Piedmont wine region should be at the top of your travel list in Italy. Especially if you are food and wine lover. Take advantages of the locality, vibrant cities, breathtaking rural areas and sophisticated cuisine – everything from rice to white truffles and wonderful renowned wines.
Piedmont wine region is located in the northwest corner of Italy. The region is one of the most important wine producer regions of the country and it is well-known for Barolo and Barbaresco wine production. Besides the high reputation in wine production, there is much more to discover in the Piedmont wine region. Turin’s flourishing scene of modern art and electronic music finished with sublime alpine hiking trails, rural towns and valleys that may offer Italy’s best reds and white truffles.
Piedmont – “At the foot of the mountains”
Name of the region has medieval latin origins. “ad pedem montium” meaning “at the foot of the mountains”.
Piedmont wine region, dominated by medieval castles, is a classic red wine country with around 90% red vines.
The area between the foothills of the Alps and the Apennines is undoubtedly one of the important winegrowing regions not only Italy but also in the world. The Piedmont wine region has borders withLiguriaandLombardy in Italy, while from the north-west, Alps creates natural border with the Provence region in France. The popularity of the region is ensured by the varietyNebbiolo, from which the wines Barolo, Barbaresco and Roero are produced. But Barbera, the white Cortese di Gavi, Arneis and, to a lesser extent, the dessert wine Moscato d’Asti also contribute to fame.
Barolo – The kind of wines
The famousBarolo wine is named after the village about 15 kilometres southwest of Alba. The traditional style has taken a back seat for several years as its wines take an average of more than 10 years to release aromas of dark berries and spicy notes, and the mighty tannin structure gradually begins to broaden. The modern Barolos, which are mostly matured in oak barrels and show fewer tannins due to a significantly lower maceration time, can be enjoyed after the release of the vintage, even though they can still be in the cellar for more than 15 years.
Other Piedmont wines
The Barbaresco is made from the same variety, but due to warmer temperatures and slightly different soils, it does not come quite as dense as its big brother but instead shows more elegance in the glass.
However, the most cultivated variety is Barbera, from which lighter, fruity wine is produced. But also, the fine fruity, relatively low-acid Dolcetto(“Little Sweet One”) delivers very good qualities.
In the case of white wines, the Gavi is number one. Here, the Cortese di Gavi variety produces delicate, flowery plants, while the Arneis is more likely to have a fruity-spicy, honey-like bouquet.
Grape varieties that guaranties the distnctiveness of Piedmont wines
Piedmontese wines are of their own character, as many of the local grapes are either not grown in other parts of Italy or play a comparable qualitative role there. This applies to the Nebbiolo, the Grignolino, Dolcetto, Cortese and even the Barbera does not quite play the role in the rest of Italy as in Piedmont.
Piedmont, rich in wines, also has Italy’s best-known sweet wine. It is the Asti Spumante, which is produced in large quantities from the Moscato grape in the area south of Asti.
Where are the best vineyards of Piedmont?
Piedmont wine region stretches between the Alps from the north and Apennines from the south. These two mountain ranges have a significant role in the viticulture of the region. They are responsible for the favourable climate and terroir, which produces significantly high-quality wines. The Apennines form a hilly landscape in the south and this is exactly where the best vineyards of Piedmont are located on calcareous marl or poor sandstone soils.
Where to taste wines in Piedmont?
Visiting local wineries in Piedmont wine region, where most of the estates are small and family owned is must do!
We prepared a list of wineries in Piedmont for you, where you can have great wine experiences. You will be enjoying wines, hearing local stories about wine culture and admiring vineyard landscapes.
Sounds like a nice plan? then it’s time to begin planning your wine trip!
Besides being an incredible wine producer, La Raia stands out for its fantastic architecture and it is also a permanent resident of great artworks by Remo Salvadori, Michael Beutler, Adrien Missika, and the Korean artist Koo Jeong.
Enrico Crolawine estate is located on the land of Mezzomerico, a beautiful town in Upper Piedmont. The winery is surrounded by magnificent views of Po and Ticino Valleys as well as the Alps from the north.
Visit Azienda Vitivinicola Enrico Crola and explore the magical process of turning vines into wines, with a glass of wine in hand.
Alba – Truffle Kingdome and a birthplace of Nutella
Alba is not only one of the world centres of truffles but also a birthplace of the world-known chocolate brand “Ferrero”. And not surprisingly, this is also where the idea of Nutella, love of millions, was born.
Alba is a pretty, medieval town in the Piedmont wine region and it is known for its white truffles. Visiting Alba is also worthwhile outside of the truffle fair that takes place in autumn, although this is always an absolute highlight. But even in the spring, it is wonderful to stroll through this city with its many small, often owner-managed shops and to have an Aperitivo at 18:00 clock in Vincafè. Here, in the pedestrian area, you enjoy a good glass of wine from top vineyards in the area with some Piedmontese appetizers – not to be missed!
For the dinner afterwards, another insider tip is the Locanda Cortiletto – in a small vaulted cellar. Here you get typical Piedmontese cuisine at an excellent price-performance ratio served with an excellent wine selection.
Less than 15 minutes driving from Alba, you will have the chance to taste luscious wines in the familial winery Manera Fratelli!
The capital of the Piedmont region is one of the most vibrant cities in Italy. It is famous for contemporary art and music scene. But that’s not all, Turing is a real gourmet paradise. Innovative food and wine combined with its lovely restaurants, cafes and art, what else one might dream of on holidays.
