piemonte

A bridge between Italy and France

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Piedmont: not only Barolo and Barbaresco

Piedmont means “on the foothills of the mountains”. The region lies in northwestern Italy, bordering France to the west.
 
The cradle of BaroloBarbarescoBarbera and a few other world-famous wines, it is commonly considered one of Italy’s most important regions for viticulture.
 
Italians consider Piedmont as a bridge between Italy and France: it is geographically so, because the Alps separate it from the latter nation and, over the centuries, commercial trade with France has shaped Piedmontese culture. The Piedmontese dialect also contains several French words: for instance Blangè, which is also the name of a famous Piedmontese wine, derives from the French boulanger (baker).
 
History has further strengthened this cultural bond: the Savoia family, which ruled over Italy from 1861 to 1946, moved from the Savoy region to Turin, the chief town of Piedmont and the first capital of unified Italy. They founded the lordship of Piedmont in the 17th century. They would then become the kings of Italy after Giuseppe Garibaldi conquered the entire national surface on behalf.
 
Once a poor region relying on agriculture, Piedmont also became the cradle of the Italian Industrial boom in the aftermath of World War II. The birth of industrial giants such as Fiat or Ferrero corresponded to a shift towards the production of quality wine. Especially after the Methanol scandal, which occurred in Piedmont in 1986 and caused dozens of casualties among people who had consumed adulterated wine containing methyl alcohol, a group of forward-thinking producers started revolutionizing Piedmontese viticulture. By improving production farming and winemaking techniques, these pioneers managed to produce some of the most sought-after wines in Italy (and in the world).
 
Today Piedmonte is experiencing impressive growth even beyond well-established areas like the Langhe, the region housing the Barolo and Barbaresco DOCGs. What makes the region special is the focus on indigenous varieties. According to the Italian Registry of Wine Grape Varieties, over fifty different ones are scattered across the region’s heterogeneous terroirs, and some of them really possess world-class potential.
Piemonte Wines in a Nutshell
  • Area: 25.387 km2 (2nd out of 20)
  • Mountain: 43,3%
  • Hill: 30,3%
  • Plain: 26,4%
  • Highest peak: Monte Rosa (4.609 mt)
  • Population: 4.251.351 (7,2%)
  • Provinces: Torino, Cuneo, Asti, Alessandria, Vercelli, Novara, Biella e Verbano-Cusio-Ossola

What Makes Piedmont a Perfect Wine Region?

  • Piedmont boasts an ancient winemaking tradition, with the first references to the Nebbiolo grape dating back to the 13th century. It is the land of Barolo and Barbaresco – the former conceived by Marchesi Falletti di Barolo in the 19th century. These world-class wines only account for about 3% of Piedmont’s wine output, meaning that this region has a lot more to offer.
  • What makes this region especially suitable for wine production is the unique geology. Delimiting Piedmont on three sides, the alps create a perfect environment for viticulture – the continental climate favors considerable diurnal shifts during warmer months. 
  • A long time ago, the hills of Piedmont were completely submerged by the Adriatic sea. As the water receded, moderately fertile lands covered by marine sediments started emerging. Such soils allow vineyards to thrive and produce high quality grapes. 
  • In Northeastern Piedmont, the collapse of an ancient volcano resulted in a small river valley, Valsesia, boasting one of the world’s widest variety of soils. The Sesia-Valgrande Geopark became a UNESCO world heritage site in 2013. Usually referred to as the wines of “Alto Piemonte”, Nebbiolo-based reds from this area are slowly garnering international accolades. In the future, Gattinara, Ghemme and Bramaterra – just to name a few – might be as renowned and sought-after as Barolo and Barbaresco.
Interesting facts about Piemonte
  • The region’s viticultural landscape is one of the most distinctive in the world: vineyards occupy every single corner in areas of the Monferrato and Langhe areas, creating a unique scenery. For this reason, Langhe, Roero and Monferrato were inserted in the list of the UNESCO world heritage sites.
  • The Langhe aren’t just a prominent wine destination: they are also a gastronomic district, housing a large concentration of high quality restaurants (many of which hold Michelin stars). Alba white truffle is the most coveted local specialty.
  • The DOC Piemonte covers the entire region, resulting in 94% of the total production benefiting from DOC status. IGT wines don’t exist in Piedmont.
  • 58% of the production is red and rosè wine and 42% is white wine.

insights

Wine areas

In the Piedmont area of Italy, there are a total of 59 wine regions, including well-known ones such as Barolo, Gabiano, Barbera d'Asti, and others. This region is renowned for its diverse and high-quality wine production, offering a rich array to discover.

Grapes

In Piedmont, the most extensively cultivated grape variety is Barbera, known for producing a robust, juicy red wine. Unlike the more tannic wines of Barolo and Barbaresco, Barbera wines offer a smoother and more approachable profile

Wineries

Taste the essence of Italy's Piedmont region as you traverse through the scenic Langhe and Roero areas, indulging in the renowned Barolo and Barbaresco wines, celebrated for their unparalleled quality.

Travel

The ideal time to visit Piemonte, including cities like Turin, Alba, Langhe and the Alpine regions, is during the early fall.

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