After an extensive and truffle-tastic lunch with Chiara Boschis and her good friend Fabio Fantino at the superb Trattoria La Posta in Monforte d'Alba, we drove to the very top of the hill upon which the town lies, to Fabio's family winery, Conterno Fantino. At over 500 metres, this commands one of the best views in the whole of the region. Sadly the famous nebbia or fog was returning in the dusk, but visible high to the west was the pyramid shaped summit of Monviso (3800m).
Such an inspiring place to work! Fabio says that some days he just stares, open-mouthed, at the view for half an hour when he gets up. Near the winery are some Chardonnay vineyards they have recently planted (it being too high for Nebbiolo to prosper). Meanwhile, down in their immaculate cellars, vintages of the mighty crus, including Vigna del Gris and Sori Ginestra, slumber in new oak barriques.
The tasting showed the power of these wines, as well as the pedigree of 2006 as it begins to be released. This will be a vintage for long term, with masses of tannin to balance fruit, acidity and elegance. Guido, who is Fantino senior and co-founder of the winery, dropped by as we tasted and made suitably heroic gestures to show his opinion of the power of the vintage.
Breathlessly we left CF and set the Sat Nav for Parusso, a (theoretical) 5 minute drive back down the hill. This was a mistake. Half an hour later we found ourselves up a dirt track without a winery (or anything much) in sight. A 17-point turn in the Passat later (not aided by button operated foot brake!) we headed to the true location of Marco Parusso's winery. Anna welcomed us there and confirmed we weren't the first to foolishly trust in GPS to find them. Anyroad, the Parusso methods were interesting - including letting the grapes 'rest' for 3-4 days after picking. Marco believes this gives much healthier, juicier bunches. He also produces two Sauvignon Blanc wines - something of a curiosity in the region - but very successful nonetheless. After tasting his Barolos, we decamped once more to Bra, and home of Matteo Ascheri.