OUR GUIDE TO VISITING THE RATTI WINERY IN PIEDMONT

Winemaker Pietro Ratti makes elegant wines from high-elevation vineyards in La Morra in the Barolo appellation, combining depth with distinct elegance. Complete your visit with a stay at the winery and a tasting with Pietro and his team

Ratti guests can stay at the newly restored Villa Pattono, an elegant building that has been in Pietro’s mother’s family for generations. Perched on top of a hill at Costigliole d’Asti, in the heart of the Barbera d’Asti between the Langhe, Monferrato and Roero, it is surrounded by vineyards and picturesque countryside.

Pietro’s great-grandmother, Vittoria Pattono Calissano, lived in Genoa but liked spending her summer holidays here, and would often use the villa to host friends with great food and wine. Ten years ago, Pietro began converting the villa into a 13-room boutique hotel with a spa, swimming pool, and a restaurant serving Piedmont cuisine and Ratti wines.

“It’s a unique place in the area, offering a quiet, relaxed place to stay with top service,” he says of the elegant building. “My plan is to continue my great-grandmother’s sense of hospitality here with top-level food and wine experiences.”

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Italian Villa at Barolo Wine Estate Maze Row

Pairing with Pietro

“We make wines that can be consumed with food, opened straight away or kept in the cellar. Barbera is one of the most food-friendly wines because of its natural acidity and fruit. It’s a good wine to drink young or a little aged to get more of the earthy aromas. It is versatile and works well with easy dishes such as pasta with tomato or meat sauce, any type of pizza, even chicken and meatballs,” says Pietro Ratti.

“Nebbiolo is the greatest grape — it has a very different personality to Barbera, with more aromatic complexity and good acidity in the mouth. The wines are also versatile with food, even working well with spicy Asian dishes, as it can handle the more complex spices. Barolo is, of course, the king of the table because of layers of personality and complexity. It’s never too much nor is it boring, and it gets better with age, becoming more and more exciting.”

Ratti’s soldiers

The bottle labels come with their own unique story. Winery founder Renato Ratti initially used the name of the monastery to label his wines, feeling he needed some historical context to market the products. But because the Piedmont region has such deep familial connections, he soon rebranded under his own name. Two years ago, his son and the current owner Pietro simplified the name further to Ratti.

The winery logo comes from the crest of the family who originally lived here. The Latin translation is “If you try me, you will know me.” Renato worked with a military scholar knowledgeable in the uniforms of Piedmont’s Savoy soldiers in Napoleonic times to ensure the most authentic depiction. He also added information on the campaigns they were fighting, but Pietro discontinued that story line on the label.

Maze Row Wine Lunch at Pietro Rattis winery
Ratti Barolo Wines

The insider guide: Pietro’s tour of “his” Piedmont

When to visit

In the fall because of the top cuisine — white truffles! Then in the winter Piedmont is great for skiing with the Alps only an hour away, in the spring the days are long and there are new wines ready to taste from cellars, and in the summer it’s hot and fun with great beaches only an hour’s drive away.

Where to eat

Here is the Mecca for food, even burgers are made from our veal (fassona) and are so tasty! There are around 20 restaurants with Michelin stars here, so you can eat well every day in different places.

The great outdoors

For skiing, Mondole is only an hour’s drive from Ratti, then over two hours brings you to the resorts of Champoluc, Monterosaski and to the top of western Alps. The local Piedmont Alps are also fantastic for summer hiking, while local hills are great for walking in the spring and fall.

Window shopping

In Alba you can find plenty of nice shops and boutiques since it’s isolated from other cities and has a wealthy community. It is almost like Capri — open all year.

Favourite Ratti vintage

It is always the last vintage, because of the vivid memory of the efforts, the feelings, the moments…

Aperitivo time

It’s season dependent: in the winter I’m into bubbles; in the summer I like a cocktail, spritz, gin and tonic, or a Negroni.

Morning ritual

I read the newspaper on my iPad while having breakfast, then I try to walk on my treadmills to burn off last night’s big dinner!

BANNER IMAGE: RATTI WINERY AND VISITOR CENTER. OTHER IMAGES: VILLA PATTONO AND THE RATTI HOSPITALITY EXPERIENCE. PHOTOGRAPHY © LEIGH BANKS, HELEN CATHCART, ROBERTO FORTUNATO

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