Piemonte in the fall… Um, the splendor. Piemonte is translated as the foot of the mountain.  And, I’m going with the Italian version of how it’s written and pronounced for this blog story, to be more genuine with the location.

This was an excellent lesson about geographical locations, when I visited Lisboa… Right, Lisboa…

Different places, different languages, different pronunciations… Culture 101

Traveling is one of my greatest joys. Each new location expands our understanding of the world… The people who live there, the cultural aspects that have evolved, the foods that they prefer to eat, and the beverages that they prefer to enjoy, theirs songs, dances, architecture and and their art…Each unique and worth exploring.

Frankly, it’s a crime that what our American culture has exported into everyone else’s countries is the fast food industry. What people must think of us, just boggles my mind. I’m betting that many people think we don’t eat any real food, if they’re not geography enthusiasts. But, I live here in Sonoma County, where the bounty is magnificent, so I know better.

I marvel at the rest of the world. I’ve always loved geography, since discovering National Geographic in the seventh grade. It completely changed my life . Until that time, my world consisted of provincial New England… a very narrow band. I loved traveling within the New England cocoon, but it was just that. I’m in awe with all of life’s different cultures, unique places, the people who live there, their foods, beverages, songs and dance… It’s culture and I’m diggin’ it.

So, it’s a blessing that as a wine blogger, the world of wine and the places where it exists comes to me, hoping for one more story to be on the world wide web about their location, wine, event, or book. If I can find the time to write about who or what they’re pitching, I get to step outside of my (now) pretty broad band and learn yet more. For today, it’s Piemonte; and the first thing I just learned is how to pronounce its name, like the locals.

Piemonte’s most well know wines and winery

Italy has 20 wine regions, with Piemonte being one of them. It has an area of 9,808 square miles, and has a population of approximately 4.6 million people. The capital of Piemonte is Turin. Piemonte is located in the northwestern corner of Italy, bordering Switzerland (to the north) and France (to the west). The best known wines from this region include Barolo and Barbaresco, and are made from the Nebbiolo grape.

[Photo credit of Vigna della Regina in Turin from the Wine Pass Piemonte website: Luca Balbiano]

One of the world’s last and oldest urban vineyards is the Vigna della Regina. Translated as the Queen’s Vineyard, this is a “remarkable and rare example of an urban vineyard with an incredible view of Turin. It has been part of the UNESCO World Heritage Queen’s Villa since the 1600s, and today Balbiano Winery produces Freisa from this royal hill. The villa sits in the center of a green grass hollow. In the silence, dragonflies flit in the fountains of Neptune, vineyard workers harvest grapes on the slope by the Villa, and a sweeping cityscape and Alpine mountains set the backdrop. It is just as the queen wanted it.”  —  by  Diana Zahuranec for Wine Pass Piemonte.

Truffle markets of Piemonte

With autumn arrives mushrooms. My back lawn right now is littered with them. I need to find out what kind they are. Are they poison; should I be worried about them, with grandchildren loving my back yard the way they do? I’ve got to take one to my favorite mycologist at our local farmers’ market, and get a read on what they are. Meanwhile, in Piemonte, the unmistakable aroma of truffles hangs on the air throughout the lower Langhe and in the Asti and Monferrato zones. Truffle fairs, from local to international, are some of the most anticipated events of mid- to late autumn.

It is only fitting that the noble wines of Piemonte have one of the world’s most expensive and gourmet foods to pair it with (expensive, yes, though truffle lovers may rejoice at this year’s unexpected bounty: Italian White Truffle Lovers Celebrate Bumper Harvest). Often, these truffle fairs go hand-in-hand with local food and wine events. — by Diana Zahuranec for Wine Pass Piemonte.


Castles, forts, and ghosts in Piemonte

One of my greatest joys, when I visited Portugal, was to witness and explore the castles and castle towns of that land. Italy offers the same, as does most of Europe. In America, our forefathers who first arrived to escape the religious persecution of King James, who believed that everyone HAD to be Catholic, came without the need for castles. But, forts eventually had to be built, to escape from First nation people, who would rather see them be gone… one way or another. Who were our forefathers to be coming in and taking over their land? We lack real castles in the US… Real castles had dungeons… maybe not dragons, but definitely the dungeons. The left over spirits from those walls of concrete and moss are intriguing to explore, and something I’d prefer to not do from the time of Scorpio… October 21 to November 20th… each year, the time of all Halloween of ghosts, goblins, and ghouls. I don’t mind exploring places like this, but there’s a time and place for everything in my world… Give me the time of spring and I’d be all over this one.

The Fort of Gavi

The origin of Fort of Gavi (above) possibly dates back to pre-Roman times. It sits upon a giant rock, which was once the base of this ancient fortification. It holds its own memories of what went on during its active days, with its dungeons as part of that lifestyle. Recently, there was a group of people who will tell you that they saw an entire Roman battalion marching towards the fort, while singing to Mars, the god of war. An entire group of people all seeing the same apparition? That’s powerful, provocative, and Piemonte…