A few of my favourite Italian places from France to Barbaresco in Piedmont
What I like most about spending time in France – my ‘home base’ in Europe – is that it's only two hours from Italy! I catch the afternoon Singapore Airlines flight to Paris, to arrive early next morning.
Then the TGV fast train to Lyon – it takes just two hours to go five hundred kilometres - which connects to the regional train to Beaune where a car is waiting. The first decision then is: lunch in the town, or head home to unpack and prepare to drive to Piedmont in northern Italy?
Invariably, I can’t wait to head across the border! There are at least three ways to get to our Piedmont destination – Barbaresco – from Beaune. Two are by tunnel – the Frejus via Mondane in France, and the Mont Blanc tunnel via Chamonix. Both are easy to get to, around the same length (12 kilometers), but Frejus is the more picturesque route. A slightly longer but above ground route is via the beautiful town of Annecy and cuts through the outskirts of Geneva.
Once in Italy, one can stop off for afternoon tea in Aosta, a once-important Roman settlement that retains a charming historic centre. Similar to Switzerland, in a way, Aosta makes really good white wine – pretty well all chardonnay, not Petite Arvine and Chasselas as in Switzerland. (Look for the Anselmet or Les Cretes labels if you enjoy robust, citrus and nut-flavoursome styles).
Within an hour you slide past Torino, going on an excellent and usually almost empty motorway, and then past beautiful Alba and into the Langhe Hills that surround it. Barbaresco is a village of around 800 people but has a fair bit of hospitality to enjoy. For example:
Koki Wine Bar – a wine shop specialising in Barbaresco by the glass, plus antipasto dishes.
Casa Boffa – an excellent wine bar (which also has accommodation).
Enoteca Regionale del Barbaresco – a government-owned and run centre for regional wine (and the place to go for a whole host of good value Barbaresco by the glass).
Gaia – the winery of one of Italy’s greatest Barolo and Barbaresco producers (not very accessible).
Torre di Barbaresco – a cheerful Trattoria, at the end of the ‘high street’.
About five minutes walk away is Locanda Rubaya! My favourite accommodation and restaurant (particularly in white truffle season!)
Situated in historic Monthelie, the house is a short walk from Meursault, and 7km from Beaune. Features include a heated pool overlooking the vineyards, a sun lover's terrace (with sunbeds), an al fresco outdoor dining area and an ancient coach house which we have converted into a summer house. The cottage is equipped for food and wine-loving visitors and has secure parking on site. To learn more about the property, click below to go to our website.
We also offer our guests and Compagnia Club members advice on how to plan a fabulous wine trip to Italy!