Piemonte

Regional detail

Location

The north west corner of Italy from the Mediterranean Sea to the foot of the mountains/ Alps (literally "Pied" foot " Monte" Mountain"). Its proximity to France sharing geography ("Monte Bianco") and culture ("Napoleonic excursions") has led to many French influences in the Piedmontese culture, perhaps explaining why wine and food is so important here. Most important vineyard area is in around the towns of Alba and Asti some 50 km south east of Turin. The hills of the Langhe is the the area probably most well known.

Climate

Inland areas becoming increasing continental than Mediterranean, with harsh, cold winters and hot, dry summers. Average rainfall similar to that of Bordeaux

Topography

Intensely planted in the Langhe hills and Monferrato meaning variations in local sites and exposition. Generally, rolling hills providing ideal vineyard conditions of excellent drainage, out of frost threatened valley floors and cooler summer nights.

Soils

Anyone driving through the Langhe hills will be struck by the creamy colour of the soils and white pebbles signifying a high calcareous content in the clay. Some producers claim the blue clay to be best for Nebbiolo. In the Roero, soils are sandier producing wines of a lighter structure

Average annual production

2.889.000 HL
Piemonte Placeholder
Piemonte

Grapes

Albarosso

Description

Blue grape that is a barbera x nebbiolo-crossing. Not grown commercially, but has a certain reputation. Crossing made by Giovanni Dalmasso and there are reputed attempts for commercial growing.Albarossa is said to have a barbera-like fruitiness, but with more structure and tannins

Principle Wines

Piemonte DOC
Arneis

Description

Traditionally low yielder and minor variety to blend with Nebbiolo. Modern viticulture/ vinification largely resolved problems of low acidity and tendency to oxidise. Preferred terrain is the light, chalky, sandy terra Bianca of the Roero where the town Canale can be considered its centre.

Principle Wines

Roero Arneis, Langhe Arneis
arneis grape
Barbera

Description

Productive, versatile, Italy's 3rd most planted red grape after Sangiovese and Montepulciano. Also found in the New World Ripens relatively late; after Dolcetto but before Nebbiolo. Chief characteristic is its natural high acidity. High Anthocyanin (colour) levels, low tannins. There is also Barbera Bianca. In Alba the best sites are given to Nebbiolo. In Asti some of the best sites are in and around the warmer mesoclimate of Nizza. Prone to reduction.

Principle Wines

Barbera d'Alba, Barbera d'Asti, Barbera del Monferrato, Piemonte Barbera, Langhe Barbera and blends in Langhe Rosso, Monferrato Rosso.
barbera grape
Brachetto

Description

Aromatic, light skinned grape. Mostly in Asti, Acqui, Alessandria areas.

Principle Wines

Mostly slightly sweet, light, sparkling but sometimes red and dry
brachetto grape
Cortese

Description

Grown as far east as Lake Garda where it can enter the blend of Bianco d Custoza. Its true home is the Alto Monferrato. Acidity is always marked even in hot years which adds to its green apple character and potential for ageing. In cool years it can struggle for ripeness with some producers resorting to using MCR (mosto concentrato rettificato) and malolactic fermentation.

Principle Wines

Gavi, Gavi di Gavi, Alto Monferrato and Piemonte
cortese grape
Dolcetto

Description

Early ripening, provinces of Cuneo and Alessandria. Soft, round fruity styles with fragrants of liquorice and almonds Mainly planted on sites where other varieties may not ripen. Easy to cultivate but tricky to vinify.Lower in acidity than Barbera it has considerable tannins and Anthocyanins. Prone to reduction

Principle Wines

In Piemonte there are 7 DOCs: Acqui, Alba, Asti, Diano d'Alba, Dogliani, Langhe Monregalesi, Ovada. In Liguria aka Ormeasco
dolcetto grape
Erbaluce

Description

This is also can be known as Albaluce for its copper colour in the autumn sun. Although made in small quantites, the passito is more interesting than the dry "Caluso" whose acidity is marked. Some metodo classico is also made.

