Barbaresco is located northeast of Alba, and emerges hill-by-hill through seemingly endless vineyards rooted in sandy soil. Like many wines in Piemonte, the famed Barbaresco is made from the Nebbiolo grape, but generally has softer tannins and a more fruity flavor than Barolo. In fact, under DOCG rules, Barbaresco is allowed to age one year less than Barolo, making these lighter wines slightly more approachable than other variations of the grape. The three villages of Barbaresco, Neive, and Treiso make up the production region, which boasts over 130 wineries today.
View Tasting Barbaresco by Bike in a larger map
The narrow hilly landscape that encompasses the Barbaresco villages makes it a perfect place to cycle, and you can follow this itinerary from Neive to Treiso in just about 10 km or extend your ride south as far as a 41 km tour.
Begin in Neive by arranging a visit to Castello di Neive, a vineyard named after the 12th century medieval castle in which wines are still produced and bottled. At Castello’s 60-hectare estate you can tour the different levels of the cellar and sample a rather unique passito (a sweet wine more typical of Southern Italy) made from withered Arneis grapes. If it’s aperitivo time, head to Wine Bar Degusto next to Hotel Castelbourg, which offers a lovely selection of snacks and wines both from Barbaresco and other regions of Italy. The family-run wine bar is warm and welcoming and provides a lovely outdoor terrace, perfect for fall weather.
Although many wines in Piemonte are essentially organic by tradition, many do not have certification because natural is just the way wine has always been produced here. For wine lovers with a specific interest in good soil practices, stop for a visit to Cascina delle Rose, where Giovanna will show you that the work is in the grapes, not in the cellar. For Giovanna and her family, soil fertility and maintaining the rich land are top priorities that they communicate to their neighbors throughout Barbaresco. Whether at the vineyard or the local enoteca, get your hands on a sip of their Barbera Donna Elena!
As you make your way south to Treiso, be sure to stop at Moccagatta, a winery appropriately named after the hill on which its vines are planted. At Moccagatta take the opportunity to sample their three crus – Basarin, Cole and Bric Balin – each with a radically different Nebbiolo character. Get to Treiso in time for lunch and delight in the breathtaking views from the terrace at Ciau del Torna Vento. Michelin star chef Maurilio Garola and team will treat you to sophisticated fare, an extensive wine list and an extraordinary balcony atmosphere unique to tiny Treiso.
After lunch make one last stop to Ca’ del Baio on the opposite side of Treiso, just bordering Barbaresco. Take the scenic ride up the hill of Via Ferrero and stop for a panoramic shot outside of Casa Vacanze San Stefanetto. At Ca’ Del Baio enjoy the crus of Barbaresco as well as two variations of Chardonnay, one oaked and one unoaked. The Grasso family, continuing a four-generation tradition, will share with you the story of their wine making history and the transition from a land used for raising horses to one for hearty Nebbiolo. They also pride themselves in sustainable practices like using minimal chemicals and naturally occurring yeasts. Additionally, Ca’ del Baio has won a number of awards and is also included in the Slow Wine guide.
For the avid cyclist, Barbaresco is a gorgeous area to have a biking adventure from town to town - and hill to hill! To cover the three towns from one end to the other is about 10 km but you can also choose any leg of this route: Begin in Neive and follow SP3 to downtown Barbaresco. From there, 5 km on Strada Rabaja takes you straight to Moccagatta and then just a bit further is Treiso.
For a longer challenge, follow the route above from Neive until Tre Stelle, then head east on SP51 before going south towards Mango, a 17.7 km trip. Or, for an even longer route of 41 km, travel from Neive through Barbaresco and Tre Stelle to Alba, and take the SP158 to loop all the way down to SP230 and around to Mango. Travel north on SP51 to finish in Neive. Should you choose to extend your stay in the Barbaresco region, there are many agriturismi to choose from. In Mango there is the quaint Case Bardacchino where you can stay the night. Otherwise, just a short ride away you end up back in Neive at the 17th century pallazzo’s Bed & Breakfast L’Aromatario. As usual, reservations for wineries and restaurants are recommended.
The trail: quick facts
Departure: Neive. Arrival: Treiso; optional Mango or Neive loop
Length: about 10 km; optional loops are about 17 and 41 km
Wine Plus: fun and scenic ride that leads to many different Barbaresco wine tastings
Suggested wine: Barbaresco DOCG