Organic Wines of Piedmont: La Campore
We happened upon La Campore right at the end of our visit to Torino, literally an hour before we jumped into our taxi to Milan airport, with our super friendly, but disconcertingly casually racist taxi driver. Which is quite clearly another story.
La Campore were displaying their wares as part of the Terra Madre Salone de Gusto festival and I feel that they deserve as much showcasing as possible because they embody absolutely the best of everything that the festival represents. Their relatively small, rural vineyard has been in the family since 1974. They create boutique wines of the region, many of which hold organic status. And best of all, they neighbour the La Cascinassa farm, which breeds Piedmontese dairy goats, pigs and cows. As we all know, what grows together goes together and this is what gave us probably the best tasting experience of the whole trip.
Sadly, as we were literally about to leave Turin, I didn’t have the time to make any notes about the wines, save to say they were delicious! I did find the time to taste my way through the whole range, however, and to select a glass of the Erbaluce no-sulfite white, an organic specialty of theirs, to drink at rough leisure. By rough leisure, I mean walking through the streets of Turin with a plastic cup. Stay classy.
Their wines have fantastic flavour, with the no sulfite white having a slight haze in colour, as you would expect, but retaining the full punch of a 100% Erbaluce wine. Erbaluce creates a light, crisp apple-tinted wine, but the absence of sulfites gave a notable softening of this wine in comparison to its preserved sibling under the Caluso DOP.
As you might expect for a winery in the Piedmont region, they also make some absolutely spiffing red wines. Their Canavese DOP reds were a blend containing predominantly Barbera (one of my favourite grapes) but they also made a simply stunning Nebbiolo (which is now threatening to overtake Barbera in my list of favourite grapes.)
Naturally, all of these wines went well with the selection of goat cheese we were offered from La Cascinassa. We sampled a range of cheeses – soft cheeses flavoured with curry powder, one rolled in organic hemp seed also grown on the farm, and a selection of their harder cheeses with a variety of months of aging behind them.
I think the freshness and fullness of the flavour of all of the La Cascinassa cheeses was so apparent because of the obvious passion and care that the farmer puts into his herds. The animals are all reared according to exceptionally high welfare standards, including processing their animal feed themselves using products taken from the farm itself; grain, hay, corn, silage and so forth. This allows for complete traceability on site and total control of the diet the animals receive at different points in their natural cycles throughout the year.
Should I get the opportunity to return to northern Italy, visiting these lovely, affable farmers and winemakers will be high on my list. Their farming is sustainable and their lifestyle deeply enviable. In the meantime, if you get the opportunity to try anything mentioned herein, I encourage you to seize the opportunity!