And those who like fancy boulevards are right on Via Roma. The 700-meter-long pedestrian street stretches from Piazza San Carlo to Palazzo Reale. Stroll among fashion boutiques, where you can discover high-end shops from designers. Often street musicians provide the background music for window shopping in this elegant and lively city.
The mighty fortress in front of the Turin Royal Palace now serves as a museum of ancient arts. The permanent exhibition in the museum at Palazzo Madama extends over 4 floors, where you can see classical paintings and centuries-old works of art from all over Italy.
How about a few souvenirs from an authentic Turin market? The largest market for fresh products, Porta Palazzo, located on the octagonal Piazza della Repubblica north of the Royal Palace. In the historic market hall decorated by a clock, you will find many fruit and vegetable stalls as well as clothing stalls. Behind it, there is a farmer’s market, where you can buy fresh agro-products directly from the producers.
Barolo – Wine hub with 700 inhabitants
From the medieval castle to vast vineyards, the place impresses with an Italian idyll, culinary highlights and culture. This small village, with its approximately 700 inhabitants, gave the name to the most famous wine from the Piedmont wine region.
What you shouldn’t miss!
In Castello della Volta, the castle where the first Barolo was officially created, today there is an exciting wine museum, where you can also taste wines. If you are interested in the wine culture and history of the place, you should not miss a visit to the museum.
The market square is surrounded by small streets where you can find plenty of restaurants serving regional cuisine. Here, in this relaxing atmosphere, you can enjoy the sweetness of doing nothing, or as Italian would say, “Dolce far niente”.
Bonus for nature lovers!
As the name implies, it is a land at the foot of the mountains: on three sides it is bounded by the Alpine chain, which has here the highest peaks and glaciers of Italy. The Monviso, the Piedmontese part of Monte Rosa and the other great peaks form a uniquely beautiful backdrop; Explore the natural beauty of Piedmont!
Colle del Nivolet – Highlight of the Alps
On the northern edge of Piedmont is a mountain pass giant in twilight sleep: the Colle del Nivolet with 2,612 meters is only one-way passable and therefore largely unknown. This pass is especially popular with cyclists and motorcycle enthusiasts but is also ideal for hiking. It offers the visitor beautiful mountain lakes entwined by a gigantic mountain range.
Oasi Zegna – Alpine oasis in northern Italy
The Oasi Zegna is a nature reserve in the province of Biella, Piedmont. History of the park goes back to 1930s and it is associated with the name of the famous entrepreneur Ermenegildo Zegna, who wanted to help his birthplace to revive. This natural park is ideal for those who want to take part in outdoor sports and leisure activities throughout the year. Oasi Zegna is also part of the Ecomuseo del Biellese open-air museum, where the cultural heritage of the area is on display.
Gran Paradiso National Park
The Gran Paradiso National Park was established in 1922 as Italy’s first national park. It lies in the regions of Valle d’Aosta and Piedmont and covers an area of 70,318 hectares, which is mostly mountainous.
In the villages of Cogne, Valsavarenche, and Rhêmes-Notre-Dame, the park has three visitor centers where you can explore the different environmental aspects of the reserve at any time of the year.
It is hardly possible to hike through the park without seeing the animals living here – sometimes even up close. So the ibex is the symbol of the park. He is reasonably friendly and if you are lucky you will see him grazing.
In addition, a visit to the botanical Alpine garden “Giardino Alpino Paradisia” is especially recommended in July, when many of the more than 1 000 plant species are in full bloom!
Sophisticated gastronomy of Piedmont
Truffles – the white gold
The truffle is a tuber that grows near tree roots and lives as a parasite of the tree. The colour and aroma of the truffle tuber depend on the tree species near which it grows. Alba truffles from Piedmonte region has been one of the leading with quality on International Truffle Market.
Tajarin al Tartuffe is one of the most renowned dishes from the region involving local delicacy. Tajarin is the finer version of tagliatelle from Piedmonte region. Probably the “Tajarin” was already known in the 15th century, especially in the area of Langhe and Monferrato.
For the dish, butter is melted in a large pan and diluted with a little broth. Cooked and drained Tajarins are added to the pan to mix with butter and later, rubbed over with white truffles.
Agnolotti del Plin – The little navel
The Agnolotti or “Tortellini del Plin”, named after the shape of a navel, are the most well-known and popular stuffed pasta in Piedmont.
The filling of this variety is usually made from different meats. Veal, rabbit and fine pork are processed with herbs, spinach, and rice into a very delicate filling. This filling is of such a fine taste that in some restaurants this pasta variety served on white napkins without any type of sauce, so as not to distract from the taste.
Torta di Nocciola – A sweet temptation
It is not for nothing that Ferrero has its headquarters in Alba because here grow the wonderful hazelnuts: Tonda Gentile delle Langhe, as the name implies, in the Langhe area. The hazelnuts, inter alia, have an increased fat content and therefore form a special taste. The “capital” of the hazelnuts is probably Cortemilia, a village of about 10,000 inhabitants. Here you can roast the wonderful hazelnuts, buy as a cream, in chocolate or as a cake.
The hazelnut cake is made out of these delicious hazelnuts is probably the best-known “Dolci” in Piedmont and must be tasted during a Piedmont visit. The great thing about it is not only the stunning aroma and the fantastic consistency but also a fact that it is baked without a gram of flour. The recipe can also be refined by adding a pinch of freshly ground coffee, cocoa or lemon zest. Delicious!