Over centuries, this world-famous region has taken the nebbiolo to iconic stratums, and debuted distinctive and outstanding wines.
Nestled in the foothills of the Italian Alps, Piedmont, with its strong ties to tradition, seems shielded from the external world as it is from the elements, but in reality, winemakers know exactly what connoisseurs all over the world expect, and know how to deliver it.
Piedmont is often compared to Burgundy and it is a comparison with some merit. Both marry local food and wit effortless grace, and perhaps more importantly, viticulturists of both regions ably find precise sites where their chosen grapes will achieve ultimate expression of the terroir.
Despite its irrefutable status as a classic region, Piedmont continues to evolve and explore to a degree that may surprise even the seasoned enophile.
The most iconic wines of Piedmont come from the stately nebbiolo and in fact the region’s reputation is due almost entirely to its success. It is thought that nebbiolo was used to make wine at least as far back as the Middle Ages, with evidence appearing in writings fro the 13th century. Interestingly enough, nowhere else in Italy and in the world does nebbiolo yield outstanding wines.
Barolo and Barbaresco are relatively small regions that produce fine nebbiolo based wines, Barolo being more majestic than Barbaresco.
Then there is barbera, dolcetto, and of late even pinot noir here cal pinot nero that produce fine wines in their own right, but lack the depth and finesse of nebbiolo.
Arneis is a revered white grape that yields aromatic wines, as does moscato, and now even pinot blanc and chardonnay.
Moscato wines can be sparkling or still and sweet i.e Moscato d’Asti, or frizzante and low alcohol (5 per cent ABV) very aromatic Moscato d’Asti naturale. You can try single vineyard 2004 Cerviano Barolo from Abbona, or Marcenasco, 2007, from Renato Ratti, Basarin Vigna Gianmate Barbaresco, 2007, from Bruno Giacosa, and see the differences of interpretations of the same grape ad how the terroir changes both aromas and flavours.
You can also experiment with Papa Celso 2010 from Abbona and which consists of dolcetto grapes exclusively, or barbera d’Alba, 2010 from Giacomo Borgogno, or Nebbiolo d’Alba 2009 from Poderi Colla.
Albarossa is a cross between nebbiolo and barbera that yields very elegant and approachable wines. Try Lalus Albarossa, 2008 from Regali to see how you like it.
Moscato d’Asti, a famous sparkling and aromatic wine is made by many vermouth producers like Martini e Rossi, Cinzano, and many others.
Moscato d’Asti natural is made by small wineries. It can be absolutely delightful with ripe tropical fruits, or fruit salads spiked with the same wine.
The wine is delicate and transportation must occur in refrigerated containers otherwise it literally “cooks”.
Be especially careful if you find this wine in tropical countries where proper storage facilities lack!
|Writer – Hrayr Berberoglu – E-mail – Read his books?
Professor B offers seminars to companies and interested parties on any category of wine, chocolates, chocolates and wine, olive oils, vinegars and dressings, at a reasonable cost.