Thursday, 19 August 2010


Just back from Piedmont,where people were not really celebrating Ferragosto (15 August) this year. This is a tradition not just in Piedmont but all over Italy, it's the biggest Bank Holiday when everyone who is not on holiday already will leave town (as it's usually too hot to do anything) and go to the nearest open space, whether that be the cooler hills, the mountains, a beach or, in Piedmont, by a river. By the way, the trouts are just gorgeous, and we have a neighbour who is a keen fisherman who often shares the catch with my mother and I when I go home. Anyway, this is a story for another time maybe. Back to Ferragosto, and this year the weather went from 35 degrees one day to 15 degrees the next, with torrential rains, monsoons, hail and high winds. And it lasted for four days. Grape picking is only two weeks away, and I have heard some horror stories already, in how some of the best grapes, Nebbiolo and Dolcetto, have been damanged, up to 50% will be lost. Prices are likely to soar next year so stock up on this year's wines from Piedmont (and Lombardy) as next year they will not be so abundant. But it's not all doom and gloom. Bonarda was less affected, and this lesser known wine, which often develops a natural second fermantion in bottle, making it very attractive to drink and beautiful with strong cheeses such as Castelmagno DOP or Gorgonzola Dolce DOP, is still available. The grape has also found a new home in Argentina, where it makes a much 'stronger' and stiller version of the original wine produced in Piedmont, and you will find some very decent Bonarda at Gaucho Grill. But it has nothing to do with the equally heady, but rounder, Bonarda from Piedmont. I do remain concerned about Nebbiolo though.

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