Piedmont (or Piemonte) wines are made in the northwestern corner of Italy. With the Mediterranean Sea to the south and the Alps to the north and west, the Piedmont region enjoys a continental climate. This means cold winters and very warm, dry summers, with dense fog common in the fall. Most of the highly acclaimed Piedmont wines are from the south-central, Alba area, and also from the Asti and Alessandria, slightly farther east and north.
The region’s most lauded wines, Barolo and Barbaresco, come from the Nebbiolo grape, whose ancestral home is Piedmont. The best Barolo and Barbaresco wines are produced in small quantities on a number of mostly south-facing ridges sitting above the October fog (nebbia) in the Langhe hills around Alba (also the country’s white truffle capital). The considerably less expensive reds Dolcetto and Barbera have garnered wide acclaim in export markets in the last ten years--due in part to the elevated price tags of Barolo and Barbaresco.
The growing popularity of Piedmont gastronomy has also contributed to the interest in local wines. The innate acidity and taut structure of Piedmont wines make for an invigorating backdrop to the region’s hearty meat dishes. The wines’ complex earthy/ floral personality also works amicably with the other local star, the truffle. As the worlds of good wine and good food continue to merge, an area known for both is bound to prosper.
In terms of whites, Gavi is the most popular from Piedmont and it’s also the most widely available in the U.S. Gavi is produced almost entirely from the Cortese grape planted in the province of Alessandria, in the region’s extreme south. Gavi di Gavi wines are produced in vineyards bordering the town of Gavi. Most all of these whites are very dry, and feature a mid-level complexity and concentration. The best of them are crisp but they commonly come up short on verve and grip, and are best enjoyed early.
Vinous, 94 points: A huge, thrilling wine, the 2011 Barbera del Monferrato Superiore Bricco Battista is endowed with magnificent depth and tons of personality. Layers of intense Barbera fruit burst from the glass in a racy, opulent wine...
jamessuckling.com, 92 points: A fruity and clean red with plenty of orange peel and chocolate undertones. Full body, dusty texture and a flavorful finish. Drink now.
Vinous, 92 points: The 2016 Barbera d'Alba is all class. Sumptuous and beautifully layered, the 2016 is a real joy to taste, even at this early stage. Super-ripe dark cherry, plum, licorice, tobacco and sweet spice infuse a sumptuous, lush...
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate, 92 points: Since the 2014 vintage, this wine is no longer labeled as Superiore. The 2015 Barbera d'Alba Scudetto had just been bottled when I tasted my sample, but the sheer richness and exuberance of the fruit was nevertheless on...
Decanter, 92 points: Sweet, ripe, dashing nose of red fruits and discreet oak. Rich but lively, its ripeness is cut by the fine acidity that also gives persistence. The oak is scarcely detectable; the finish vibrant and long.
jamessuckling.com, 92 points: Lots of lively fruit such as blueberries and pomegranate. Medium to full body, lovely fruit and a clean finish. Drink now.
jamessuckling.com, 92 points: A Barbera with blueberry and raspberry character, as well as lemon undertones. Medium body. Vivid and tangy. Fresh and satisfying. Drink now.
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