Principle Wines

Erbaluce di Caluso, Caluso passito, Metodo Classico Tradizionale
erbaluce grape
Favorita

Description

Sometimes known as Furmentin, and related to Vermentino. Late ripening. Centres on the town of Corneliano in the Roero High acidity and lacking in aroma.

Principle Wines

Principle Wines
favorita grape
Freisa

Description

Light red. Vineyards found in Asti, Cuneo, Alessandria. High levels of acidity and tannins for a light colour

Principle Wines

Freisa d'Asti, Freisa di Chieri
freisa grape
Grignolo

Description

Light red almost onion skin colour, with an acquired taste. High levels of acidity and vegetal aroma.

Principle Wines

Grignolo d'Asti, Grignolo del Monferrato, Grignolo Piemonte
grignolo grape
Moscato

Description

In its various guises: Moscato Bianco or locally called Moscato di Canelli (Muscat a Petits Grains) is the preferred Muscat in Piedmont. Muscat of Alessandria, its larger berried cousin, is essentially a table grape. It thrives in the light, chalky, limestone hills of Asti and Alessandria. Second most planted grape in Piedmont after Barbera

Principle Wines

Asti, Moscato
moscato grape
Nebbiolo

Description

For the best sites: south, south-west exposition, limestone based soils, near to but generally not at the top of, slopes. Buds early, thus susceptible to frost damage. Ripens late when autumnal mists abound – hence the derivative of nebbia, meaning fog. Inclined to uppish acidity, tannin and sugar levels 1st mentioned in 1303 in Pier di Crescenzi's Ruralium Commodrum. Plantings in about 6% of total vineyard area in Piedmont; 7.5% in Lombardy; 27% in Valle d'Aosta 40 diferent clones identified but 3 clones dominate: Lampia (most widely found and reliable), Michet (arguable higher potential), Rosé (the most perfumed but lightest in body and colour). AKA Spanna in the Province of Navarra. AKA Picutener in Carema DOC,Vale d'Aosta AKA Chiavennasca in Valtelina DOC, Lombardy.

Principle Wines

Barolo, Barbarbaresco, Roero, Nebbiolo d'Alba, blend in Langhe Rosso
nebbiolo grape
Pelavega

Description

Almost exclusive to the tiny commune of Verduno, Barolo. Light in colour and delicate in flavour. Spicey aromas with strawberries and rosehip.

Principle Wines

Verduno Pelavega or Verduno
Quagliano

Description

Rare, red grape from the western end of Piedmont. Makes usually red dessert wines and some spumante. Still reds are also known.

Principle Wines

Colli Totornesi
Timorasso

Description

Virtually extinct some decades ago has now been revived in the Tortona area of Eastern Piedmont. This white quality grape gives stoney, mineral style wines similar to those of Northern France and Gavi.

Principle Wines

Colli Totornesi

Major Appellations DOCG/DOC

Asti DOCG

Description

By far the largest single Italian DOC, this spumante is made on an industrial scale and is famous the world over, somewhat symbolizing the traditional Italian wine world. It has recently become distict from the better quality, lower in alcohol, frizzante Moscato d'Asti aka simply "Moscato" which is made by many a top producer, even in the Barolo area. During fermentation, when the alcohol reaches 5.5 abv. it undergoes a natural sparkling process until reaching 7 abv. giving it between 5-6 atmospheres of pressure. It, therefore, is more alcoholic, less sweet and more bubbly than its "superior" Moscato cousin, although it tends to taste sweeter because of a lack of structure and ultimately quality.

Principle Wines

Moscato
Barbaresco DOCG

Description

Sometimes referred to as a feminine Barolo, which is perhaps misleading. Here one can really see the effect of terroir which makes Barbaresco a very different wine to Barolo, although as a matter of degree rather than fundamental difference, namely in its capacity to beguile with its aromas and purity of fruit, crystalline acidity and the dichotomy of power and finesse. By law it has a year less aging than Barolo, although producers can age for the same time as Barolo.

