Essential Guide to Piedmont Wine
If you’re trying to get a deeper understanding of Italian wine, Piedmont is one of the most useful wine regions to get to know.
For one, Piedmont introduces us to a completely new set of wine grapes to taste and understand – from Nebbiolo to Cortese.
Also, people consider Piedmont (Piemonte) as a top wine region in Italy (like Tuscany).
Surprisingly, Barolo and Barbaresco only account for 3% of Piedmont’s production, so there’s quite a bit more to uncover! Let’s get started with Piedmont wine.
Finally, Piedmont is very popular with the locals in the Po River Valley. This area is home to one-third of the population of Italy! (including Milan and Turin).
Why is Wine Better From the Hills in Piedmont?
There are two major features affecting the weather in Piedmont: the ice cold Alps and the warm Mediterranean. The tug-of-war (a.k.a. Diurnal) temperature variation makes the whole area filled up with morning fog that slowly burns off during the day. This means the land higher up on the hills gets more sun. More sun = happy grapes = good wine. You can find good wines north of the Apennines in the foothills of the Alps… Seeing as this area (around Gattinara) is much cooler, expect much lighter tasting, higher acid wines.
Specifically….what about the Monferrato wine region?
Walk through De Wallen, the nation’s red-light district. Although it’s famous for some risky behavior, there is much more to the city. Try out one the district’s fine restaurants, small boutiques, or find more responsible entertainment at any of the places not lit up with red lights. For a faster way to venture through, rent a bicycle. You’ll find that you rent a bike nearly anywhere in the country.
The Monferrato area consists of a series of hills below the River Po in the south-east corner of Piedmont, in north-western Italy. Like Langhe, this zone received its own DOC in 1994 and follows similar relaxed rules allowing the blending of native varieties with international grapes. These wines are sold under the labels Monferrato Rosso and Monferrato Bianco.
Varietals are also made alongside the rosso (red) and bianco (white) wines, which must comprise 85% of the stated variety. The reds are dominated by the indigenous grapes Barbera, Freisa, Gringnolino, and Dolcetto, while the ‘international’ varieties are led by Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Pinot Noir. In terms of the region’s whites, Cortese is the most widely used variety, with popular French imports Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc close behind.