Italian Wine – The Wines of Piemonte
The Piemonte in Northwest Italy lies at the foot of the Alps and the name itself translates as foo (“pie”) of the mountain (“monte”). The region is home to world-class wines (mostly red) with 75% of it’s production coming from the 60 DOCs and DOCGs in the region, the most in Italy. The reigning red grape, Nebbiolo has been called the king of wines and the wine of kings – it’s most celebrated DOCGs of Barolo and Barbaresco are highly prized and other regions like Gatttinara also produce quality wines from Nebbiolo. Noteworthy reds are also made from Barbera and Dolcetto and even the whites of Gavi made from the Cortese grape are recognized for quality.
Wine Regions of Italy
History of Piemonte Wine
Climate & Soils
Barolo – The most prized and celebrated wine of the region, based on the Nebbiolo grape, the wine is powerful and generally needs bottle age to show its complete expression that, with time, develops a bewitching nose of roses, violets, strawberry, mushrooms, leaves, tar, and leather. The term Barolo was first used in the 1850s soon after the wines of the region moved from cask to bottle. There are 2 main styles – a softer, fruitier wine from the calcareous marl soils on the western side and intense wines with firmer tannins from poorer soils on the eastern side. With a minimum of 18 months in oak, many producers age the wines even more. Today, there are two approaches to the making Barolo, the traditional approach of aging the wine in large oak casks with open vat fermentation and a more international approach of aging the wine in new French Barrique, closed vat fermentation to reduce oxidation, and less maceration and rotofermentation to reduce tannins.
Classifications and Regulations
Viticulture and Vinification
Organization of Trade
Bricco – or bric in the dialect of the north west Italian region of piemonte, indicates the highest part of an elevation in the landscape or, in particular, a vineyard with a steep gradient at the top of a hill. The term was first used on a wine label by Luciano de Giacomi in 1969 for his Bricco del Drago, a blend of dolcetto and nebbiolo grapes from Alba, and has been extensively used for the other wines of Piemonte ever since.
Sori – is a Piemontese dialect term used for vineyard sites of the highest quality, particularly for those with an exceptional favourable southern exposure. More subtle variations also exist: a ‘morning’ sorì (sorì di mattino) with a south-eastern exposure or an ‘evening’ sorì (sorì di sera) with a south-western exposure. The term was first used on a wine label by Angelo gaja for his Sorì San Lorenzo Barbaresco 1967 and was widely imitated in the subsequent quarter-century.
Renatto Ratti –