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Wine speaks to yacht captain, leads to Italian vineyard

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By Capt. Jay Kimmal

I’m sitting on the Italian Riviera managing a refit in Loano, but instead of heading to the local version of the Blue Lady or La Grotte, I prefer to head to the vineyards in the hills above the marinas. 

And I’m becoming an expert on Piemonte wine.

These wines are amazing. Ten years ago, people only spoke about Barolo around here, and didn’t touch rose wines at all. But then the younger generations started getting serious about wine here, going organic, taking over vineyard management, etc. They have had fantastic results, creating roses that taste like the original red grape with a lighter mouth.

I find the Piemonte wines high in acidity, so they should age well, but the Italians drink them young. Barbaresco wine is huge now, as well as Barbera. A surprise to me is Dolcetto, which I had never tried before. It is a great everyday drinking wine with any bottle less than 10 euros in the store and under 20 at most restaurants.

I discovered a small appellation called Dogliani just near here. It includes 48 family wineries in about an 1,800-acre appellation, each winery owning or renting 5 to 25 acres.

I set up a wine tasting at one of them, Ca Neuva — not something most of them do yet, but the younger generation is pushing to get their wines out there and noticed.

I arrived at the winery and the owner himself greeted me and took me to a tasting room, just for the two of us. His daughter gave us the tasting, and her mother made us appetizers to go with each style of wine. The daughter will be the fourth generation winemaker when she takes over. I left with three cases.

I love this area. Dogliani village has a tasting room for all the wineries in a 16th century convent cellar. And several wineries offer B&B stays, so I hope to be here a long time.

Capt. Jay Kimmal, in yachting more than 20 years, grew up among the vineyards of Northern California before discovering sailing could be a career, mixed with enjoying wine. Comments are welcome at editor@the-triton.com.

Wine speaks. 
Everybody knows it. Look around. Ask the fortune teller on the street corner, the guest that wasn’t invited to the wedding, the village idiot. 
It speaks. 
It’s a ventriloquist. It has a million voices. 
It loosens the tongue, reveals secrets that you shouldn’t have ever told, secrets that you didn’t even know you knew. 
It shouts, raves, and whispers. 
It talks about great things, marvelous projects, tragic loves, and terrible betrayals. It laughs out loud. It silently stifles a laugh. It cries over its thoughts. 
It brings to mind summers from long ago and memories that are best forgotten. 
Every bottle is a breath from other times, other places, and each one is a little miracle.

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