In the Langhe Region, home to Barbaresco and Barolo, visitors can unearth a bounty of wine and food discoveries.
By Monica Larner
Located in northern Italy at the nexus of Piedmont’s storied Barbaresco and Barolo wine regions, the Langhe is a study in light and texture. Ragged Alpine summits and serrated crags backdrop melodic swells of vineyard plots, their mismatched trellis patterns resembling fingernail scratches on a piece of velvet. Fog washes down the mountains in thick layers, creating a dramatic play of shadow and sun. Visitors come for the wine, but stay for the views.
The Langhe offers world-class wine, food and cultural travel experiences, all reachable by car and possible to enjoy in stays of three days or more. Fly into the Turin or Milan airports and the region can be reached by car within 45 minutes or 2.5 hours, respectively.
“We have 19 Michelin-starred restaurants, more than anywhere else, and over 1,000 wineries to visit,” says vintner Angelo Gaja, a central figure in Piedmont’s wine identity. “People truly come here to explore their passion for food and wine.”
Below are two driving itineraries to help you discover the best of the Langhe, with insider tips and wine suggestions to match.
The Barbaresco Loop
The cheerful town of Alba is a fitting base for exploring the greater Langhe. Ferrero, which created the chocolate-hazelnut spread Nutella, is headquartered here, and its delicious scents are carried by the winds. Colorful wine bars and boutiques line either side of the pedestrian Via Maestra that links the café-lined Piazza Savona to Piazza Duomo.
One of Alba’s best restaurants is La Libera, which offers an exhaustive wine list to pair with local dishes. Ravioli di gallina nel suo brodo (ravioli in chicken broth) can be followed by capretto arrostito (roast kid). La Piola on Piazza Duomo was founded by the Ceretto wine family. This upscale bistro with a chalkboard menu and enclosed outdoor seating makes a mean fritto misto Piemontese (fried meatballs and vegetables). Upstairs is the prized Piazza Duomo, which offers a formal dining experience choreographed by chef Enrico Crippa.
Leaving Alba by car, head toward Treiso, home of the celebrated Roncaglia and Pajorè vineyard crus and producers Rizzi, Pelissero and Orlando Abrigo. This township boasts some of the highest-altitude vineyards in the Barbaresco zone, resulting in lightly nuanced and elegant wines. The road curves up to the ridge of the hilltops, opening onto infinite panoramas of cascine and casòt (farmhouses and small buildings) scattered among the never-ending vineyards.
Not to be missed, La Ciau del Tornavento is located in Treiso’s old post office and offers charming rooms and vineyard-facing dining. One tasting menu is inspired by fresh garden herbs and includes asparagus soup with oregano, Parmigiano, poached egg and black truffle shavings. For a quick lunch, try the colorful Profumo di Vino in Treiso’s main square. Located slightly outside of town, Ada Nada is a family-run bed-and-breakfast that’s located in an 18th-century farmhouse, with a friendly atmosphere.