Nestled at the foot of the alps, Piedmont is home to the King and Queen of Italian wine. Barolo and Barbaresco rank amongst the most thrilling and incisive wines in the world. Produced from the Nebbiolo grape, they thrill for their heavenly perfumes and stunning precision. Further delicious Piedmontese reds and whites are produced from Dolcetto, Barbera, Arneis and Cortese.
The finest from the foothills
Piedmont is under increasing focus as its wines prove to be some of the most beautiful and desirable in Europe. Along with Burgundy and the Northern Rhone, Piedmont’s finest reds are routinely cited as highly terroir-driven, as anybody who has seen the steep patchwork hills of Barolo or Barbaresco for themselves can attest.
Spearheading the attack is the Nebbiolo grape. The variety is produced in small quantities and needs careful hand-tending. It has an aromatic subtlety and temperament similar to that of fine Burgundy, from where pioneering growers such as Elio Altare first drew their inspiration. Production of the top single crus for the most part rarely exceeds 3,000 bottles, equivalent, or less, than many of the Grand Cru labels from the Cote d’Or.
Forty years ago, in the days when Dolcetto fetched higher prices than Nebbiolo, care was only for quantity not quality. At a time when there were very few good winegrowers, Elio Altare was so driven by his passion for wine he even risked being ostracised by his family. He was joined by other pioneers such as Enrico Scavino and Roberto Voerzio who were subsequently termed “modernists.” They became better known for their technical extraction and fermentation methods as well as use of new oak and small barrels, than their vineyard practices. It is important to remember, though, that they helped promote healthy and sustainable viticulture, reduced overcropping and improved hygiene in vineyards and wineries immeasurably.
Now there is more of a centre ground, modernists use less new oak and fewer smaller barrels, while traditionalists are more attentive, crop less and are cleaner. Producers should not be pigeon-holed the way they used to be. There is a wider array than ever before of top quality producers making terroir-orientated wines. We are thrilled to represent Altare, Marco Marengo, Luigi Oddero, Roberto Voerzio, Paolo Scavino, Azelia, Piero Busso, Castello di Verduno, Brovia, Fratelli Alessandria and Roagna in the UK, amongst many other estates, making us one of the biggest importers of Barolo and Barbaresco.
Piedmont is a large region in northwest Italy. It has the highest number of DOC appellations of any Italian wine region, at 42, including: Barolo, Barbaresco, Roero, Asti, Gattinara, Gavi, Boca, Alba, Bramaterra, Colli Tortonesi and Lessona. Read on for further information on five key appellations: Langhe, Barolo, Barbaresco, Roero and Gavi.
Nebbiolo reigns as Italy's most esteemed red grape, primarily grown in Piedmont, where it's the backbone of renowned wines like Barolo and Barbaresco. Inspired by the complexity of Burgundy wines, pioneers like Elio Altare have elevated Nebbiolo to produce uniquely aromatic wines. Distinct from Pinot Noir, its profile features notes of roses, tar, and truffle. Naturally high in tannins and acidity, Nebbiolo wines are well-suited for long-term aging.