Treasures of the Langhe: Among Vineyards and Truffles

The Langhe, suggestively called Langa in Piedmontese dialect, are among the most enchanting landscapes of Piedmont, a historical region strongly attached to the ancient feudal past of these lands, located between the provinces of Cuneo and Asti, bordering Monferrato and Roero and characterized by a system of hills resulting from a brilliant creativity between the rivers Tanaro, Belbo and Bormida.

Architectural Treasures of the Langhe

The architecture of the lovingly tended vineyards arouses admiration and wonder in the eyes of the beholder.

Here the villages smell of wine and the vine seem to reign from an infinite time. Perfect geometries of rows of vines and essential lines surround small fortified villages clinging to the top of the “bricchi” giving origin to a fascinating and poetic landscape. Admirable is the patient work to shape the sides of the steep slopes with a meticulous and accurate precision. Nebbiolo, Barbera, Dolcetto and other native vines have made the Piedmontese terroir their fertile cradle.

Traditions of the Langhe

The history of the Langhe is intertwined with the history of the people who populate it, gentle, hard-working people who are strongly attached to the value of this place which they have been able to tame and mitigate over time, extrapolating its virtues and hospitality.

The gastronomic tradition of the Langhe is robust and full of flavor, but at the same time genuine and linked to the availability of products in the changing seasons. The cuisine of the area is of peasant origin, made with few ingredients but able to give the right energy intake. Among the most typical recipes are tajarin, agnolotti, boiled meats, and desserts, such as zabaglione and the delicious hazelnut cake, in which the Tonda Gentile hazelnut releases all its flavor.

Fruits of the Langhe

Therefore, it is impossible to think about Langa without associating it mainly to the two enogastronomical treasures it contains: Nebbiolo and Tuber magnum pico. The one wrapped by the fog, the other cuddled by the earth. They share a perfect symbiosis with their territory of origin, which seems to protect their inimitable and extraordinary peculiarities. In both, qualities such as aroma, structure and fragrance are a source of great pride for Piedmont.

The White Truffle of Alba truffle tells of the magic of the land from which it comes, just as Nebbiolo, a delicate and difficult grape variety, brings the culture of the Langhe to national and international tables. Their combination on the palate is extraordinary.

Tasting the Langhe

During the World Truffle Market in Alba, wine lovers cannot miss the Wine Tasting Experience®, an important tasting event conceived and promoted by Strada del Barolo e grandi vini di Langa.

White Truffle of Alba – Tartufo Bianco d’Alba

At the Wine Tasting Experience opens the dances the lively Arneis, also known as Nebbiolo bianco, an ancient autochthonous white berried grape, difficult and rebellious to cultivate (it ripens late and has a medium acidity). The resulting wine expresses itself on fruity and floral notes (citrus, pears, almonds) and away with more subtle notes of herbs, white flowers, orange blossom and licorice. It has an excellent sapidity and a medium structure, the drink is immediate and the sip is pleasant. Never aggressive, but with a nice character!

Next with the reds, starting with Dolcetto d’Alba, a red grape variety that generously gladdens life among the Langhe hillsides. Intense ruby red color with violet reflections, to the nose it gives a purely fruity bouquet, to the palate it is dry and firm with a discreet tannin of medium astringency and a clear aftertaste of bitter almond.

White Truffle of Alba – Tartufo Bianco d’Alba

We then move on to Barbera, the vine that in its history has always cheered the daily moments of the peasant reality for its vigor and abundance in the yield in the vineyard, unlike Nebbiolo, reserved for small production for special occasions.

Fog in the Langa
Fog in the Langa

Barbera is a versatile wine of great amiability, with an intense and lively color, with clear olfactory hints of red fruit and flowers and a light spicy touch that makes it appetizing. 

Tannins are firm but not aggressive at all, the body is slender and sometimes slightly nervous because of the strong acidity.

Its strong point is its ability to adapt to different convivial circumstances: an aperitif accompanying the most typical Piedmontese hors d’oeuvre such as vitello tonnato (veal with tuna sauce) or next to cold cuts, up to holding its own with sophisticated dishes in its more structured guise.

Vine pruning

Its strong point is its ability to adapt to different convivial circumstances: an aperitif accompanying the most typical Piedmontese hors d’oeuvre such as vitello tonnato (veal with tuna sauce) or next to cold cuts, up to holding its own with sophisticated dishes in its more structured guise.

To close the tasting, the noble grape par excellence, the wine of kings and the king of wines, His Majesty Nebbiolo.

It is a difficult vine to cultivate: it loves light, has a slow ripening process which lasts until November and is often harvested in the autumn fog.

Volta Castle – Castello della Volta

In this regard, the name derives from the fogs that envelop the hills of Langhe, creating a sort of white sea that floods the vineyards.

The emblem of Piedmontese enology shows a light ruby red color tending to orange with the evolution. To the nose it opens with delicate fruity and floral notes when young, and then increases to etheric scents after aging. The aging capacity of Nebbiolo is legendary and with age it develops all its potential, it is a grape that has made time its ally. The attack on the palate is dry and direct, the tannins are vertical and ample and are expressed with great immediacy in the first years and then rounded off arriving at a velvety taste sensation after ageing. Ideal in combination with local dishes and not of important aromatic persistence.

Vineyards in La Morra

After a stay in the Langhe, while you are on your way home, it is natural to think about when you will return… You can never get enough of certain landscapes, flavors and scents and then, in this land of vineyards and castles, wine is king here!

Lara Moro

Photo credit Mario Ferrero – Road of Barolo and great wines of Langa

Photo credit Davide Carletti – Truffle Fair Authority

Photo credit – Piemonte Italia

Treasures of the Langhe: Among Vineyards and Truffles

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