jen's blog. chef on wheels. october 4-9, 2010.
As David said when we started the day, today is the day we make it to “the promised land of La Morra!” What a day it was. I couldn’t believe we were ONLY riding 18 miles this day. We are such pro’s I thought we would be up to 30 or 40 miles by the last day!
We started our day a little earlier, 9 am, because we had to be at the winery Renato Ratti by 10 am. I loved how everyone was complaining that we would be drinking wine so early, yet by 11:30 am we were all anxiously extending our glasses for more! Once again we completely lucked out because the winemaker, Pietro Ratti, greeted us. Josh and I also knew Pietro back in the day and our best memory was a raging New Year’s Eve party at his cantina in 1998.
I always enjoy each winery visit for a different reason because you gain a new prospective each time about how wine is made. It also helps learn about the process the more times you hear the story. Pietro did an amazing job walking us through the process of fermentation while patiently answering all of our questions. This being the time of the harvest, the winemakers are in their absolute greatest crunch time. He even said it is one of the 3 most critical times of winemaking. If there are any problems with his 2010 vintage wines, it will be our fault for keeping him so long!
Pietro took over the winery in 1988 from his father Renato when his dad passed away. He rebuilt the winery “in the American way” in 2002 (he said because we destroyed it at our raging New Year’s Eve party!), by completely destroying the old winery and building a modern style cantina. It is 3 levels built into the hill of Annunziata and really beautiful. The room where we tasted the Barolos overlooked his Marcenasco vineyards.
Another thing that made our tasting so special here was we were able to try different vintages of the same Barolo next to each other. It was really great for our group to see how different just a year makes in a wine. Here we tried his 2008 Nebbiolo d’Alba Ochetti, 2006 Barolo Marcenasco (his 2005 won one of the top 100 wines in Wine Spectator), 2005 Rocche Barolo and then 2004 Rocche Barolo. Everyone really enjoyed his wines and I was happy to let them know they can get both the Vietti wines and Renato Ratti wines at La Morra.
Up the hill we went to reach La Morra and Ristorante Bovio. Josh worked at the famous Ristorante Belvedere when we lived in Italy, but the Bovio family sold the restaurant a few years ago to open Ristorante Bovio. I never knew memory lane was so steep and making our way up the hill was the most rigorous part of the day. Especially after so many glasses of Barolo. It was fun to see Sandra and Marco at the restaurant and the group finally got to try the prized white truffles. For our meal here, they wowed up with Fried Zucchini Blossom stuffed with veal and vegetables and Pasta Con Ouvo with shaved white truffles. I wish I could bottle the aroma of the white truffle so you could smell it from home. We all agreed that Pietro Ratti’s 2004 Rocche Barolo reminded us of the smell, so open a bottle if you want to see for yourself. We had Tagliatelle with Beef once again and my favorite of desserts Semi-Freddo. For our final, final trek of the day, we slowly climbed the hill of La Morra and walked around the piazza that Josh and I used to spend so much time in. It was a bit foggy today, so the group couldn’t enjoy the Belvedere to its fullest extent.
One more meal to go at Osteria La Libera, a place Josh and I used to hang out at on Friday nights. You all must be in awe with our eating abilities!