Situated in the north-west corner of Italy, with the backdrop of the Alps looming large in the background, Piedmont not surprisingly means ‘at the foot of the mountain’. Known as the “Burgundy of Italy,” it’s famous for its boutique wines and outstanding gastronomy, and is home to the famous white truffle. The region attracts gourmet travellers and wine enthusiasts from all over the world – the so-called “Gastronauts”! Piedmont is also the birthplace of the Slow Food movement, which started in the town of Bra.
Piedmont has no less than 59 DOCs and DOCGs, and the best known by far are Barolo, Barbaresco. Based around the towns of Alba and Bra, these world-famous wines come from the Langhe. Other notable sub-regions are Roero, Monferrato, Asti and Colli Torinese close to the city of Turin. Due to the extensive mountainous terrain, only 30% of the area is suitable for planting vineyards.
Barbera is the most widely black grape, however the most famous, and often described as the King of Italian grapes, is Nebbiolo. Others are Dolcetto, Freisa, Gringolino and Bonarda (which has also found a home in Argentina). Notable local whites are Arneis which is used for Gavi, Cortese, Moscato, Favorita and Timorasso.
Although Piedmont is at the same latitude as Bordeaux, it has a continental climate, with cold winters, because it’s far from the moderating influence of the sea. However, the mountains and the river create a lot of fog (‘nebbia’ in Italian), which allows the grapes to ripen slowly. Piedmont has a wide variety of soils, though the main types are calcareous marl, sandstone and clay.
PAST TOURS To Piedmont
It doesn’t get more elegant than this. Our gastronomic food & wine tour featured world-famous wines, truffle hunting, a cookery class, hilltop villages, spectacular scenery and more. We stayed at the innovative Ascheri winery in Bra; we delighted in tasting some of the most famous Italian wines including Barbaresco, Barbera, Gavi, Arneis, and ‘The King of Wines’ Barolo. We found such joy in a Truffle Hunt with Gino and his trusty dog Bilbo (adorable pet alert!) followed by lunch with delicate, freshly-shaved white truffles. We even learnt how to make fresh pasta. An absolutely glorious tour that will no doubt be repeated.