Winery recommendation in/around Asti

Old Jun 27th, 2008, 10:35 AM
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Winery recommendation in/around Asti


We will be spending a few days in Asti in July and were hoping someone might have a suggestion of a winery or two to visit that would be willing to give us a tour while there. We prefer smaller producers! We took one trip to Napa and avoid it like the plague in favor of Paso Robles, where you are far more likely to see people involved with wine making as opposed to tasting room attendants. Thanks!
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Old Jun 27th, 2008, 10:41 AM
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As an update, we're actually staying in Mombaruzzo if that help. Thanks much!
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Old Jun 27th, 2008, 11:27 AM
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Cantina Sant'Agata in Scurzolengo belongs to the best producers of red wine in the area.

However, do no expect a tour. The owner will welcome you and let you taste his wines right within the cellar. It is serious business, not a tourist attraction.
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Old Jun 27th, 2008, 01:20 PM
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Here is my trip report from last year with 3 of the wineries we visited and some places to eat. Check out the pics as well.
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Old Jun 27th, 2008, 03:31 PM
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Hmmm ! Not sure that took so here goes the text.


PREFACE: I AM A TOTAL IDIOT ! My wife has hinted at that fact for years and now I agree with her. After spending more than 10 hours composing a real trip report I somehow managed to lose it in the process of pasting to an email format. Yes, of course I saved it. But, I think I hit “ paste” when I meant “copy” and it dissolved into a hyperlink. Here is the Executive Overview version for busy people. Of course, I am always open to questions:

OVERVIEW: It was our 14th trip to Italy, but we had not seen the wine regions of Piemonte. We planned 13 days—the first 9 days at the Villa Sampaguita near Asti. See their wonderful program here for the Palio d’ Asti festival week. I would sign up now for next year if you are a wine lover: There were 4 of us and another group of 6 wine lovers at the Villa for the entire 9 days—great fun !

VILLA SAMPAGUITA: Very nice accommodations just outside Asti. What makes it special is the wonderful hospitality of your hosts, Tim Brewer and Rina Vargas. Tim bends over backwards to please and Rina is a lovely person and terrific cook. Check out their rave reviews on TRIP ADVISOR. Tim had planned a perfect agenda that included too many fabulous meals, 3 wine tastings at some of the best local producers, a truffle hunt, and terrific seats for the race. Here are the links to the winery visits—all very enjoyable:

I was afraid I would gain weight during the week and I did---5 pounds. Tim and Rina had arranged fabulous 6 course meals at several of the best local ristorantes. The other meals were at home & Rina added to my calorie count. I am not really a “foodie” but it was all part of the full Piemonte experience.
Some of my favorites included these:
Pompa Magna in Asti---a wine bar with fabulous food
Cascina Schiavenza near Serralunga d’ Alba---loved this region
Cascina Rosengana—in north Monferrato near Cocconato

THE FESTIVAL DELLE SAGRE ASTIGIANE: The week started with the traditional farmers parade with floats depicting typical village and farm life.
The farmers from all over the Asti region parade thru Asti in dress from the early 1900s. My camera was busy---see the photo gallery below. It all culminates with an al fresco lunch at food stands set up by the villagers.
What fun seeing the real village people of the Asti region doing their thing.


This all takes place the final Sunday---always the 3rd Sunday in Sept--and was easily the highlight of the week for me. People were lined up 5 deep along the parade route to see 1200 locals all dressed in medieval costumes.
The parade lasts about 2 hours and ends up as they enter the Piazza Alfieri, the site for the traditional horse race. We had perfect seats for the races on the final turn and near the start/finish line. The races are bareback, causing riders to often fall off the horse. That happened at least 3 times during the 3 heats and the final. The heats are run to determine the final 9 horses. We were seated near the rabid San Secondo neighborhood group and easily got caught up in their enthusiasm. The noise was deafening as they taunt rivals.
This was a race for the record books. “Our” San Secondo horse did make the finals, but lost his rider on the first turn. What? The horse can still win without a rider? Well, ours did just that. You had to see his eyes—he would not be denied this day! The San Secondo group went crazy—as did we.

WHAT FUN ! ! I think that the reason I travel is to become part of a different culture for a brief time. That was true in Asti this day—not to be forgotten.

THE LAKES: We picked up our rental car in Asti and headed to Lago di Orta for our 4th visit. Our 2 colleagues, Carol and Nancy, were impressed as we checked into the Hotel Orta and got 2 of the best lake vista rooms. We spent 3 nites in this region including a full day enjoying the Borremean Isles and Stresa on Lago Maggiore. I am sad to report that the tour busses have found our favorite romantic retreat. Still lovely but not the same—too bad !
Here is my lakes photo gallery. We love the lakes !

Mission accomplished ! We wanted to experience Piemonte and we certainly did that. This region is a natural fit for any itinerary that includes the lakes and Ligurian coast---I see it as 3 day diversion from a typical itinerary.

However, if you are a wine lover and can put together 9 days then call some friends and book the Palio d’ Asti week at Villa Sampaguita. The location is perfect and the price is right. Frankly, I think that Tim has under priced his product. We did have day trips to Torino and Genoa during our week in Asti. The train ride from Asti to Genoa was only 1:06—Torino is less. But, the real highlight for me was experiencing the local traditions of the Festival week.

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Old Jun 27th, 2008, 11:04 PM
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Mombaruzzo is not really Asti, its between Nizza Monferrato and Acqui Terme, and is in the heart of one of the classic wine zones. I would ask the place where you are staying to reccomend a small producer for you, there are dozens in the area. Close to Nizza I would favour La Gironda, Scrimaglio or Sant'Evasio. and check out La Signora in Rosso (in Nizza) a wine tasting place where you can sample over 100 Barbera's.
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Old Jun 28th, 2008, 12:22 AM
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I would recommend either <a href="">braida</a> or <a href="">ceretto</a>

They both welcome visitors and have outstanding wines.

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