Principle Wines

Nebbiolo
Barbera d'Alba DOC

Description

Seductive fruitiness, low tannins, cleansing acidity, this wine is capable of good although perhaps simple quality even at rock bottom prices. It is also capable of making some of Italy's more complex and top end wine from more reputable smaller producers. The Alba version tends to be a little more pricey but there's not much in it and includes many of the prestigious Barolo producers.

Principle Wines

Barbera
Barbera d'Asti DOCG

Description

Many top quality astigiani versions exist as well as the entry levels. Asti producers more or less 3 times more than in Alba. In style there’s little in it depending on the producer’s elevage techniques

Principle Wines

Barbera
Barolo DOCG

Description

Average annual production of 50,000 Hl. Aged for 3 years of which 1 in wood. The Riserva's aged for 4 ¾ years. Tradizionalisti age and macerate for long periods – in large Slavonion oak botti and 30 days on the skins and 4 to 5 years before release. Modernisti age in barrique and have shorter macerations of sometimes 4-5 days using rotofermentors (which traditionalists tend to frown upon).

Principle Wines

Nebbiolo
Brachetto d'Acqui or Acqui DOCG

Description

Small production of light, red semi sweet sparkling, used widely in Italy as aperitif but mostly dessert wine especially with pandoro.

Principle Wines

Brachetto
Dolcetto d'Alba DOC

Description

Darker colour and more alcohol make it a more important Dolcetto than the others which can also age for up to 5 years

Principle Wines

Dolcetto
Dolcetto d'Asti DOC

Description

Made throughout the Monferrato area as an alternative to Barbera, it should be consumed young.

Principle Wines

Dolcetto
Dolcetto di Diana d'Alba DOC

Description

Young, fruity and richly structured, mainly grown on hillsides of the Langa Albese

Principle Wines

Dolcetto
Dolcetto di Dogliani DOC

Description

Grown to the west of Alba in the province of Cuneo, some say this is Dolcetto's true home and expression, perhaps because this area specializes in Dolcetto rather than any other grape.

Principle Wines

Dolcetto
Erbaluce di Caluso or Caluso DOC

Description

This also can be known as Albaluce for its copper colour in the autumn sun. Although made in small quantites, the passito is more interesting than the dry "Caluso" whose acidity is marked. Some metodo classico is also made

Principle Wines

Erbaluce
Gattinara DOCG

Description

With some ageing before release (3 years), Gattinara has a difficult style for most consumers in export markets: a pale red colour, harsh tannins and fruit less than generous, it is a wine appreciated at a local level for its finesse and perfume.

Principle Wines

Nebbiolo (Spanna), 90%; Bonarda di Gattinara, up to 10%; Vespolina, up to 4%
Gavi or Cortese di Gavi DOCG

Description

Mostly made in a still style but there are also some spumante. It typically has high green apple, steely acidity.

Principle Wines

Cortese
Ghemme DOCG

Description

Nebbiolo based and therefore some of its characteristics, without perhaps its power and dominance. Some juiciness given by the Bonarda (which is not the same as the Lombard Bonarda!).

Principle Wines

Nebbiolo (Spanna), 65-85%; Vespolina, 10-30%; Bonarda novarese (Uva Rara), 15%
Langhe DOC ( a multi DOC*)

Description

Bianco – blends of above white grapes Rosso – blends of above red grapes Varietal – Chardonnay, Dolcetto, Favorita, Freisa Arneis – On the "right" bank of the Tanaro, heavier Calcareous clay than the Roero area, more structured wines. Lower acidity and a tendency to oxidise have largely been resolved by modern agricultural and winemaking methods. Nebbiolo – similarily, this style of Nebbiolo has a tendency to be more structured than its Roero counterpart.

