Vineyard Class

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Today we met up with our wine friend, Matteo, to vist a new Barolo producer, Simone Scaletta, (first vintage 2002) and learn a little bit more about vineyard work. Before going into the vineyards, we tasted the wines with Simone. He uses small barriques for most of his wines, but only a small percent new, he has a very light touch with the wood component. We liked the all his wines very much, they have character and so do the labels.
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With the village of Novello on the horizon, we head into Simone's nebbiolo vineyard. It's only 2 days to January, but the sun was warm as we walked through his vineyards.
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Lesson 1, pest control for the vines, plastic "houses" are placed in the vineyard to catalog possible problem bugs, mostly looking for signs of the insect Tignola, which it's larvi eats the insides of the vines, leaving them with dangerous holes or rotten inside. Thankfully, this isn't a big problem in his vineyards, but his is only being careful and watching for them.
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We're glad we are not the folks who "get" to survey all the yummy goodies caught in the trap .
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While explaining his winter pruning routine, Simone answered an old question of ours. The question was, why is it the next step after pruning and pulling out/down all the old vines, that the work of bending over and tying off the one remaining shoot for the upcoming year is always done in crappy weather? We learned that with the bad, foggy weather comes high humidity that allows the vine to be bent with a lot less chance of breaking. If it does break, that vine will not produce fruit in the coming year. He explained the if 1 or 2 breaks when bending, he stops and waits for more humid weather which makes the vines more pliable.
Everyone had a great time, but Cotta had the most fun of all of us running through the vineyard. We need to find some weinie boots to help with the mud caked paws!

Christmas in Langhe

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The Christmas markets "Mercati di Natale" are happening in all the medieval hilltop villages throughout the Langhe, our town Neive's was this last Sunday.
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Our town/city hall was open (rare on a Sunday in Italy) for a nativity art show in the council chambers. Natale Neive 705
The local take on making christmas wreaths is to use the pruning from grape vines.
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It's not a Christmas market without some animals!

Stars are Falling!

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The local restaurant scene is very happy with the well known dining guide "Guida Michelin" which just released it's list for 2012. We can now boast 15 stared restaurants in Langhe & Roero.
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Alba is full of stars now that all the christmas lights are up and on. The streets of Alba are very pretty and festive at Christmas time.
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If headed for Alba to see the lights, dress warm, Alba is always colder in the winter than the small hilltop villages.
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"Better a real focaccia than a fake beard…."