Update 13 June 2012
as well as the apps mentioned below, there are now also apps for La Morra and Verduno. Yesterday saw the release of Masnaghetti's first map of Bordeaux vineyards, covering Pauillac, St-Julien and St-Estèphe.
Update 5 May 2012 a similar app for Barbaresco is now also available from the iTunes store.
Heroic Italian mapmaker Alessandro Masnaghetti has begun translating his beautiful, minutely detailed maps of the vineyards and crus of north-west Italy into a neat digital format. In Italy's vineyards mapped by foot, Walter Speller describes the painstaking creation of the original works of art.
Now you don't even have to wrestle with the paper - though if you have the space to open it out, the paper version is a delight for anyone afflicted, like me, with the joint addictions of cartophilia and vinophilia and it does have more general information about, for example, the wine styles from each cru. I've just downloaded the map app for the Barolo DOCG to my iPhone and it's a simple but extremely handy resource.
The initial brightly coloured map (above) shows the communes within the DOCG; touch La Morra, for example, and you are taken to a detailed and equally clear map of the crus within that commune; touch any of the crus, Brunate, for example, and you find a wealth of information on the altitude, exposure, varieties grown and producers. Plus the co-ordinates to programme your satnav.
Alternatively, you can go straight to a list of producers, ordered alphabetically by name or by commune; select any producer and you have all the contact details, including links to website and email address, as well as exact coordinates and a list of the wines produced. Or you can start from a list of the crus without going via the map.
Everything is in both Italian and English but note that the default is Italian so, once you have downloaded it, go to Info/Cambio Lingua if you want the English version.
When I first opened the app, my thoughtful iPhone warned me that I should close down other apps because this one takes a lot of memory. But this great little app – great not only because the original material is so brilliant but also because it has been well designed for the iPhone – is much, much better than my memory and would be invaluable if you are in the area, or tasting, or shopping for Barolo. Of course there is no evaluation of the producers or wines but for that there are other resources, not least the 875 Barolo tasting notes found via our Tasting notes search.
This is the first map to be released as an iPhone app and costs £5.99 or the equivalent (search on Enogea Barolo in the iTunes store). Two others are already available for iPad: Barolo e Novella and Verduno, both £5.99. Also from the iTunes store.
There's lots more information about Masnaghetti's maps - paper and digitial - on the Enogea website but as far as I can see it's all in Italian.