The beautiful hilly sub-region of Barolo in Italy's legendary wine region of Piedmont is an extremely special place, and is said by many to be the home of Italy's greatest red wines. The lush, green hills are regularly covered with mists, which help to temper the otherwise hot and sunny weather, and thus slow the ripening process of the fine Nebbiolo grapes which thrive there. For thousands of years, this part of Italy has been responsible for producing wines of exquisite character and flavour, and little has changed in the twenty-first century. Traditional methods sit comfortably alongside modern techniques, and the results are rarely anything short of splendid, thanks to the dedication the local wine-makers have to supreme quality always coming before quantity. The Nebbiolo grape varietal is widely understood to be the fruit responsible for Italy's finest aged wines. However, its popularity and reliability as a grape which gives out outstanding flavors and aromas has led it to be planted in many countries around the world, with much success. These purple grapes are distinguishable by the fact that they take on a milky dust as they begin to reach maturity, leading many to claim that this is the reason for their unusual name, which means 'fog' in Italian. Nebbiolo grapes produce wines which have a wide range of beautiful and fascinating flavors, the most common of which are rich, dark and complex, such as violet, truffle, tobacco and prunes. They are generally aged for many years to balance out their characteristics, as their natural tannin levels tend to be very high. 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.