Description 1 of 2
The name in Italian means “foot of the mountain,” given its location at the foot of the Alps and the Appenine Mountains. These help to moderate the hot and dry summers, with cool, foggy springs and autumns, and frigid winters. There are a whopping 52 DOC/DOCGs zones, with the most famous being Asti (for both Moscato d’Asti and Asti Spumante), the two Barbera districts, Barbaresco, the six Dolcetto districts, the Freisas, the Grignolinos, Langhe, Monferato and of course, Barolo Chinato. Tradition is the region’s most valued currency, and no other region in Italy, perhaps the world, holds as much importance to tradition in respect to sense of place, methods of viticulture and loyalty to craftsmanship as the Piedmontese. In Piedmont there are no IGT’s (a non-specific regional label with loose standards for ingredients and methods).
Piedmont has undergone many landlords. It was first settled by the Celtics, then the Greeks, then the Romans, then the marauding Visigoths, even the French when the Savoy family ruled in the 11th century then returned on and off for nearly 500 years starting in the 13th century, based out of Turin. It wasn’t until after World War II that Italy finally became its own republic for good. Wine was always part of the culture, even during the Visigoth era, albeit in a much smaller role.
A vast majority of the grapes of Piedmont are indigenous, or were first planted by early cultures and exist nowhere else in the country. The local “noble” grape is Nebbiolo, which is found in Barolo, Barbaresco, Gattinara, Ghemme and by its own name when it isn’t one of those. Although this is considered the pride of the region, it’s a notoriously pesky grape to grow, inviting comparisons to Burgundy with Pinot Noir, and only accounts for a small percentage of plantings. This is compared to Barbera and Dolcetto, which make up the majority of red grapes planted. Bracchetto, Freisa and Grignolino round out the list of most well known local red varietals. Moscato is the most planted white, along with Cortese (found in Gavi, Colli Tortonese and Alto Monferrato), Arneis (found in Roero), Favorita and Erbaluce. Other “common” grapes such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir, Pinot Bianco and Chardonnay are also produced.
It should be noted that Vermouth has its roots in Piedmont, with Benedetto Carpano making the first version of it in his shop near the Turin Stock Exchange. Martini and Rossi, who produce both the ubiquitous dry and red Vermouths and of course, Asti Spumante are also based here. ~Amanda Schuster
– Description from
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Description 2 of 2
Piedmont is surrounded on three sides by the Alps, including the Monviso (Mont Vis), where the Po rises, and the Monte Rosa. It borders with France, Switzerland and the Italian regions of Lombardy, Liguria, Emilia-Romagna and Aosta Valley. The Geography of Piedmont is that of a territory predominantly mountainous, 43.3%, but with extensive areas of hills which represent 30.3% of the territory, and of plains (26.4%). Piedmont is the second largest of the 20 administrative regions of Italy, after Sicily.
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