The day of rest (and Barolo…)

Why did nobody tell me that Living the Dream would be such hard work? I had visions of days spent mountain biking through the vineyards and evenings passed sipping G&T on the terrace, watching the sun go down.

Instead, life has become a succession of long, tiring meetings with bathroom, kitchen and window suppliers interspersed with making big decisions at the house and fighting many a losing battle with out of control thorny bushes. I have battle scars. Lots of them.

Of course, the good thing about all this is that it means the house is continuing apace. When I think how things have changed in just a few short months, from moments of desperation in the spring when we thought we might never be able to actually start work to now, with the roof complete, the internal walls up and the plumbing about to start I can’t help but feel just a little bit pleased.

My favourite two windows, looking straight onto the vines out of the east wing of awesomeness...
My favourite two windows, looking straight onto the vines out of the east wing of awesomeness…

The builders continue to impress us, both with the quality of their work and with their attitude. It’s become a real collaboration. They are continually asking us questions and making suggestions and the design is evolving day-to-day, small changes that I’m sure are going to make a big difference. I’m so grateful to GrandaCasa for introducing us and saving us from eternal despair. If you’re renovating in Piemonte, you really have to check them out.

After two weeks of madness, forever rushing from one meeting to the next, we decided that on Sunday we’d take a day off. We felt we’d earned it. It just so happened that our day of rest coincided with a huge number of local festivals (what are the chances?) so, scanning the list we picked the two that involved the most wine, called some friends and headed out. (You can read what one of those friends made of the day here).

First stop was Degusta La Morra, where around 30 local producers served a selection of their wines from on top of barrels lining the town’s main street. For 10 Euros you get a glass and the obligatory fabric glass holder neck thing (it must have an actual name…) and can then wander up and down tasting as many wines from as many producers as you like. It’s kind of like the speed dating version of wine tasting. I’ve never tried so many Barolos, and it was great to meet some of the producers we’ve spent the past year trying to find the time to visit, as well as a couple I’d never even heard of.

After two laps of town, and feeling a little Baroloed-out, we packed up our glasses and headed to our next stop – Verduno, for the annual Pelaverga festival. Another 10 Euros bought another glass (with neck holder thing, of course) and unlimited tastings of Pelaverga, a great summery wine which is produced only in Verduno and Saluzzo. Think red wine but lighter and fresher, with a bit of fruit and spice.

La Morra Barolo tasting

There was food, music, dancing and, as always, lots and lots of wine. We even bumped into a couple from South Carolina who follow the blog!

For one day, we almost felt normal. It was amazing. And it confirmed what I’ve long believed… that this really is the best time of year in the Langhe. Perfect weather, harvest just starting to get underway, truffles nearly ready and weekends packed with amazing festivals.

Now, back to those bathrooms. To bidet or not to bidet…



28 thoughts on “The day of rest (and Barolo…)

  1. This american would have also been another one to bump into, but we just couldn’t make it out there this year – too many festival options to tempt us!

  2. I agree a lovely time of the year. As soon as the harvest begins I love the sound of tractors put putting down the lanes, the sight of grapes bulging over the top of trailers and the heady smell of crushed grapes that seems to permeate the air.

  3. Very interesting reading all about your move to Piemonte. We have a place in Murazzano but due to sickness haven’t been able to visit lately, but hopefully will be back in a few months. Love it there and the surrounding areas.

  4. The work is coming along so nicely…it is going to be beautiful…and soon you will be just like Russell Crowe at the end of “A Good Year.” Did you ever see that movie? I love the sweet music and his relationship with his uncle. ANYWAY…until then, enjoy the festivals….

  5. Bidets? Reminds me of that great scene in Crocodile Dundee 2 (get that MM, what a culture vulture). The French only seem to use them for soaking their lingerie and underwear in. No bidet here.
    I’d sign for that wine tasting afternoon though! Lovely pics – is that Mrs Living in the Langhe, and baby Bee?

    1. Oh no MM, I have bad news for your culture vutureness… Mrs Living in the Langhe (who you correctly identified there by the way) tells me that scene was in the first Crocodile Dundee, not the second. As an aside, she also said the second film was terrible, but that’s not really important right now.

      You should load up the MM family and head to the Langhe next autumn, just make sure someone else is driving though so that you get to taste all the wine!

      1. incline most reverently to Mrs LIL’s culture vulture supremacy. I hope that one day I will be able to visit the Langhe, and we will be able to watch this masterpiece together. I particularly like the scene where CD wrestles with a plastic crocodile to save the Jane Fonda lookalike in a snazzy black g-string swimsuit from becoming a toothpick. Sigh. Real men kill plastic reptiles… those were the days. Swoooon. 🙂

      2. You had no chance really, obscure film knowledge is her thing… I think my favourite bit is when he gets mugged in New York: “That’s not a knife. THIS is a knife”… The crocodile wrestling/strange swimsuit comes a close second though!

  6. I vote for the bidet! Even though no one knows what they are here in the USA (and if they do happen to see one in an Italian bathroom, they think that it’s amazing that Italians even have a place to stomp their grapes in their bathrooms!!!) Sounds like you had a great day relaxing – but after all that wine, were you able to stay awake? I would have been quite sleepy – sun, wine, food – the perfect prescription for a nap 🙂

    1. It was a really good day… and staying awake was no problem as by the time we got home it was time for bed anyway!

      I think you’re right on the bidets. It doesn’t even really seem to be a choice here. You’ve got to have somewhere to wash your feet I guess…

  7. At the end of a day, despite the hard graft, there is no comparison with the lifestyle in Italia. Oh, do get a bidet, they’re perfect for washing the feet whilst still wearing one’s flip-flops!

    1. Thanks Heather, I agree wholeheartedly! And yes, you really should spend a weekend down this way, I’m sure you’d love it! Come in late October and you can go to the truffle festival in Alba while you’re here!

  8. Your landscape photos (as well as all your others on the blog) are lovely. If you are interested in contributing to my book on the women of Langhe and Roero, please let me know!

    1. Hi Suzanne, thanks for your message. I’d love to contribute, thanks for asking! Why don’t you send me an email (my address is on the ‘about’ page) or a private message through our facebook page and we can talk some more.

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