In Part 1 we introduced the first 5 wineries in our top 10 list and covered Barola, Barbaresco and Canelli. In Part 2 we will look instead at the areas of Roero, Castigliole d’Asti, Dogliani and San Giorgio.
The Roero is positioned to the left of the Tanaro River, neighbouring the Langhe and Monferrato. The region is best known for its Nebbiolo-based Roero Rosso and Roero Riserva as well as its white Roero Arneis.
Roero Regulations: Roero Rosso DOGC is made of 95% Nebbiolo with 20 months minimum aging, including 6 months in wood. Roero Riserva requires 32 months minimum aging, also with 6 months in wood.
In 2013 Demarie opened a new cantina featuring a mix of old and new design and structure to celebrate the modern and traditional styles that permeate the Piedmont wine region. The new facility opened in 2013 with the highest energy-efficiency ratings in Italy including a natural filtration system, solar paneling, and more.
Tasting Notes: Demarie’s portfolio is complete with Dolcetto, Barbera, Nebbiolo as well as a Barolo and Moscato d’Asti. Flagship wines include Roero Riserva, Arneis, and the For You Roero Arneis Spumante Extra Brut. The metodo classico (champagne method) For You is only made in years that the maturity level allows.
Not far away in the town of Canale is Deltetto. Come for the reds, stay for the whites, and indulge in the sparkling. A tour of the winery showcases their fully automated spumante system, from riddling to disgorgement. The sparkling wines are produced from Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Nebbiolo grapes, all grown in the Roero. Don’t be surprised if you see Deltetto wines when visiting Ca’ del Baio and vice versa. The younger Deltetto winemaker, Carlo, is married to the oldest Ca’ del Baio daughter, Paola.
Tasting Notes: Deltetto has 19 wines including traditional reds: Dolcetto, Barbera, Nebbiolo, Roero Riserva, and Barolo. The whites include the often-overlooked indigenous Favorita, two Roero Arneis, and a Gavi. The sparkling wines are Rosé, Brut, and Extra Brut.
Barbera is the most widely planted and vigorous Piedmont grape. Asti gets much attention for its Barbera d’Asti, so a stop there is a must. The nearly century-old, family-run Stella Giuseppe farmhouse offers two expressions of Barbera as well as two wines from little known indigenous varietals.
Tasting Notes: The producer does a Chardonnay as well as two Barberas (one in steel and one oak-aged). The bonus with this producer is the Grignolino and Fresia, two lighter indigenous reds. Both are nice summer red options. Serve them slightly chilled to enhance the flavor.
Dogliani gets its fame from Piedmont’s Dolcetto grape, ‘little sweet one,’ though this name is misleading, as the wine it makes is definitely dry. The best expressions come out of Dogliani and Diano d’Alba. Abbona can easily be considered a top Dolcetto producer. A visit to their winery offers stunning aesthetics, from sweeping vineyards to the dramatic and vast barrel room. Black and white tiled floors anchor the expansive room filled with shiny, polished traditional Slovenian oak botti.
Tasting Notes: Abbona’s wine list includes everything from metodo classico sparkling, whites, and traditional reds, including Barolo. Don’t miss their flagship Dolcetto, Papa Celso and for contrast try their starter Dolcetto, San Luigi. The also offer one of the few Viogniers in the area, Cinerino.
Piedmont is not only Nebbiolo and Barbera. They just get most of the spotlight. Just outside of Turin is the land of Erbaluce, a beautiful white grape that is made as both a still and sparkling wine with high acidity and distinct apples notes on the palate. Cieck is located in San Giorgio alongside about 25 other producers. Different to the Langhe and Roero, these producers are not fulltime wine makers. They also farm honey, hazelnuts, and more to make their living. Cieck is one of the few fulltime wine producers. They opened a new facility in 2014 with more space and striking views of the Alps; Monviso and Monterosa seem close enough to touch.
Tasting Notes: In terms of red wine, Cieck makes Barbera, Nebbiolo, Fresia, and the little known Neretto. Eighty percent of their wines are Erbaluce with three still and three sparkling or bollicini done in Metodo Classico. They also do a passito of Erbaluce – considered the most ancient and traditional products of the area. The wine is made of dried grapes and then aged for a minimum of three years in wood, then six months in bottle (five years in wood and eight to 12 months in bottle for Riserva).
With that, we’ll send you on your way. This guide merely touches the surface of Piedmont wine. There is much more to explore by way of styles, geography, and varietals. Regardless of how much or little you know and the wines of the region, never forget to enjoy it.
If our guide has inspired you to visit Piedmont, try one of our great Piedmont trips.
This article was written by Valerie Quintanilla, an American wine, travel, and marketing consultant living in The Langhe, and the brain behind Girls Gotta Drink.