23 June 2006

....and Barolo for all.....

We get a lot of different requests from our guests that make our business so interesting. A few months ago we recieved a reservation from guests who were friends of friends. I always try to find out what interests our guests so I can attempt to give educated suggestions for things to do and see in our area. This time our guests were traveling from the Cinque Terre up to stay with us in our Olympic mountains via the Langhe most notable for its famous wines, Barbera, Babaresco, and of course the mighty Barolo. Bob, being a knowledgeable wine connoisseur and collector of all things wine, was keen to perhaps meet some Barolo vintners and of course sample a few wines. So after a bit of research and a few forays into our back yard of the Langhe region we made a few contacts and arrangements to have a local wine tasting in the Castiglione Faletto Cantina and dinner in Le Torri restaurant after. We had discovered chef Christina and her husband Angelo's establishment thru a previous guest who also is a chef and had reccommended her after having made her acquaintance in Portland Oregon, when she had been helping to showcase another local Barolo vintner's wine with her cooking. She's a chef committed to using local and fresh ingredients in innovative, interpretations of Piemonte standards. It's a top rate restaurant worth visitng if you find yourself in that area of Piedmont.

We also had a little surprise for our guests as we were able to persuade Giovanni Manzone to join us for the wine tasting. Even though his villa and vinyards were visible from where we sat, his wines were from a different commune and not included in this cantina, but they graciously allowed us to serve his wines as well to enthusiatic approval. Signore Manzone has been getting 94 ratings on his wines in the bible of wines magazine, "Wine Spectator", but according to Bob, it's difficult to get his wines in any quantity in the Denver area. We'll have to see if there's anything we can do about that...Anyway, it was a well received surprise, and more importantly, new friendships forged over an ambient wine tasting and exceptional dinner where language barriers were minimal and camraderie in evidence and high spirits for all, including a few "Cin Cin"s with the table next to us, that, as it turned out to be a Michelin Guide reviewer. We hope they get a star.

Then a late night drive back to Bella Baita where we had our own memorable meal and wine tasting the next night with our new friends before they left on the rest of their whirlwind tour of Italy and Spain. Thanks for the visit and great adventure!

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