Brachetto is a delicate red wine grape grown predominantly in the Piedmont region of northern Italy, where it has been cultivated and used in the production of a range of wines for centuries. The grapes usually hold delicate flavors of summer berries, most notably strawberries, and are used to make light bodied, extremely drinkable wines perfect for hot sunny days. Their thin skins mean that they are usually low in tannins, which results in a silky smooth, mild red wine. Because of their lightness and fresh, summery flavors, they are also used to make excellent sparkling wines, similar to a Lambrusco. They are a highly aromatic grape varietal, and in recent decades they have started to be planted in many New World countries with similar climatic conditions to their native Italy.
The region of Piedmont in the cool, breezy north-western part of Italy is renowned throughout the world for high quality, flavorful and delicious red wines, and for the elegant and refined sparkling wines such as Asti which typify the area. The region is located at the foothills of the Alps, close to the French and Swiss borders, and benefits from some interesting micro-climates formed by its proximity to the mountain range. The key grapes for the fine red wines of Piedmont are Nebbiolo, Dolcetto and Barbera â€“ all powerful varietals which are packed full of a range of fruit flavors and which have an affinity for oak making them ideal for aging When it comes to the sparkling Asti, wineries cultivate plenty of Moscato grapes, whose relative transparency make them ideal for expressing their terroir and providing some interesting flavors in the bottle.
It isn't difficult to understand why Italy is famed not just for the quality of its wines, but also for the vast variety and range of characteristics found in the wines there. The terrain of the country varies wildly, from the lush rolling green hills and valley of Tuscany, to the sun drenched rocky coasts of Sicily, the mountainous and alpine regions of the north, and the marshy lowlands of the east. Italy really does have a little bit of everything. Combine this huge range of landscapes with an almost perfect climate for grape cultivation, and you have a country seemingly designed for viticultural excellence. The results speak for themselves, and it is clear to see that wine has become an inseparable part of Italian culture as a result of its abundance and brilliance. Each village, city and region has a local wine perfectly matched with the cuisine of the area, and not an evening passes without the vast majority of Italian families raising a glass of locally sourced wine with pride and pleasure.