There’s something surprising about being in Monferrato…
It’s not the fact that it’s more beautiful in person than it is in pictures or video (though, as you’ll soon see in this video, it’s pretty darned gorgeous even when experienced virtually). Hey, we are talking about Italy here, after all. The whole country is like a movie star – even more beautiful in person. The land is in the shadows of the Alps and the Apennines, arguably the most stunning mountain landscapes in Europe. Words about the rolling hills along the Tanaro river don’t really do the place justice, you need to get your feet on the ground there to really “get it.”
It’s not the rich artistic, gastronomic, and literary traditions of the region, either. Monferrato is the home of Agnolotti, the land of Gian Giorgio Allioni, Benedetto Alfieri, and Gian Martino Spanzotti, and the place where architecture like the Castle of Gabiano can be found. Sure, you can go there without knowing about those things, but doing a little homework makes a visit to Monferrato a lot more rewarding, and puts the place in its proper cultural perspective.
What’s really surprising, even for a well-healed, globe-trotting wine lover, is the staggering diversity of Monferrato, particularly in its wines. And yeah, that probably sounds kind of embarrassing, considering it was written by a supposed wine expert, someone who ought to already know that the region produces Moscato d’Asti, Asti Spumante, Malvasia di Castelnuovo Don Bosco, Grignolino, Dolcetto d’Asti, Ruché, Barbera d’Asti, and Barbera del Monferrato, and that’s only covering about half of the types of fine wine produced there.
But if you’re humble enough (and learning about the wide world of fine wine certainly has a way of engendering humility), the embarrassment of not fully appreciating the richness of the wine scene in Monferrato quickly turns to awe and kid-in-the-candy-store feeling of excitement.
“Wait a second… I actually get to explore all of this amazing stuff? That’s… awesome!!!”
So much of the individual joy of wine appreciation is the realization of that kind of journey. The excitement of exploring the nooks and crannies of the history, detail, geographies, and diversity that individual wines, at their best, represent as if they were ambassadors.
What’s surprising and fantastic about Monferrato? If you’re a wine lover, Monferrato is a land that gives you nearly a lifetime’s worth of that journey.