In Italy’s north west corner, where the Apennine Mountains meet the Alps lies the region of Piedmont, Italy’s third largest wine region. Known for its rolling hills dotted with castles and villages, breathtaking scenery, abundance of truffle and hazelnuts, but most importantly, excellent food and wine.
Piedmont is aptly named for its geographical location, latin for “at the foot of the mountains”. The endless undulating foothills blanketed by vineyards possess a combination of diverse soils, sun exposure, and a cooling fog, leading to a unique viticulture region.
Barolo has historically reigned supreme in Piedmont overshadowing many of the regions other great wines. In recent years, many Piedmontese producers are making an effort to bring back indigenous grape varietals, such as Arneis from the verge of extinction. The resulting wines have garnered well-deserved attention.
The Langhe region is truly the heart of Piedmontese wine making tradition. Three of this months wines hail from the Langhe. Dolcetto and Barbera from the comune of Alba and Arneis from Roero, just north of Alba (see map).
So small it didn’t make it onto the map is Verduno, a region within the Barolo zone where the rare Pelaverga grape is grown. Only a handful of producers deal with this obscure grape.
The name ‘Asti’ was put on the map by producers of cheap cloying Asti Spumante, however there is so much more! Asti produces mainly Moscato of varying levels of sweetness and effervescence.
Just 50km southeast of Asti is the town of Gavi, home of the Cortese grape. Cortese produces light , dry, elegant whites stylisticallyopposite to its Moscato growing neighbor.
We hope you enjoy your oeneological journey through Piedmonts lesser known varieties.
You may have noticed that all three red wines are bottled in the same shape bottle with the word “ALBEISA” embossed below the shoulders. The “Albeisa” is the Union of Alba Wine Producers. These bottles date back to the 18th century when the winemakers of Alba wanted something unique to differentiate their wines from the rest of Piedmont, they chose a common bottle. These bottles fell out of use during the Napoleonic invasion. In 1973, 16 producers decided to revive the “Albeisa” bottle, today over 200 producers choose to use the bottle and over 9 million bottles are filled every year.