Principle Wines

Arneis, Chardonnay, Dolcetto, Favorita, Freisa, Nebbiolo
Moscato d'Asti DOCG

Description

Often confused with Asti, this is a very different wine, uaually of higher quality and in vastly inferior volumes. The Moscato grapes are centre on the calcareous soils of Canelli, Santo Stefano Belbo, Calosso, Castiglione Tinella. Acqui Terme in the Province of Alessandria another importante centre with significant quality moscato also grown in the province of Cuneo. A frizzante rather than a spumante and lower alcohol 5.5 %, although grapes grown with a higher potential alcohol, Moscati d'Asti is usually a far superior wine to its industrial cousin, Asti.

Principle Wines

Moscato 100%
Nebbiolo d'Alba DOC

Description

In good years and with good producers can resemble young and less complex Barolo and Barbaresco. Tannins can be softer for an easier drinking style. Being a wine of lesser structure it tends to mature quicker in bottle.

Principle Wines

Nebbiolo 100%
Roero DOCG

Description

Rosso – Nebbiolo North of Alba on "left" bank of Tanaro is the Roero area. Hills are lower but steeper than the Langhe, lighter soils with more sand – less structured reds and more perfumed. Canale is the principle town of Roero Arneis - Also but rarely made in a spumante style. This caught the imagination of the wine world when Vietti and Bruno Giacosa first vinified the dry white in the early 1970s

Principle Wines

Nebbiolo, Arneis.

Other Appellations DOCG/DOC

Albugnano DOC

Principle Wines

Nebbiolo, Freisa, Barbera, Bonarda
Alta Langa DOC

Principle Wines

Pinot Nero, Chardonnay
Barbera del Monferrato DOC

Principle Wines

Barbera
Boca DOC

Principle Wines

Nebbiolo (Spanna), Vespolina, Bonarda Novarese
Bramaterra DOC

Principle Wines

Nebbiolo (Spanna), Vespolina, Bonarda, Croatina
Canavese DOC

Principle Wines

Nebbiolo, Freisa, Barbera, Bonarda, Neretto, Erbaluce
Carema DOC

Principle Wines

Nebbiolo
Cisterna d'Asti DOC

Principle Wines

Croatina
Colli Tortonesi DOC (a multi DOC*)

Principle Wines

Bianco
- Cortese, Riesling, Pinot Bianco, Favorita, Muller Thurgau
Rosso
- Aleatico, Barbera, Bonardo, Dolcetto, Grignolo, Nebbiolo
Chiaretto
- see red
Timorasso
- Timorasso
Monleale
- 85% Barbera
Collina Torinese DOC

Principle Wines

Rosso
- Barbera 60%, Freisa 25%
Varietal
- Barbera, Freisa
Colline Novarese DOC

Principle Wines

Rosso
- Nebbiolo, 30%; Uva rara, 40%; Vespolina Croatina
Bianco
- Erbaluce
Colline Saluzzesi DOC

Principle Wines

Rosso
- Pelavega, Nebbiolo, Barbera
Quagliano
- 100% Quagliano
Coste della Sesia DOC

Principle Wines

Rosso
- Nebbiolo, Bonarda, Dolcetto, Uva Rara, Vespolina
Bianco
- Erbaluce
Dolcetto delle Langhe Monregalesi DOC

