The name “Piedmont” comes from the Italian word “Piemonte” meaning, foothill. Ultimately from Latin “pedemontium,” meaning “at the foot of the mountains.”
Piedmont is one of the top wine regions in Italy, as the land of Barolo and Barbaresco, even though these mega-popular wines only account for 3% of the region’s wine production.
The red wines are produced mainly from three grape varieties: Nebbiolo, especially for the highly-rated Barolo DOCG and Barbaresco DOCG. The Barbera grape, the most planted grape in Piemonte, is less finicky than Nebbiolo, making wine with bright red fruit for all occasions. The Dolcetto grape, which does not produce sweet wine as the name might suggest, makes soft fruity dry wines, perhaps similar to a gentle Merlot. The many other successful red grape varieties from Piemonte are Brachetto, Freisa, Bonarda, Quagliano, Grignolino, Pelaverga, Vespolina, Malvasia di Schierano, and Ruche. There are mainly three white grape varieties of note in Piemonte: Moscato Bianco making the sparkling Asti Spumante and Moscato d’Asti. The Cortese grape for the Chablis-like Gavi, the finest dry white wine of the region. The Arneis grape making wine of the same name, creamy with delicate acidity, flavors, and aromas of citrus with almond hints.
Vespolina creates light-red colored wines, with sour cherry and berry aromas lifted by balsamic notes combined with roses, violets, and spice-like pepper on the nose. Typically planted in Northern Piemonte around Gattinara and Ghemme, Vespolina is usually blended with other grapes such as Bonarda Piemontese and Nebbiolo.
Timorasso is a Piemontese white grape that yields crisp, high acid, and very mineral-forward wines, with white floral aromas, ripe stone fruit, and bright citrus flavors. The high acidity makes it a white wine suitable for ag
From this grape, two of the most world-renowned wines are made, Barolo and Barbaresco, plus being instrumental in many more DOC and DOCG wines throughout Northern Italy. The name Nebbiolo comes from the word “nebbia,” which means “fog” a very common occurrence in Piemonte. Nebbiolo produces very different wines affected by the particular vineyard site. Nebbiolo expresses bold, tannic but elegant red wines. Characteristically the color of these wines is light and bright, turning more brick in hues with age. Nebbiolo’s typical aromas are of delicate red fruits and roses, with cherry, leather, coffee, tar, anise, and earthy notes on the palate combined with grippy tannins.
This grape is used to produce Piedmont’s Asti Spumante and Moscato d’Asti. Moscato is recognizable for its unmistakable bouquet that almost always includes musk, peach, and sage, with secondary aromas of lime, wisteria, honey and white flowers. In sparkling wines, you can also find creamy notes due to the yeast. Typically low in alcohol with elegant structure, but always compact, with medium freshness and low minerality.
Grignolino is a red grape from Piedmont, which exudes a lovely aroma of fresh flowers, small berries, and spices such as white pepper. Grignolino’s high acidity and crisp tannins make it a great pairing with fatty foods.
In Piemonte, the name Dolcetto means “little sweet one.” There are eleven DOC wines made from this grape throughout Piemonte with different characteristics. Generally, Dolcetto presents soft tannins and low acidity. A typical Dolcetto wine is round and fruity, offering dark, gently spicy aromas with earthy undertones and nutty notes in more tannic examples.
Cortese is a white grape variety that is most famous for its role in the crisp, lime-scented wines of Gavi. The variety is known for its high acidity and freshness. Apple, peach, and honeydew flavors are commonly associated with Cortese wine, with lime, almond, and light herbal or grassy aromas.
Arneis, in the local dialect, means “little rascal,” because of its difficult cultivation, and used to be called Nebbiolo Bianco due to the prized nature of the grape (they share no relation). It used to be planted near precious Nebbiolo vines to attract birds to its sweet scent, and away from the Nebbiolo. Arneis wines are delicately straw green with aromas of white flowers, chamomile tea, white peach, and apricot, with flavors of citrus, ripe pear, and sweet almond. Typically light, fresh, and crisp.
One of the most widely planted native grapes in Italy, classic characteristics of Barbera include low tannins, high acidity and very concentrated color, which makes it good for blending. Generally Barberas have grape-forward aromas with red fruit, underbush and delicate spice on the palate, with a very dry finish.
Brachetto is an aromatic red grape that can generate both still and sparkling wines. Aromatic and light-bodied with lovely tart aromas and flavors of sour red cherry, red berry, and cherry pie.. Perfect with desserts.
The complex vineyard soils of the Piemonte region are the creation of multiple and ancient geological periods enabling unparalleled high-quality wine production known throughout the world. In Piemonte, about 65% of production is for red wine and the rest for white wine, with a high number of DOC and DOCG designations. The traditional Piedmont cuisine is known for being elegant, flavorful, and rich, so Piedmont's wines are a great pair with umami food, rich fatty food, in particular, seasoned cheeses, and more and more.