Piedmont wine covers nearly 50 000 ha of vines that produce 3 million litres each year, 85% of which is red wine. Nestled at the foot of the Alps and the Apennines, the region, on the borders of France and Switzerland, enjoys a climate favourable to the development of vines. Its terroirs are bathed in sunshine while being protected from the winds coming from the Mediterranean.
Italian Piedmont is divided into 3 main wine regions.
First of all, there are the numerous slopes of the northern foothills which produce high-quality wines such as those of Valle d’Aosta. Most of the wine production, however, is concentrated in the hills of Langhe and Monferrato.
East of Turin, Monferrato is renowned for the quality of its red Piedmont wines and its sparkling wines.
Further south, the vines cultivated in the Langhe form part of the production of prestigious Piedmont wines: Barolo, Barbaresco, Barbera d’Alba, Dolcetto d’Alba, etc.
Italian Piedmont is characterised by a very high proportion of classified wines. There are many appellations of controlled origin there. The region has no less than 6 regional appellations, 39 DOCs (Denomination of Controlled Origin) as well as 17 DOCGs (Denomination of Guaranteed and Controlled Origin, the equivalent of French AOCs).
The DOCG appellation is reserved for the most prestigious Piedmont wines, internationally renowned and having benefited from the DOC label for at least 10 years. Several of these appellations are particularly well-known and appreciated by lovers of good, even very good, wines.
The most highly renowned appellations throughout the world for the excellence of their Piedmont wines are the DOCGs Barolo and Barbaresco, which produce intense red wines of character.
Barolo Piedmont wine is also nicknamed “the wine of kings and the king of wines”. DOCG Gattinara and Ghemme appeal to the most demanding palates with a dry red Piedmont wine with an intense aromatic palate.
White wine also adds to the reputation for excellence of Piedmont viticulture.
DOCG Gavi is highly appreciated for its dry white wine with their delicate flavours. Finally, DOCG Asti and Moscato d’Asti produce sparkling white wines with a sweet flavour and great finesse.
Italian Piedmont wines are mainly made from local grape varieties.
The best known and most widely used of these is a traditional grape variety, Nebbiolo. It’s used to produce wine from Piedmont under the appellations Barbaresco, Bariolo, Gattinara and Ghemme. The Nebbiolo grape produces excellent red wines of a beautiful garnet, good acidity and rich in tannins.
As everywhere in Italy, many Piedmont wines bear the name of the grape variety used combined with the region of cultivation. Barbera, known as Barbera d’Alba DOC and Barbera d’Asti DOCG, produces wines with less powerful tannins than Nebbiolo, but with equally high acidity.
Other varieties of red grapes are used to make up Piedmont wines. Dolcetto with its intense, purplish colour, and Freisa, with its red fruit aromas.
The local Brachetto grape is used to make a delicious sparkling red wine under the DOCG Brachetto d’Acqui appellation.
The diversity of grape varieties used for Piedmont white wine is also remarkable.
Once planted on the same plots as Nebbiolo, Arneis is a traditional grape that, after almost disappearing from Piedmont, has been making a comeback since the 1980s. It stands out for its delicate fruity aromas.
Vermentino, also called Favorita, another very popular white grape variety, produces very aromatic Piedmont wines with a strong personality.
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