How about spending your time tasting excellent wines and exploring castles in Piedmont?
Just one hour away from Milan there is a charming land full of hills and valleys, forests, medieval castles, roman churches and ancient traditions with unique cuisine.
Monferrato is a part of Piedmont region in North-West Italy, its exceptional value brought UNESCO to include it in its World Heritage List in 2014, furthermore here are produced among the best wines of Italy.
Wines of Monferrato
Monferrato is 300,000 hectares of nature with picturesque hills and vineyards and the continental climate makes it a real paradise for wine. Among DOC and DOCG red wines of this territory we count Barbera d’Asti, Dolcetto d’Acqui, Grignolino del Monferrato Casalese, Ruché and Piedmont Bonarda. Among white wines are noted Cortese, Piemonte Chardonnay and the sparkling wines like Asti Spumante.
Must visit in Monferrato:
Wine is not all, Monferrato can really satisfy all your senses so do not miss my travel points:
Uviglie Castle (Castello di Uviglie)
Uviglie Castle is an ancient stronghold of Piedmont dating back to the thirteenth century, located on a colourful hilltop at east of Rosignano Monferrato, a really well known good quality area for wine production. The Castle has one of the most spectacular views in Piedmont, in 1491 it was taken over by count Pico Gonzaga who initiated vine-growing activity in Monferrato land.
I highly recommend to get a guided tour and visit the Castle with its wine cellars. You will see magnificent halls and get acquainted with significant events of its heritage, walk through its charming old English Style park with rare exotic plants.
You will get the opportunity to visit a real infernot cellar where the most modern technologies support the traditional methods of winemaking. During wine tasting session you will be offered Barbera del Monferrato, Grignolino del Monferrato Casalese and Piemonte Chardonnay, all brand Uviglie Castle.
Interesting to know: “Infernòt”
Infernòt is the Piedmontese word for underground rooms hand-carved in tuff stone only. The stable temperature and humidity levels, among their features, make these cellars a perfect place to store wine. Infernòt are rural architecture gems built over the years by the hand of farmers. Quite curious that these caves, built by peasants, without any notion of engineering nor architecture, are still intact today! Each Infernòt is unique in its own way and located mostly on private lands and winegrowers’ farms.
Typical Piedmontese restaurant “Sarroc” with large panoramic terrace on the Monferrato hills
Piedmont cuisine draws its origins to the mix of culinary traditions between the Court of Savoy (Savoia) and the farmers who have always inhabited this region. Among the most typical dishes of this region we count Piedmontese stew (bollito alla piemontese), veal in a tuna sauce (vitello tonnato), pasta with truffles and bagna cauda (souce made with anchovies, garlic and olive oil).
Trattoria Sarroc is on great demand among Italians, it offers delicious food and good prices. Here you will find a cozy atmosphere and attention to every detail in the interior, on the second floor there is a beautiful glazed terrace that allows to admire the charming panorama of the surrounding hills both in winter and in summer.
The tasting menu, all the snacks and dishes were on the level: a very tender meat tartare, homemade gnocchi pasta, Piedmont pudding made from chocolate and amaretti. Really delicious! I highly advise you to book in advance.
Starters: 8-10 euro
First courses: 9-12 euro
Second courses: 12-14 euro
Tasting menu: about 30 euro for a person with wine included
Tel.: 0142 933524
Address: Via Evasio Rossi, 14 | 15049 | Vignale Monferrato
Castello di Gabiano
Another stunning place in Monferrato is the Castello di Gabiano. Situated in the Piedmont Region of north-west of Italy it boasts centuries of history. The village of Gabiano is famous for the production of high quality Italian DOC and DOGG wines: “A Matilde Giustiniani Gabiano DOC Riserva”, “La Braja Barbera d’Asti DOCG“, “Il Ruvo Grignolino del Monferrato Casalese DOC”, “Rubino di Cantavenna DOC”, “Gavius Monferrato Rosso DOC”, “Castelverde Monferrato Chiaretto DOC”, “Corte Monferrato Bianco DOC”, “Adornes Barbera d’Asti Superiore DOCG”, “Castello Piemonte Chardonnay DOC”. Castello di Gabiano wines.
Today Giacomo Cattaneo Adorno, the last Marquis of Gabiano together with his wife Emanuela, are directly engaged in an intensive wine production continuing the winemaking tradition of their family.
Around the Gabiano Castle you can enjoy a magnificent 5 hectare park surrounded by a true labyrinth. Made by the architect Lamberto Cusani in 1930 in a neo-medieval style, the labyrinth is one of the very rare examples documented in the historic gardens of Piedmont. The Gabiano labyrinth evokes the return to the past and finds its place within the framework of the restoration project assigned by the marquise Matilde Giustiniani to the Parma architect Lamberto Cusani who is responsible for the current neo-medieval appearance of the castle and its surroundings.
The location of the labyrinth in the centre of the park emphasizes the contrast between the rigid and geometrical lines of the structure and the natural park that surrounds it, recalling the medieval concept of the forest and at the same time showing how nature is strictly manipulated and controlled by man.
Address: Via San Defendente 2 – 15020 Gabiano (AL)
La Ca ‘Nova farmhouse with excellent Piedmontese cuisine
After visiting Gabiano don’t miss a lunch or a dinner at the cozy farmhouse La Ca ‘Nova in the Cella Monte area, a small town between Asti and Alessandria.
They have the best vitello tonnato, the most delicate tartare and a huge selections of Monferrato wines.
Address: Via Cipriano Cei, 18/b, 15034 Cella Monte AL
Enjoy your trip! 😉