Back to the past, to our grandfathers’ taste and respect for nature! Healthy food and wine are becoming more and more popular in Italy, many are the growers who are converting to organic and restaurants using local ingredients only. The tour will take us through the enchanting scenery of Piedmont, across tertiary and dirt roads, searching for natural products and rural lifestyle: biodynamic wineries, zero-mile dishes and traditional style accommodation.
The Infernot hills
Langa Astigiana highland
The abandoned village of Moleto
Organic and biodynamic wine tastings
Tanaro river trails
The WWF natural oasis
The pic-nic in the farm
The zero-mile dinners
Calosso scenic road
The hamlet of Neive
Departure/Arrival: Casale Monferrato/Canelli
When: On Request – from March to November
Cost: 650€ per person
Level of Difficulty: demanding
Lenght: 3 days/2 nights
Distance/Elevation Gain: 160 km/2460 metres
Terrain: paved backroads
Accommodation: relais and family hotels
Meals: trattoria and outdoor pic-nics
Note: in case of bad weather the tour will be cancelled
3 days/2 nights
160 km/2460 metres gain
Back to the past, to our grandfathers’ taste and respect for nature! Healthy food and wine are becoming more and more popular in Italy, many are the growers converting to organic and the restaurants using local ingredients only. The tour will take us through the enchanting scenery of Piedmont, across tertiary and dirt roads, searching for natural products and rural lifestyle: biodynamic wineries, zero-mile dishes and traditional style accommodation.
Day 1: we meet in Casale Monferrato, one of the most important medieval towns of the region for the tour briefing and the set up of the bicycles. We start cycling the scenic Mandoletta road which gently rises towards the hills of Monferrato Casalese. The area has been awarded by UNESCO as a world heritage for its unique vineyard and rural landscape: farming lands and vines, dotted with small hilltop towns built in sandstone blocks. Crossed Cella Monte we reach the abandoned village of Moleto: the large meadow on the side is just perfect for a quick outdoor lunch. Back on track we take the downhill to Ottiglio, then up again on the scenic Grazzano-Casorzo ridge. Now a fast and funny descent to the valley followed short climb to Grana, whose peak divides Monferrato Casalese from Monferrato Astigiano. Up and down like a roller coaster, this first part of the afternon has been pretty lively!
Here we go finally, we’re on top of the hills and just a stone’s throw there’s a young lady winemaker who runs a byodinamic winery. We reach it for a wine tasting: no fuss nor marketing here but a real family business, humble place and humble people devoted to growing grapes responsibly, with the goal of being 100% natural! We say goodbye and it’s time for the last quick climb to the country relais where we will stay overnight. Dinner with homemade dishes in a family osteria nearby.
DISTANCE: 51 km
ELEVATION: 840 mt
Day 2: the day begins with the ride to the Tanaro river valley. The first leg follows a panoramic ridge on the highlands: the view over the hills is amazing, in the bright days it’s even possible to spot the Alps behind. Then it start the long descent to the river Tanaro valley. We cross the bridge and after a quick stop for lunch we approach Alto Monferrato Astigiano hills, known for the production of Barbera wine, the most popular and traditional of all the Piedmontese reds. The uphill road passes through the hills beside hamlets and small towns of medieval origin, dominated by castles and bell towers. Past Montegrosso we head towards Castagnole delle Lanze, which marks the border between Monferrato and Langhe del Barbaresco, another renown wine production area, home of the precious Barbaresco red. We skip the provincial road and take some b-roads running across the vineyards until we reach an historic winery. Organic certified makers, mowing herbs by hand and limiting the production to keep the soil healthy, they’re a true example of eco-friendly farming. After the visit and the sampling we hit the road again, just few kilometres and we arrive in Neive, our destination. Tonight a friendly osteria will welcome us for dinner.
DISTANCE: 56 km
ELEVATION: 680 mt
Day 2: the Moscato production area: today we’ll get to know this tasty white wine, exploring its terroir and meeting the markers. Off Neive the roads leads towards Mango across the Langhe vines, a super-scenic and regular climb followed by the descent to the Belbo river valley. We reach Santo Stefano hometown of the famous writer Cesare Pavese whose rymes can be found on plaques all over the region. A quick stop to the local market to buy food for our picnic lunch, and right in front of us a large hilly wall: the highlands of Moscato. We start climbing a beautiful road running through the vineyards which rises with a series of tight switchbacks. The road shape reminds a bit the Stelvio pass, but less tough thankfully! We shift down to the lightest gear and take the challenge!
Once we get to the 650 meters high ridge the road flattens, giving an enchanting view over the valley below. We ride several kilometres along the ridge until we reach a unique WWF natural oasis. The warden runs a farm here and he’s also a wine producer: he’ll be happy to host us for a picnic in his garden and serve us some of its Barbera and Moscato crus. Surrounded by nature and silence, it’s the kind of place you would stay forever, but we can’t, we have to we move on. We follow the highland road, below us stands Canelli, the capital of Moscato and final destination of the tour. We ride for over ten kilometers on top of the Langa Astigiana highland, then take the funny and snaky descent towards Canelli. Just before the arrival we meet a low anthropogenic impact farm, where we stop for visiting and a sampling of their Moscato and Barbera wines, our goodbye toast!
DISTANCE: 53 km
ELEVATION: 940 mt
Costs may vary depending on the travel period and number of participants. The figures shown are therefore approximate based on average.
PRICE 650€ PER PERSON INCLUDES:
– two nights stay in small family hotel, double room accommodation with breakfast
– two 3-course gourmet dinners drinks excluded
– one picnic lunch drinks included, two lunches in osteria drinks excluded
– three wine tastings
– classic touring bicycle+helmet
– luggage transport
– taxes, entrances, fees
Additional services such as support van, private transfer to/from the start/end of the tour, electric-assisted bicycle, licensed tour guide, shall be quoted upon request.
The tour will be escorted by an english speaking volunteer local expert: he is not a licenced tour guide but a trustworthy companion, fine connoisseur of the places, culture and oenogastronomy. He will join for free, if the clients enjoyed the tour they can tip him at the end.