Tuesday, October 25, 2011

La Torricella - Food, Wine and Comfort with a Spectacular View of the Langhe

A brief apology for the long hiatus! Sorry. I've been packing and moving and storing and packing and traveling! I've finally landed in the GORGEOUS Piemonte region of Italy and am living in Dogliani until December. Don't hate me.


As my incredible good luck (aka very hard work and careful planning) would have it, I was on a three-day educational tour of the Langhe for my budding culinary/wine tour business (WARNING! Shameless plug alert!)  SAVOR - Food | Travel | Wine  (site still under contstruction...please be patient and gentle with me!) when I first had the opportunity and pleasure to visit lovely La Torricella, a beautiful small agriturismo, a working winery with guest rooms and a restaurant, in the heart of the Langhe run by the equally charming Pressenda family, the whole family: mother, father, 2 sisters (chef and winemaker), brother and son-in-law!

I was first greeted by this spectacular view of the Alps in the distance. This is really what it is all about here in Piemonte --- Family, friends and the table...fantastic food, great wine, all in a gorgeous setting.

Really, I could just stop right there and be perfectly happy, but I won't! It just keeps getting better and better and BETTER! 

Next we were greeted by Francesco, pictured below, and son-in-law of the original proprietors the Pressendas who still own and operate the agriturismo along with their daughters Silvia and Alessandra (winemaker and chef, respectively) and their son Oscar. Francesco was a lively and charming host as he brought us dish after delicious dish and wine after  wine after wine.  

The lunch was superb. Everything is house-made with love and care by Alessandra from local, regional recipes. RIGHT UP MY ALLEY! 

Gorgeous plin with sage and butter.


Chocolate w hazelnut. SWOON.

The aftermath of the wine tasting

I visited La Torricella again a few weeks later and went on to tour the cozy, well-appointed rooms and the winery. 
Lovely stone sign greets guests as they arrive, pointing the way to the cantine and agritursimo.

The view in autumn is spectacular with gorgeous fall color:

I cannot wait to come back here for a visit in the summer so I can splash around in this infinity pool overlooking the beautiful vineyards.

The rooms are all quite charming and cozy with stunning views of the Alps and the vineyards. Oh, and there is WIFI! FTW!

Lovely large barrels:

and French Oak (some cement vats in the background) 

Now, on to some tasting notes... I had the opportunity to taste through the entire range of the lovely wines at La Torricella in the beautiful setting of their main dining room overlooking the gorgeous vineyards with the Alps in the background (today they were looming, invisible, cached in cloud-cover) with friendly and knowledgable Oscar Pressenda to guide me on my way.

La Torricella - Langhe Chardonnay DOC 2010
Cold fermented in stainless steel. Pretty pale straw yellow color. Nose of fresh peach and white flowers. Great acidity, very dry. On the palate there remains a lovely subtle peach. Light body. Pleasant acidic finish. Crisp and refreshing. A nice aperitif or complement to light to medium-savory dishes.

La Torricella - Vino Rosato - Pumìn Rus ("rosy cheeks" in Piemontaìs) NV 
This rosato of dolcetto and barbera is cold stainless fermented. It is a lovely pale pink with a tiny hint of orange color. Light body. Strawberry notes and something of hard candy...like lifesavers, sweet alyssum. On the palate, it has very pleasant white pepper and rare beef. A hint of raspberry on the finish and pleasant, prickly acidity.

La Toricella - Dolcetto d'Alba DOC 2010 “Tiradosso”  
This vineyard location has the most dolcetto of their 11 hectares.  No oak. Cold stainless fermentation. 
Nearly transparent medium violet red color. Light body. Some black pepper spice. Thin and a bit weedy, green but in a good way. Blackberry finish. Simple but quite good. 12.5% alc. 

Dolcetto d'Alba 2010 DOC “Vigna Galot”
The grapes for this wine are from a select lot that they feel is best for dolcetto due to soil, position, etc.
Nearly opaque dard red-violet color. Med body. On the nose it is showing subtle leather, sweet tobacco and blueberry. Blueberry continues on the palate along with other dark forest berries---Blackberry. Spice. Fantastic acidity. Slightly herbaceous and delicious finish.
Annnnd... there it is! VIOLETS! Tah daaaaaah... Love it! 

La Torricella - Barbera d'alba DOC “Ariota” 2009
Opaque violet red color with a slightly brickish hue. 1 year in used french barriques. Slight fennel nose, med body. Good structure and balance. Pleasant finish.

La Torricella - Dolcetto d'Alba Superiore 2008
1 year in used French oak barriques. 14% alc. 1 week in steel, temperature not controlled up to 30ºC. Translucent red violet color. Light/med body. On the nose, evident but pleasant oak and a nice barnyard funk. Meat. High acidity. On the palate the fruit is a bit reserved and subtle of dark forest berries. Subtle leather and a very pleasant floral finish.  

La Torricella - Nebbiolo d'Alba 2007
Opaque dark brick red color. Highly perfumed nose. More than 1 year in oak. The sweetness on the nose from the oak is pleasant and not overwhelming. Slightly herbaceous. Big. med/heavy body. 14.5% alc. Pronounced blackberry fruit and tobacco on the palate. I'd like this one with a big stinky cheese.  

I cannot say enough good things about the wonderful, kind and generous Pressenda family and their lovely, welcoming agriturismo La Torricella.  It is just this kind of experience that I love to have for myself and also to share with as many people as possible.

Enjoy! and Cheers!

- Wine Ophelia
aka Raelinn Doty

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