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Harvest blog, Anne Krebiehl, Treiso, Piedmonte

Published:  26 October, 2010

Last Friday (October 22) we took in the last grapes: all the tanks and fermenters in the winery were full, bearing the names of all the various plots: Nebbiolo Chiesetta, Nebbiolo Caterina, Nebbiolo Munfrin, Vanotu. Francesco said that it had been a whole month, starting with Moscato and Favorita, ending with the Nebbiolo and Barbera. I only dealt with the blood-dark, spicy Barberas and the mysterious Nebbiolos. Tulin and Vanotu will be bottled as single-vineyard Babarescos - and the remaining plots will either make the Nubiola Barbaresco and the younger vines will make Langhe Nebbiolo.


When I asked Giorgio Pelissero when a Nebbiolo vine becomes a Barbaresco vine (they are all the denomination zone), he said that there is no rule, vines are like children, at first you need to make sure they grow, have strong bones and are healthy, for some this takes eight years, for others 10, he will just observe and then decide.


Sunday was a day off from the winery and I hotfooted it to Turin to the Salone del Gusto, the biannual spectacle of food founded by Carlo Petrini - chief protagonist of the Slow Food Movement. The Salone, held in the Lingotto, the old Fiat factory, is a veritable Land of Cockaigne: cheeses, salame, bread, pasta, vegetables, preserves, olive oils, vinegars, and little tastes are to be had everywhere.


One pavilion is dedicated to international Slow Food producers (Yorkshire grouse was to be had, and Niederegger Marzipan, as well as English Ales and Bulgarian cheeses) , the other two are a cornucopia of produce from all Italian regions: from Valle d'Aosta in the north to the tip of the Italian boot and the islands. Biodiversity and authenticity are the two watchwords of the event - everything needs to be "buono, pulito e giusto"- good, clean and fair. A fabulous example of this is Afghani saffron - the only crop that pays the struggling farmers as much as opium.


A much more political vein runs through Terra Madre, the sister event: world food production is under the spotlight here, food producers and growers from all over the world meet to discuss and raise awareness of such important issues as the corporate injustice of GM crops, land-grabbing by corrupt governments and the decline in biodiversity. To support these causes sign up under


What drew me, however, was the opportunity to taste old vintages at the Banca del Vino - for the first time this year the Wine Bank of Slow Food's University of Gastronomic Sciences at Pollenzo took part in the Salone's Enoteca: a back catalogue of vintages of mostly Italian wines was available. My highlight was the 1990 Barolo Enrico VI, Monfalletto Cordero di Montezemolo from La Morra: full of fragrance (walnuts, aromatic herbs, leather) it had a fresh core of Morello cherry, velvety tannins and astonishing length.


Another favourite was Piero Busso's Barbaresco Santo Stefano 2000: again that mysterious fragrance of cherry and undergrowth - "sottobosco" - my new favourite word. As everywhere, though, good producers proved that even in lesser vintages great wines can be made: Sottimano's Barbaresco Cottà from 2002 had alluring red currant fruit, a fine structure and some of that poetic Barbaresco quality. Other wines showed less well, even from some great names. Another notable wine was the Contadi Castaldi Franciacorta Satèn from 2000: super-fine mousse, great balance and a delicious apple flavour for once not dominated by autolysis. It was svelteness and elegance in a glass.