Piedmont vineyards – home to Barolo, the wine of king and king of wines, and plenty more

Piedmont vineyards are some of the most pictureque in the world. Rolling green hills covered with stripes of vines and punctuated here and there with medieval castles and towns. What could be more romantic?

DMC Christian photo
Holidays & Multi-Day Tour Packages - Depart Northern Italy - Minimum Spend €500 per person, per day

However, Piedmont vineyards are not only stunningly attractive, they also produce some of the most sought-after red wines in the world. Barolo, the wine of kings and the king of wines originates in the Langhe, around the towns of Alba and Asti, where in autumn the fogs roll in along the river Tanaro and allow the grapes above them to ripen all the more effectively, before it burns off later in the day. This fog gives its name to the grape variety that produces Barolo, Barbaresco and Roero, wines that are created from Nebbiolo, from the Italian ’nebbia’, meaning fog. One Piedmont vineyard from Barolo that deserves special mention is ’Cannubi’, one of the earliest mentioned individual vineyards in Italy, which oral tradition and high prices has elevated to ’cru’ status. A good Barolo will age for several decades with its initially grippy tannins softening to velvet and the wine developing flavours and aromas of forest floor, truffles, tar and rose. A Barolo, or Barbaresco for that matter, will pair perfectly with the autumnal fare of mushrooms, truffles and risottos for which Piedmontese cuisine is rightly famous.

In ’Alto Piemonte’, High Piedmont, the home of Ghemme and Gatinara, Nebbiolo is known as Spanna and is grown high up in the mountains, with vineyards clinging to the steep slopes, a different picture indeed to a Piedmont vineyard in the rolling hills of the Langhe.

Piedmont has a cold, continental winter climate and Piedmont vineyards are typically planted on hillsides between about 150 and 400 metres in altitude. Nebbiolo or Barbera generally profit from south-facing slopes while Dolcetto and Moscato are planted to cooler sites.

Naturally, Piedmont vineyards are not only all about Nebbiolo, although it is predominantly red wine country, with the Barbera and Dolcetto varieties also being planted extensively in the Langhe. Barbera is the most widely planted variety in all of Piedmont vineyard areas and makes a juicy red wine that is not as tannic as Nebbiolo. Its best expression is to be found in the Nizza DOCG in the province of Asti. Dolcetto is a light, fruity red which some compare with Beaujolais. There are also plenty of indigenous red varieties to tickle the taste buds of the curious.

Piedmont vineyards are also home to Asti Spumante, or Asti as it is often known. Many will have tried this sweet sparkler with its exotic perfumed aromas of grape and lychee, which despite being sweet still has a delicate light body and enough acidity to give it enough lift and avoid being cloying. Perfect as an aperitif. Its more gently sparkling, and sweeter sibling, Moscato d’Asti makes a wonderful partner for light desserts. Both are made from the Moscato Bianco variety and have a low alcohol content.

piedmont wine tastings - Wine Paths

Piedmont has a cold, continental winter climate and Piedmont vineyards are typically planted on hillsides between about 150 and 400 metres in altitude. Nebbiolo or Barbera generally profit from south-facing slopes while Dolcetto and Moscato are planted to cooler sites.

Another Piedmont vineyard area that deserves our attention is that of Gavi, in the province of Alessandria. Cortese di Gavi DOCG is produced here on limestone soils, yielding a zesty acidic white wine with flavours of lemon and green apple, together with a mineral finish.

Interestingly the Piedmont vineyards produce more DOCG wines than any other region in Italy, with nearly 84% of all Piedmont vineyard areas falling under this designation. Unlike Tuscany, there is no IGT (Indicazione Geografica Tipica) classification, where Super Tuscans account for an increasing share of the region’s pie.

If you’d like to discover the Piedmont vineyards for yourself, at Wine Paths, our team of local experts can help you to arrange the details.

 

If you're interested in one of our Piedmont Wine Tours, please visit this link.

Discover our wine and spirits experiences around the world

Why book with Wine Paths?