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Wine & Region Overview
To make it as easy as possible in this section we have outlined some of the history and details of the varieties. In the below links you can also see more details on our winery partners and the varieties in the Piemonte region.
King of Wines - Wine of Kings
Tucked into the northwestern corner of Italy and overlooked by Monviso, Monte Bianco (Mont Blanc), the main grape grown here is the distinguished Nebbiolo, which is the base for the famed Barolo and Barbaresco wines. Its name derives from the word nebbia, or fog, because of a velvety, whitish coating over its berries in addition to the fact that it grows in an area where, at ripening time in September, heavy morning fog is a given and the humidity that it provides gives the grapes an ideal habitat.
These wines are ideal for storage and a well-aged Barolo for instance may leave a feeling of drinking velvet because the tannins are polished and integrated more and more into the wine. As the wine matures the colour becomes more brownish and rust-red.
With 46 different DOC and four DOCG areas, Piedmont is the region that produces the largest number of best known, noble, and world-appreciated prize-winning wines, such as Barbera, Barolo, Barbaresco, Dolcetto, Nebbiolo, Grignolino, Malvasia and Asti Spumante among others.
Another distinguished characteristic of Piedmont is that most of its wines are produced on family estates made up of relatively small parcels of land.
The production of strong reds is predominant in this landlocked, mountainous region and are the perfect complement to the rich and hearty cuisine featuring white truffles, fonduta, which is a variation of the Swiss cheese fondue, rice, meats, pastas and stuffed vegetables.
Other popular grapes used for red wine production are Barbera and Dolcetto. Wine made on the Barbera grape is often fruity and delicate with less tannin than wine made from the Nebbiolo grape. Dolcetto on the other side, is not as the name indicates sweet (dolce is Italian for sweet). The grape gives fresh and dry red wines with some tannin. The wines made on the Dolcetto grape should be consumed young.
The sparkling wine Asti Spumante is made from the Moscato grape. The majority of the area's winemaking take places in the provinces of Cuneo, Asti and Alessandria. The Brachetto is another variety used for making sweet and sparkling red wines.
While Turin is the capital of the Piedmont, Alba and Asti are at the heart of the region's wine industry.
Varieties at a glance
Barbera: deep ruby colours, fruity with some acidity enables this wine to be a great quaffer or you can lay it down for a couple of years. Good with or without food
Nebbiolo: the base grape for both Barolo and Barbaresco. A grape that matures late in the season and is high in tannins. Can be cellared but also good for drinking now. Smooth and delicate wine with plenty of flavour and complexity. Good wine for food
Barolo: "The King of Italian Wines" - ideal for cellaring 10-15 years. Its process ensures that before you can even buy a bottle, it has already gone through a strict 3 year ageing process. Full bodied and rich flavours make this a special occasion wine. Must have with food.
Barbaresco: Also made from the Nebbiolo grape but its crafting process and style is completely different. If you love a Barolo suggest you also compare the Barbaresco. Not as big in body but still and big taste and ideal for cellaring. Ideal with food.
Arneis: If you like a white then you must try the local Italian Arneis variety from the Piemonte. Hints of summer fruits such as pears but with nice acidity makes this a great summer wine or with the odd curry and fish meal.
Gavi Di Gavi: another great white wine from the region that matches especially well with seafood but is also great on it's own.