Piedmont, located in Italy’s famed Po River Valley that is home to Milan and Turin, is generally considered to be one of the country’s most famous wine regions. The two most famous red wines from Piedmont – Barolo and Barbaresco – account for only 3% of the wine region’s total production.
In terms of overall wine production, the split is 65% red and 35% white. Of the red grape varietals, the most popular are Barbera, Nebbiolo and Dolcetto. Of the white grape varietals, the most popular are Moscato d’Asti, Cortese (known locally as Gavi), and Arneis. Other grape varietals found in Piedmont include Brachetto, Quagliano, Grignolino, Vespolina and Freisa.
The greatest wines of Piedmont come from Nebbiolo, which produces a taste that some have called “tar and roses.” Close behind Nebbiolo are the famous Barbera wines – such as Barbera del Monferrato, Barbera d’Asti and Barbera d’Alba.
Some refer to Piedmont as the “Burgundy of Italy” for all the small-scale wineries present in the region and the unrelenting focus on quality and creating wines that truly reflect the local terroir. Piedmont has more DOCGs and DOCs than any other Italian wine region.
Geographically, Piedmont is located to the south of the Alps (which help to form a border with France’s Provence) and to the north of the Apennines, which divide Piedmont from Liguria and the Mediterranean. There are two climate extremes – the frosty cold Alps and the warm Mediterranean – that help to create a morning fog that slowly burns off during the day. The views facing the Alps are truly spectacular, but the best vineyards are actually found amidst the rolling hills of the Apennines.