Principle Wines

Dolcetto
Dolcetto di Dogliani Superiore DOCG

Principle Wines

Prié Blanc
Dolcetto di Ovada DOC

Principle Wines

Dolcetto
Fara DOC

Principle Wines

Nebbiolo, Vespolina, Bonarda Novarese (Uva Rara)
Freisa d'Asti DOC

Principle Wines

Freisa. Dry and amabile styles
Freisa di Chieri DOC

Principle Wines

Freisa Both dry and amabile styles
Gabiano DOC

Principle Wines

Barbera 90%, Freisa, Grignolo
Grignolino d'Asti DOC

Principle Wines

Grignolo
Grignolino del Monferrato Casalese DOC

Principle Wines

Grignolo
Langhe Chardonnay DOC

Principle Wines

Chardonnay
Langhe Dolcetto DOC

Principle Wines

Dolcetto
Langhe Favorita DOC

Principle Wines

Favorita
Langhe Freisa DOC

Principle Wines

Freisa - Frizzante, Red, Dry
Lessona DOC

Principle Wines

Nebbiolo (Spanna) 85%, Vespolina, Bonarda
Loazzolo DOC

Principle Wines

Moscato Bianco
Malvasia di Casorzo d'Asti DOC

Principle Wines

Malvasia Nera 90%, Barbera, Freisa, Grignolo
Malvasia di Castelnuovo Don Bosco DOC

Principle Wines

Malvasia di Schierano 85%; Freisa, up to 15%.
Monferrato (a multi DOC*)

Principle Wines

Bianco
- local white grape blend
Rosso
- local red grape blend
Varietal
- Casalese Cortese, Chiaretto or Ciaret, Dolcetto, Freisa
Piemonte (a multi DOC*)

Principle Wines

Varietal - Barbera, Bonarda, Brachetto, Chardonnay, Cortese, Grignolino, Moscato, Pinot Nero
Pinerolese (a multi DOC*)

Principle Wines

Rosato
- local red grape blend
Rosso
- local red grape blend
Varietal
- Barbera, Bonarda, Dolcetto, Doux d'Henry (red), Freisa, Rami'e (red)
Rubino di Cantavenna DOC

Principle Wines

Barebra, Grignolo, Freisa DOC
Ruché di Castagnole Monferrato DOC

Principle Wines

Ruché with 10% Barbera or Brachetto
Sizzano DOC

Principle Wines

Nebbiolo, Vespolino, Bonarda Novarese Also varietal wine Sangiovese
Strevi DOC

Principle Wines

Moscato (dessert wine)
Valsusa DOC

Principle Wines

Avana', Barbera, Dolcetto, Beretta cunese
Verduno Pelaverga or Verduno DOC

Principle Wines

Pelavega
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Zones/Crus/Subzones

Barbaresco

Intro

- There are much different communes entitled to make Barbaresco, all of which have sottozone or crus

Neive

- According to Italo Stupino of Castello di Neive Barbaresco should have been called Neive, one of the 3 Barbaresco communes. Documents show that one of the first dry, serious nebbiolos was actually labelled Neive and won a competition in London in the 19th Century. The name Barbaresco came much, much later. Neive is also home to the Bruno Giacosa winery.
- Incorporating the following crus/ sottozone: Albesani, Balluri, Basarin, Bordini, Bricco, Canova, Casaase, Cotta’, Curra’, Gaia-Principe, Gallina, Macorino, Rivetti, San Cristoforo, San Giuliano, Serraboella, Serracapelli, Serragrilli, Starderi.

Barbaresco

- As one travels from Asti to Alba, the first real “Nebbiolo” landmark on your left, is the medieval tower from the piazza in Barbaresco. The town of Barbaresco is dominated by one of Italy’s most famous producers – Angelo Gaia.
- Incorporating the following crus/ sottozone: Asili, Ca’ Grosso, Cars, Cavanna, Cole, Cortini, Faset, Martinenga, Montaribaldi, Montefico, Montestefano, Muncagota, Niccolini, Ovello Montefico, Paje’, pora Asili, Rabaja’ Bas, Rabaja’, Rio Sordo, Roccalini, Roncaglie, (incorporating Sori’ Tildin and Costa Russi), Roncagliette, Ronchi, Secondine, Tre Stella, Trifolero, Vicenziana

Treiso

- The 3rd and most southern of the Barbaresco communes and somewhat the poorer cousin, in notoriety that is, and certainly not quality. Much improved vineyard management and winemaking makes demands attention and the possibilty to find true value Barabresco.
- Incorporating the following crus/ sottozone:Ausario, Bernadot, Bricco, Bungiovan, Canta, Casot, Castellizzano, Ferrere, Garassino, Giacone, Giacosa, Manzola, Marcarino, Meruzzano, Montersino, Nervo, Paiore’, Rizzi, Rombone, San Stunet, Sant’Alessandro, Valeriano, Vallegrande.
Barolo

