Italian Wine

Moving to Italy | Italian Wine Tours

Happy Hour starting much sooner for you too these days? During our COVID quarantine in Italy, I couldn’t help dreaming of everything I wanted to do when we decided to move to Italy. Sit in a restaurant, visit a winery, and leisurely explore Eataly. Tonight a bottle of Sottimano Barbaresco will be my salve. My reminder that in time #tuttoandràbene everything will be all right.

Italian Wine Tour, Sottimano

These days we all need a little comfort and to me, wine cellars are among the most peaceful places on earth. Right up there with recording booths and private swimming pools. While these sound like disparate places, they all have one thing in common. Sensory deprivation.

Wine cellars are notoriously dark and often hunkered underground far enough to deaden sound. With all other senses fading, smell and taste get heightened creating deeper sense memories. Now when I sink my nose in a glass of Sottimano Barbaresco, I’m transported right back to their cellar. This is where wine grows up. During barrel aging raw fermented juices get shaped into what they will ultimately become when bottled.

At Sottimano Barbaresco is King

Each year Sottimano Wines in Piedmont, Italy releases 85,000 bottles. 20,000 Dolcetto, 12,000 Barbera d’Alba, 20,000 Langhe Nebbiolo, 25,000 Barbaresco and 6,500 of the more elusive Brachetto Matè. We first toured Sottimano the same month it was named one of the top 25 Producers of #Barbaresco in Forbes. Here’s the scoop!

“About 2000 cases of supple, beautifully expressive Barbaresco are produced at this family estate in Neive, managed by Rino Sottimano and his children Andrea and Elena. While these are modern examples of Barbaresco, only a small percentage of the oak is new, so wood notes are well integrated. Highlights include cru bottlings from Currà, Cottà, Pajorè and Basarin, along with a riserva, a blend of fruit from Cottà and Pajorè from vines ranging from 45 to 75 years of age. Each Barbaresco here is made with great skill, and is very appealing in its youth.” — Tom Hyland @forbes

While I lack the training or credentials of Tom Hyland, I can say Sottimano blew my mind during our tasting. Learning about wine at the source, from the people who make it is the best way to commit wine to sense memory. It wasn’t until I started taking winery tours that I was able to understand the difference between a Barbaresco and a Barolo, both of which are made from the Nebbiolo grape.

What about you? What hobbies are you excited to get back to exploring once the world opens back up post COVID 19 again? For Paolo’s part, I know it’s getting back out into the world with his camera. Wine cellars are notoriously difficult to photograph. Thankfully Paolo captured these images during our cellar tour and wine tasting.

Sottimano Wines Cellar Tour Photography

Wine Tasting at Sottimano Wind with Claudia Sottimano
Wine Tasting at Sottimano
Brandy at Sottimano Wine Cellar
Brandy at Sottimano Wine Cellar

Stepping into the Sottimano wine cellar you feel the air grow cool and calm. The slow growth of cellar mold the true keeper of the wine, is the only evidence of time passing.

Cellar Mold at Sottimano Wines
Cellar Mold at Sottimano Wines
Sottimano Cellars
Sottimano Cellars in Piedmont, Italy
View from Sottimano Winery in Piedmont, Italy
View from Sottimano Winery in Piedmont, Italy

Tune in for our next post where I’ll share details of how we can afford to take so many winery tours in Italy.

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