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, 95 points: 95+ A gorgeous, totally striking wine, the 2012 Barolo Via Nuova opens with compelling, captivating aromatics. Deep, fleshy and powerful, the 2012 has blossomed beautifully over the last year, suggesting it still has room...
Wine Enthusiast, 95 points: Classic Nebbiolo aromas of wild red berry, forest floor, rose and new leather fill the glass. The taut full-bodied palate delivers crushed Morello cherry, raspberry compote, licorice and a hint of tobacco framed in firm...
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate, 95 points: The 2012 Barolo Riserva Ravera Vigna Elena is a dark and savory wine that has already passed into the magical realm of its tertiary evolution. The bouquet is extremely fine and equally complex with dried berry, toasted...
jamessuckling.com, 97 points: Pure roses on the nose. Hints of raspberries and lemon rind. So pure. Full body and ultra-fine tannins. Powerful yet so ethereal and soul-touching. A fabulously crafted Cannubi. Better in 2020.
jamessuckling.com, 99 points: Terrific aromas of pure strawberries and orange peel. Spanish-cedar undertones. Full body and a perfect balance of ripe fruit, hints of lemon and orange peel. Undertones of milk chocolate. Vibrant finish. This will be...
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