Piedmont, a great food and wine experience
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Piedmont, a great food and wine experience

In Northeast Italy is one of the country’s main wine regions, Piedmont. We could easily say it is one of the world’s most important area due to the production of great wine, such as the Barolo, which as conquered the palate of people worldwide.

Those who travel around the region, as it was recently my case, find a beautiful landscape filled with hills and many vineyards. There are so many of them, that there is no doubt the region is of utmost importance when it comes to wine production. Some castles currently nest restaurants, as for example Castello di Grinzane Cavour, where I had the chance of joining a dinner where excellent typical dishes were served, and obviously, harmonized with Piedmont wine. One of the many things you learn in the country is that there is no general Italian food, but rather Italian foods that vary according to the local region.

Piedmont counts with several origin denominations, vineyards with several soil and climate characteristics, many grape types, and consequently a vast variety of wine. It is a technically complex region, which should be well explored in order for us to comprehend everything that is related to wine production. We can highlight the Barolo, named the wine of the kings, and the king of the wine. After it comes the Barbaresco.

Barolo and Barbaresco are wine with DOCG (Denominazione di origine controllata e garantita – in English, Denomination of Controlled and Guaranteed Origin), both elaborated with the Nebiolo grape. The variety name derives from niebba (fog), very common in the regions where it comes from.

Historically, Barolo was a structured, tannic, very dry wine, which needed from 20 to 30 years to mature. Currently, new winemaking techniques allow the Barolo to be drank earlier. Even so, it takes patience in order to drink it in its best moment. Its best crops may be kept maturing for many years. When drunk too early, the experience might not be good, and in some cases, it makes the wine to be wrongly evaluated.

Barolo is of a very complex and attractive aromatic expression. It owns floral aromas such as roses and violets, fruity as plums, notes of tar, licorice and truffles, amongst others. When tasted, it is fruitier if compared to the old Barolo variety. It owns good tannic, acid, and structure intensity. According to the Barolo DOCG, the wine must have at least 38 months for maturing, of which 18 should be spent in a wood recipient. For the Riserva, a total of 62 months, and a minimum of 18 months in wood.

Barbaresco is also an excellent wine, therefore a little different from the Barolo. It may be quite pleasant when still young, with softer tannins, and elegance. Some of the wines can be matured for many years. In general, the Barbaresco variety is at its peak between 5 and 10 years. According to the Barbaresco DOCG, the wine must have at least 26 maturing months, of which 9 should be spent in wood. For the Riserva, a total of 50 months, and a minimum of 9 months in a wood recipient.

Piedmont offers a lot! Nice landscapes, great history, Medieval constructions, amazing wine, and tasty gastronomy. Without a doubt, a region worth visiting, especially for those who enjoy eating and drinking well.


Mario R. Leonardi

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