Postcard from Piedmont: Barbaresco

Postcard from Piedmont: Barbaresco

by Dejou Marano

Set atop the fertile hills of the Langhe wine region, Barbaresco claims its rightful place as a jewel in the crown that is Piedmont wine country. Surrounded by what seems like endless expanses of Nebbiolo vineyards, Barbaresco welcomes oenophiles into the sanctuary of its city limits with hospitality and country charm.

Upon arriving in Barbaresco, you begin to experience a sort of calming sensation as you are embraced by the tranquility of its tiny streets and pastel storefronts. Barbaresco’s 12th century tower dominates the town skyline, while magnificent vistas of the vineyard lined Langhe hills can be enjoyed from every street corner.

Barbaresco is the real thing. It’s devoid of the type of amusement park kitsch and pay-to-play pretentiousness that one may find in other wine tasting locales. Instead, it is Shangri-La for all who can appreciate the ancient, ruby glow of a fine Barbaresco vintage.

Equally alluring is the fact that most of Barbaresco’s major wineries can be found right in town, which makes tasting the area’s local offerings a truly authentic experience. Vintners, whose families have been crafting their own vintages for centuries, are glad to pour you a glass of their finest while passionately describing the intricacies that went into making it.

If all of the wine tasting is making you hungry, stop into one of Barbaresco’s many trattorias to enjoy some delicious Piemontese fare, or perhaps sample the rustic cheeses and salumi on display at  a local street market. The relaxed atmosphere of the town engages every visitor to become a part of its organic culture, whether it be through its food and wine or through chatting with locals at a shared table in the center of town.

The friendly charisma of Barbaresco is perhaps best epitomized by the Barbaresco Enoteca, located at the entrance of town. A veritable temple devoted to the region’s wines, the site was originally built as the church of San Donato in the mid-19th century by the people of Barbaresco, to give thanks for the bounty of their vineyards.

The Enoteca today serves as a center for the promotion of Barbaresco’s locally produced wines and to educate the public about the history and traditions of the region. It represents 90% of the entire production of the area and houses bottles from over 112 wineries. From free tastings to an in-depth overview of local winemaking techniques, the Enoteca is your warm welcome to Barbaresco.

Whether it be a quiet repose from a day spent discovering the Langhe countryside or an all day exploration of one of Piedmont’s finest wine producing areas, you will undoubtedly leave Barbaresco in the dreamlike haze that can only come from good wine, good food and good company.

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