor dish it once was, as today, we use thirty brown eggs per one kilogram per flour.
“I think that no matter where you go in the area, each chef has his own recipe for tajarin.”
Luca Fassone (Photo ©Tom Hyland)
Luca Fassone, chef, L’Angolo di Rosina, Novello, replying to a question about pairing a younger – and older -Barolo or Barbaresco with food.
“For a young Barolo or Barbaresco, I can match with dishes that are of a strong and intense flavor, preferring meat, such as rabbit, roasted veal or pork. For an older example of these wines, we would certainly match them with plates of a decisive flavor, such as beef stews or dishes of game, hare, wild boar and goat.”
All text ©Tom Hyland, 2016
The Wines and Foods of Piemonte
To purchase the book, click here.