A steep road leads up through vineyards to the La Morandina winery. There is complete silence. It also remains quiet when Rocky approaches us. The mongrel is not suitable as a guard dog, but for the autumnal truffle hunt.
Those who live here in the middle of nature know noise and hustle and bustle only from hearsay.
Host Giulio Morandina is calmness personified. Not only at home, but also at wine fairs. "I can't force anyone to be happy", he muses. Those who don't want to buy their Barbera or Moscato d'Asti are simply missing out on a pleasure. Anyway, Giulio pleads for a pleasurable, but stress-free life with a lot of sleep, good food, and good wine. He has become famous for the latter: Morandina is one of the few producers whose muscatel vineyards are exclusively located within the classic growing zone. The Moscato grapes thrive particularly well here. On cool August nights, the wonderfully fresh, typical aromas develop. The grapes are processed directly on site. After one month of fermentation, he bottles the Moscato d'Asti. The experienced winemaker recommends drinking his wine within one year. I like the futuristic labels on his bottles. He designs them during the long winter months, he explains modestly. "Picasso of wine labels," I note.
North of the Alps, Moscato d'Asti is often equated with dessert wine. But it is also excellent as an aperitif or with a snack. We enjoy it in the shade of a cherry tree with Nostrano salami and fresh wood-fired bread. The typical Moscato colour already suggests lightness. The fine sparkle of the carbonic acid is invigorating, the subtle sweetness fresh. And with an alcohol content of only 5.5 degrees, the risk of an afternoon punch is very low.
"Our family has lived in this area for over 500 years."
Giulio Morando, winemaker
Before dinner, Giulio's mother demonstrates with great dedication how to make tagliatelle with flour from the stone mill, fresh eggs and an old-fashioned machine. Reto and Gianni Vergani try their hand at making pasta, but the machine starts to squeak terribly. No problem, Mama Morandina lubricates the dough roller with some olive oil. Meanwhile, Giulio pours his delicious Varmat 2007, a Barbera d'Asti aged in barriques. The dialect word Varmat refers to the "valley of the mad" where Morandina's Barbera grows. What follows is crazy: The host keeps opening new bottles, and eventually there are 15 top wines on the table. My remaining memory of this cozy evening among friends has unfortunately dissolved in the wine haze ...