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.
jamessuckling.com, 95 points: A dense and beautiful red with plum, chocolate and mineral character. Hints of sandalwood too. Full body, ultra-fine tannins and a delicious finish. Already gorgeous. Drink or hold.
jamessuckling.com, 97 points: A young wine that builds on the palate with plums, spices, cedar and hints of chocolate. Turns to hazelnuts. Full to medium body, but this builds on the palate. Juicy and chewy with caressing tannins. Love the way it...
jamessuckling.com, 95 points: This is a young Barolo that builds on the palate with super silky tannins and fantastic pure and delicious fruit. Hints of hazelnut, plum and dark berry character. Full and polished tannins. Better in 2019 but so...
jamessuckling.com, 97 points: Very earthy and intense with ripe fruit and hints of bark and mushrooms. Full body, powerful and chewy. Great tannin structure. Better in 2020.
Wine Spectator, 95 points: A hint of oak lends this a spicy component, along with cherry, licorice and tar flavors. Racy and bright, with fine intensity and a long,
tightly wound finish that seems to go on forever. Shows beautiful
Wine Enthusiast, 94 points: Enticing scents of pressed rose, wild berry, scorched soil, leather and menthol take shape in the glass. The juicy, savory palate doles out red cherry, crushed raspberry, licorice, baking spice and grilled herb alongside...
Wine Spectator, 90 points: Enticing aromas and flavors of rose, raspberry, strawberry and spice enhance this elegant, balanced red. Tightens up
a little on the finish. Pure berry notes linger. Best from 2015 through 2023. — B.S.
jamessuckling.com, 95 points: Extremely perfumed and polished with cherry, mineral, shell and raspberry character. Full body ultra-fine tannins and a long, crisp finish. Burnt lemon aftertaste to the fruit. Drink in 2020.
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate, 93 points: From Castiglione Falletto, the 2012 Barolo Villero is a fine and elegant wine that reflects the delicate and floral nature of the loose and white soils that characterize the Villero cru. At 22 hectares, this vineyard is...
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