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.
Antonio Galloni's Vinous, 95 points: The 2010 Costa Russi is unusually firm in this vintage, with far less early appeal than is typically the case. Floral, perfumed and sensual, the 2010 is going to require time in the cellar for the tannins to soften. The...
Wine Spectator, 97 points: Fragrant, with incense and sandalwood notes framing the core of
cherry, accented by hints of leather, tobacco and tea. Exhibits purity and density despite the formidable tannins. The finish is long
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate, 97 points: Previously labeled simple as “Rocche,” the 2010 Barolo Rocche di Castiglione now boasts the expanded name of its single vineyard designation. This is a tremendous wine that reaches to the highest aspirations, both in...
Vinous, 96 points: The 2010 Barolo Lazzarito is impeccably polished, silky and refined, especially for a Serralunga Barolo. Mint, violets, black fruit, smoke and deep layers of spices are some of the many notes that flesh out on the...
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