Many people consider the Piedmontese cuisine to be the best in Italy. It may be so- at least in Piedmont it is possible to get delicious antipasti, to taste rich primi, beautiful secondi, unique formaggi and creative dolci. You can find the same richness and variety in the wines, and although there should be no doubt that Nebbiolo is the finest grape in Piedmont, there must also be no doubt that its wine list contains more than Barolo and Barbaresco.
However, these two DOCGs are the ones that appeal most to wine lovers worldwide. Actually it is strange because these wines often have tight tannins and closed noses, and therefore they are not immediately charming, but once you’ve tasted about a dozen and you’ve discovered that behind the buttoned-up exterior hides a great diversity from field to field, from one producer to another, then one must surrender. Credible wine tasters often compare Barolo and Barbaresco with wines from Burgundy, because both Nebbiolo and Pinot Noir are good at expressing the specific growth conditions of the vine and the producer’s intentions.
In the past 20-30 years, the Barbera grape changed its role from being the basis for everyday wines to being a star grape, and Dolcetto strives to do the same, while a number of other red varieties are struggling to avoid being forgotten.
The white grapes Cortese and Arneis were struck by the same destiny, but today Gavi DOCG is one of the most trendy white wines from Piedmont, while the Arneis wines try to hang in there.
Besides Nebbiolo however, there is Moscato, as a clearly dominant white grape, which can be vinified in many different ways. The most popular one is the sweet, bubbly, low alcoholic and unpretentious Asti, which can be drunk at any occasion (not only at party time, it will become so anyway) when people are together.
On the other hand, Moscato requires more concentration when it is served as the late harvest version called Vendemmia Tardiva. In this case it is often said that the wine is a ‘meditation wine’, which requires personal reflection and not superficial conversation. Therefore, let’s just say that this unique, sweet wine completes the Piedmont wine palette.