Sunday, January 15, 2006

The Wines of Piemonte

Italian wines are cumulatively the best in the world. The culture of wine is dominant in the Italian lifestyle. To protect the quality and production, the strictest laws have been enacted regarding location, production methods and what may be denominated wine. Many products produced and called wine, including France and Germany, in other countries may not be sold in Italy as wine. Some of the elements that are controlled are: wine must be made from grapes and only grapes, no sugar may be added, and no alcohol additives. Additionally the DOC verifies that the grapes actually come from a certain area and the DOCG guarantees both the area and the type of grape used.

I have often heard from different individuals that they loved or hated Venice, Rome, Florence, or others. I think the different perceptions are due to what the individual is looking for when the visit an area. An art lover, architect or history buff will overlook the fact that Venice is touristy, overpriced and the service can be rather bad. Italians usually have a good experience in most places because of the thousands of years of culture that they live and breathe every day. They can quickly spot a touristy location and should that be important to them will quickly move on to something else.

This concept is further enforced when you see the favorite vacation destinations of the various countries in the European Union. The Germans love Northern and Northeastern Italy and follow the coast all the way down to Puglia while the French will often visit Piemonte, Liguria and the western coast down to Rome. It is therefore important to understand what you are looking for when you define your vacation.

Piemonte is an excellent destination for a wine and food vacation. The wines of local production are:

Controlled Origin and Guaranteed Grapes (DOCG)
Type of Wine Location
Asti or Moscato d’Asti: Provinces of Asti, Cuneo and Alessandria
Barbaresco: Barbaresco, Treiso, Nieve and San Rocco
Barolo: Province of Cuneo
Brachetto D’Acqui or Acqui: Provinces of Asti and Alessandria
Gattinara: The town of Gattinara
Gavi or Cortese di Gavi: A portion of the town of Gavi along the river Lemme

Controlled Origin (DOC)
Albugnano: Castelnuovo Don Bosco and Pino d’Asti
Barbera d’Alba: 55 towns in the Langa Albese (Alba) and Astigiana (Asti)
Barbera d’Asti: Provinces of Asti and Alessandria
Barbera del Monferrato: Cities of Asti and Alessandria
Boca: Towns along the river Sesia in the province of Novara
Bramatera: Province of Vercelli
Canavese: Province of Turin
Carema: Town of Carema (north of Turin)
Colline Torinesi: Chieri, Moncalieri and 26 other towns in the province of Turin
Colline Saluzzesi: Province of Turin
Colline Tortonesi: The hills Tortona in the province of Alessandria
Cortese dell’Alto Monferrato: Provinces of Asti and Alessandria
Coste della Sesia: Towns along the river Sesia in the provinces of Novara and Biella
Dolcetto d’Acqui: Town of Acqui and surrounding area
Dolcetto d’Alba: Alba and surrounding area
Dolcetto d’Asti: Hills in the province of Asti
Dolcetto delle Langhe
Monregalesi: Hills around the town of Tanaro in the province of Cuneo
Dolcetto di Diano d’Alba
Or Diano d’Alba: Hills around the town of Diano d’Alba (Cuneo)
Dolcetto di Ovada: Town of Ovada and surrounding area
Erbaluce di Caluso
Or Caluso: Town of Caluso and surrounding area
Fara: Towns of Fara and Briona (Novara)
Freisa d’Asti: Hill area in the province of Asti
Freisa di Chieri: Hills around Chieri (Turin)
Gabiano: Towns of Gabiano and Moncestino (Alessandria)
Grignolino d’Asti: Hills in the province of Asti
Grignolino del Monferrato: Hills of Monferrato (Alessandria)
Langhe: Hills in the province of Cuneo
Lessona: Town of Lessona (Vercelli)
Loazzolo: Town of Loazzolo (Asti)
Malvasia di Casorzo d’Asti: Provinces of Asti and Alessandria
Malvasia di Castelnuovo
Don Bosco: Province of Asti
Monferrato: Provinces of Asti and Alessandria
Nebbiolo d’Alba: City of Alba and surrounding towns
Piemonte: Provinces of Alessandria, Asti and Cuneo
Pinerolese: Town of Pinerolo (Turin)
Rubino di Cantavenna: Province of Alessandria
Rucche di Castagnole Monferrato: Province of Asti
Roero: Hills of Cuneo and Alba
Sizzano: Town of Sizzano (Alba)
Vasusa: Province of Turin
Verduno Pelaverga or
Verduno: Town of Verduno Pelaverga (Cuneo)

This is a long list but it should tell you that if you are really interested in wine, Piemonte is a place to visit. Some of these wines are not available in the US. I am attempting to create synergies that will allow us to find these fantastic treasures here. Over the next few weeks I will be dedicating my blog to wines. I will also indicate places to stay, vineyards that you can visit to taste these nectars of the gods!


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