Situated in the north-western part of Italy, the region of Piedmont is known worldwide and is highly respected for the quality of the wines produced there. Many of the most successful sub-regions in Piedmont produce many of the world's finest red wines, such as those made from the excellent Nebbiolo grape varietal in areas such as Barolo and Barbaresco. However, the historic wineries which typify this region use a relatively wide variety of grapes, including Dolcetto and Barbera for their red wines, which are typically aged and have a delightful velvety character. Piedmont isn't all about beautifully complex red wines, though, as it is also famed for high quality, elegant sparkling wines, notably the Asti wines made with the white Moscato grape. The region benefits from a range of terroirs which are often well expressed in the sparkling wines, and a wonderfully consistent climate ideal for vineyard cultivation.
Germany's favorite son, and the grape responsible for making some of the greatest wines in the world, grows well in many areas of our country, including California, Washington, New York, Michigan, New Mexico, Texas and Oregon. Riesling thrives in a cool growing region, yet requires a long ripening to bring out its best characteristics. Perhaps the most versatile white wine with food, Riesling can be vibrant and forward in its fruit, with Granny Smith apples or near-ripe pears taking the fore, underlined by a hint of soft lime-like citrus, with floral qualities in the nose and honey and spice scents.
Piedmont produces what most describe as Italy's best red wines. Within Piedmont, there are 38 DOC/G zones and 43 distinct types of wine. Several of the well-known DOCG wines come from Piedmont. Barolo DOCG is a rich and powerful wine made from the nebbiolo grape, and coming from the region of the same name. Barolo having four years of wood aging is specified as Riserva (five years in wood earns a Riserva Speciale designation). Barbaresco DOCG is also made from nebbiolo and named for the town and the area of the same name. Slightly smoother than Barolo, and less brash in its youth, it is another benchmark of big, rich Italian red wines. Gattinara DOCG is the third top-rated Piedmont wine. It is also made from Nebbiolo, and named for the small region in which it is made, but it is a lighter-style than the previous two. Barbera is the most widely planted grape in Piedmont, and wines are bottled by the name of the grape, and not an area. Barbera is fruity, tannic and high in acid. Another wine named for the varietal, not the region, is Dolcetto, another lighter-style red that the Piedmontese often enjoy with a first course. The best examples of this gamay-like wine are from Alba (near Barolo) and Asti.
On the bubbly side, Asti Spumante and Moscato d'Asti DOCG offer sparkling and Petillant/Frizzante wines made generally from muscat grapes and by charmat method. Grignolino, a light, fruity dry ros' wine is sometimes found in styles that are a bit "petillant" as well.
The noteworthy white wines produced in the area include Arneis and Gavi (Cortese).