Alternative Grape Varieties
The Piedmont region in NE Italy is most famous for its superb Barolo and Barbaresco red wines made from the Nebbiolo grape but there is much more.
Piedmont Wine Region in Italy
The name in Italian, spelt as Piemonte, means at the foot of the mountain. It's proximity to France has had cultural, viticultural and culinary influences.
Quick facts about Piedmont
The two wine treasures of Piedmont are Barolo and Barbaresco, both expressions of the noble Nebbiolo grape.
Barolo is regarded as THE premium Italian wine. It is named after the village at the centre of the sub region.
Barolo is not cheap, but many winelovers believe that it is worth the price. Want to try some barolo? Find a local supplier
Barbaresco is the other noted Nebbiolo based wine in Piedmont. It is grown around the village of that name in a zone to the north and east of the city of Alba.
The most widely grown red wine grape is Barbera, known for its role in producing everyday drinking wines, but also for making Barbera d'Alba and Barbera d'Asti.
A third red variety, Dolcetto, makes up the card for the major local varieties. It is used in blends and in its own DOCs of Dolcetto d'Alba, Dolcetto di Diano d'Alba, Dolcetto di Dogliani and Dolcetto della Langhe Monregalesi.
Other wines include many more red wines, from everyday drinking to richer wines which reward long aging. As well as the traditional local grapes some wineries are now using international varieties such as Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon and Sauvignon Blanc.
The Arneis white wine variety, once a local curiosity is now picking up enthusiastic winemakers and consumers in Australia.
The rich dry white wines of Gavi are made from the Cortese variety.
As the name implies this picturesque region is bounded by mountains. In fact over 40% of the region is mountainous, but about a third of the land is occupied by the plains, mainly of the mighty Po river. It is on these plains and the hills that the wines of the region are grown.
The capital Turin is one of Italy's great cities, even though it is overshadowed by more famous names such as Rome, Milan, Naples, Venice and Florence. It is home to the FIAT car factory.
Other cites include Asti, Albi, Alessandria and Novara.
When should you visit Piedmont?Every season has its advantages and joys but perhaps autumn is best. It is then that you will see the forests in all thieve glory, be able to taste the game in the hunting season and of course the truffles are found in this season. To add to the gastronomic bounty of autumn is the ripening of the fruit and nuts. Wine lovers will also experience the excitement of vintage, but of course most wines will need time in vats and bottles before you can sample them.
You can combine a trip to Piedmont with a visit to nearby Val d'Aosta, Liguria and Lombardy, or perhaps it makes a convenient detour or stopover on your way to Tuscany or Rome.
Finding a hotel or another accommodation type in Piedmont you can use the Vinodiversity Hotel Booking Service. This service searches across all types of accommodation using 20-40 of the leading online booking portals. You get to choose the accommodation you want and you will then be taken to the best booking service for your choice.
Foods of PiedmontGorgonzola cheese is world famous, it is made in a defined area which overlaps part of Piedmont and neighbouring Lombardy. Another cheese specialty is Castelagno
The forests of Piedmont yield lovely Truffles, white and black.
Rice is also grown extensively in this region. Some people are surprised when they learn that Italy produces large quantities of rice, but how do you think the Italians can make all that risotto. Risotto al Barolo uses two Piedmont treasures - Barolo wine and white truffles.
Meat eaters are catered for with Brasato al Barolo (beef braise) and Bollito Misto, Mixed boiled meats.
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