Intro

There are 11 communes entitled to make Barolo all of which have individual sotto-zone or vineyard sites often called Crus (slightly misleading as there is no official rank). However, there is a development towards distguishing “village wine” which belongs to a commune and is invariably a blend of different recognised sottozone. Eg:Barolo - could be a blend of Nebbiolos from any of the 8 communes and umptine vineyards Barolo Serralunga - could be a blend of vineyards of different vineyards from Serralunga, including Cerretta and, for example, Baudana. Barolo Cerretta - is only from the Cerretta vineyard, in the commune of Serralunga which in the Barolo delimited DOC.

Barolo

- The historic and picturesque town gives it name to this famous wine. Set in a steep valley between the communes of La Morra and Serralunga.
- The main sottozone are on ridges that run from east to west.
- Important Sottozone:Brunate, Cannubi, Castellero, Cerequio, Fossati, Cannubi Boschis, Cannubi Muscatel, Cannubi San Lorenzo, Sarmassa, Cannubi Valletta.

Castiglione Falletto

- To the east of Barolo lies this commune whose ridges and hills reach right to the heart of Barolo
- Important Sottozone: Bricco Boschis, Brunella, Fiasc, Monprivato, Parussi, Pira, Rocche, Serra, Valletti, Villero

Grinzano Cavour

- Perhaps the least known of the Barolo communes in the far east of the appellation towards Alba
- Importante Sottozone:Borzone, Canova, Castello, Gustava, La Corle.

La Morra

- One of the highest communes of Barolo with a long swathe of mostly South facing vineyards. To the North of the Barolo appellation, looking down on Barolo, one can see virtually all of the Barolo appellations from its highest strategic viewpoint (where a good restaurant is conveniently located).
- Incorporating the following crus/ sottozone: Bricco Manzoni, Bricco Rocca, Bricco San Biagio Brunate , Capalot, Case Nere, Cerequio, Conca, Fossati, La Serra, Monfalletto, Rive, Rocche, Rocche dell’Anunziata, Rocchette, Rocchettevino, Roere, , Roggeri, Sarmassa, Serra dei Turchi.

Monforte

- Boasting some one of the most famous surnames in Barolo, Conterno , Monforte lies directly south of Barolo in the southern corner of the Barolo appellation.
- Incorporating the following crus/ sottozone: Bussia, Castelletto, Cerretta, Conterni, Dardi, Ginestra, Le Coste, Manzoni Soprani, Mosconi, Pianpolvere, Santo Stefano, Visette.

Novello

- In the far west corner of the appellation is Novello, seemingly forgotten and overshadowed by its more prestigious neighbours.
- Incorporating the following crus/ sottozone:Cerviano, Ravera, Sottocastello.

Serralunga

- This is another of the more famous vineyard areas with many famous names boasting vineyards here like Bruno Giacosa. Serralunga lies in the South East of the appellation and borders both Monforte and Castiglione Falletto
- Incorporating the following crus/ sottozone: Arione, Boscareto, Cerrati, Cerretta, Cappalotto, Colombaro, Costabella, Damiano, Falletto, Fontanafredda, Francia, Gabutti, La Serra, Lazzarito, Manocino, Marenca, Margheria, Ornato, Parafada, Pradone, Prapo’ or Pra di Po, Rivette, San Bernardo, San Rocco, San Rocco, Sorano, Teodoro, ei, Vignarionda, Vughera.

Verduno

- The furthest north of the communes and where Barolo finishes to the North, leading down to the plains.
- Incorporating the following crus/ sottozone: Boscatto, Breri, Campasso, Massara, Monvigliero, Pisapla, Pria, Riva, Rocca, San Lorenzo, Sottocastello.