An intraweekly post from Luciano Pignataro, who was very much impressed by the Clavesana area when we went to the Langhe to taste wines.
If you are are simple tourists, this week you can skip over this column. If you instead prefer to travel rather than just hurry though, take this Dolcetto and use it as a compass to discover a Low Cost Langa that is certainly older and more intriguing than what people generally think of at the mention of Langa.
Yes, because the wine routes can lead directly from the Barolo Boys who made amazing waves in the 1990s to a 5-Euro bottle produced by the cooperative winery in Clavesana, whose 350 members turn their attention to Dolcetto in the Langa hills.
The difference is quite simple: Around Alba nothing but vineyards, like the fields of grain between Lucania and the Murge, and here, at a 30-minute drive, oak forests, chestnuts, vegetable patches, quiet little towns just like ours in the South. The rural spirit of a land not yet overrun by junk TV.
Here one understands how important cooperative wineries are for guaranteeing income from agriculture, and the ties of the land with a grape varietal, Dolcetto, which 30 years ago was much more in demand than Nebbiolo. Then things changed, thanks to the increase in the importance of exports, coupled with a decrease in local consumption.
Dolcetto is not an Important Wine, rather it's fresh and floral, with nice structure, and perfect for the traditional dishes of the region, starting with the wonderful bell peppers of Carmagnola in anchovy sauce. Fermented only in steel, steel as bright as the steely determination of Anna Bracco, the Cantina's managing director, who gave us a tour one evening, winding beautifully up and down the misty hills as dusk came on. We prefer Dolcetto like this, it has no need of wood to make it enjoyable, just good food.
Drink it during chestnut season, and with pasta e fagioli, and with white meats: it will captivate you, and invite you to discover this corner of Italy, a solid hard-working corner far from the limelight and the travel guides.
If you're travelers and not tourists, of course.
Frazione Madonna della Neve, 19
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