Piedmont literally means 'at the foot of the mountains', because the wine region is surrounded by mountains which represent a natural border with France, Switzerland and Liguria.
Viticulture, with its more than 46,000 hectares of vineyards, plays a protagonist role in Piedmont, one of the three classic Italian wine regions. Moreover, the region has a rich heritage of native grape varieties, which often do not find out of the borders other suitable areas and are therefore quite unique. The Nebbiolo grape – Piedmont's greatest red variety – has reigned supreme in the glacial soil of the hills that flank the Sesia river for centuries now. Nebbiolo has proven difficult to grow elsewhere in the world, yet in Piedmont there is the right balance of altitude, exposure and soil to achieve the perfection of Barolo and Barbaresco.
To discover the many different facets of Nebbiolo's character, find out more in our Top 7 Piedmont Wineries to Visit!
1. The project of the Rossi Caiaro family at La Raia evolves continuously and, year after year, it is enriched with new pieces: from the biodynamic practices to the creation of the Foundation La Raia, which involves permanent artistic works among the vineyards, with the aim of bonding inextricably art, culture and territory. The vineyards, immersed in an ecosystem of great beauty and charm, have been increased by about 10 hectares thanks to the acquisition of the neighboring winery Tenuta Cucco. La Raia offers a truffle hunting and wine tasting package and accomodation in luxury apartments (tours from 17€ pp).
2. Tenuta Cucco is located at the roots of the renowned Serralunga d’Alba castle that dominates the whole Langhe area. Vigna Cucco, the oldest vineyard, from which comes the Barolo Riserva, is the most authentic expression of the cru Cerrati. The terroir of this area is one of the most famous in the world and allows to obtain wines of high complexity, persistence and longevity. While here visitors can enjoy a tour of the cellars where winemaking and ageing is carried out and taste the products (tours from 17€ pp).
3. Marina Marcarino chose from the beginning, thirty years ago, to cultivate vineyards organically and today her story is an example of how sustainable practices minimize environmental impact to further guarantee quality for the consumers. Punset's vineyards (located in the Langhe-Roero) are specialysed in the production of Barbaresco of beautiful structure and incisiveness. In the agritourism connected to the winery visitors can take part in cooking classes and experience Punset's biodynamic philosophy (tours from 13€ pp).
4. The family-owned estate Isolabella Della Croce is run with great dedication and commitment by the young Andrea Elegir, which can already boast considerable experience. The old farmhouse, about 500 meters above sea level, is surrounded by vineyards and woods, in a Piedmont glimpse of rare beauty. Visiting guests can enjoy picnics at the winery and taste typical cheeses and cold cuts from Piemonte region (tours from 15€ pp).
5. Azienda Agricola Josetta Saffirio is an estate nestled in the heart of the Langhe that UNESCO has declared a world heritage site. Josetta and Roberto made the first quality Nebbiolo it in the late '70s. Ten years later came the Barolo with the current label characterized by its now famous bearded and smiling gnome, the result of the fantastic stories of the owner Ernesto. Besides wine tastings, the cellar can also offer trekking tours, picnics and truffle hunting (tours from 15 € pp)!
6. La Luna del Rospo is an organic winery run by a German, Renate Schütz, who found this corner of Asti about twenty years ago, fell in love and remained to build a happy wine oasis where every tree, plant and insect plays a precise role in a complex and harmonious ecosystem. The philosophy of the winery is to let the vineyards speak, even in the cellar and in the winemaking by omitting the use of selected yeasts and enzymes so as to allow the fruit to express the terroir (tours from 15€ pp).
7. Ca' ed Balos is a small family-owned estate that pays particular attention on quality and respect of the environment. The name literally means house of scoundrel and for that bottle labels are depicting scenes with people dancing and celebrating. The winery's main production is Moscato d’Asti, a dessert wine that visitors can enjoy during wine tasting paired with local products (tours from 10 € pp).
All photo credit: Partners for Winerist