Piedmont makes some of the most sought-after wines in all of Italy, and arguably the world. The star of the show is the noble red Nebbiolo grape.
Barolo and Barbaresco, two legendary wines made from Nebbiolo, are renowned for their ability to age for decades. Still, plenty of Nebbiolo is delightful in its youth. (If you’re looking to drink a great Nebbiolo tonight, try Nebbiolo d’Alba, Le Formiche.)
Nebbiolo takes center stage today, but Piedmont is full of other great wines. Scroll down for a brief introduction, check out some of our top deals, or head straight to full the sale!
Top Deals From Today’s Sale:
Dolcetto d’Alba, G. D. Vajra – 2010
The 2009 Dolcetto d’Alba is everything Dolcetto should be; fresh, varietally correct and clean. Here all of those qualities are given an extra measure of elegance and sheer class. Fresh mint, blueberries and licorice linger on the subtle finish. If serving pork, lamb or hearty braised vegetables, this is the wine.
Barbera d’Alba “Tre Vigne”, Vietti – 2009
The red wines of Piedmont are famously coveted, and this Barbera d’Alba from the Vietti family will show you why. This is no ordinary Barbera: it is richer in style, meant to complement dishes of rich antipasti, hearty stews, or even breaded veal. You’ll find aromas of tobacco, dried spices, cherries, and currants. Made from their three top Barbera vineyards (“Tre Vigne”) in Alba.
Erbaluce di Caluso “La Torrazza”, Ferrando – 2009
Luigi Ferrando makes the benchmark example of Erbaluce, the indigenous white grape from the foothills of the Alps, in northern Piedmont. Golden orchard fruit and uniquely Piedmontese flavors of bitter almond and resin are energized by charcoal minerals, vibrant acidity, and a rich texture.
Nebbiolo d’Alba, Le Formiche – 2009
This rich, ripe, dark-fruited Langhe Rosso is made from 100% Nebbiolo. On the nose you’ll get earthy, tarry notes as well as blackberry and plum. The fruit flavors are quite ripe and sweet but with a spicy, tannic edge and a hint of espresso bean on the finish. Drink with hearty fare.
Verduno Pelaverga, Cantina Ascheri – 2010 (Staff Pick)
I get very excited when I stumble upon new wines from obscure wine regions on our shelves. I then find great pleasure in discovering that those whines are absolutely delicious! This Piedmont red is not the like archetypical wine of the region, your Barolo’s and Barbaresco’s, instead it is a light bodied red with explosive flavor. Bright red cherries and strawberries with bold cracked white pepper notes are the focal point of the wine. Piedmont’s classic earthy floral tones and a touch of smoky aromas add depth to the finish. Food pairings options are plentiful: vegetarian fare, salt n’ pepper crusted pork lion, or grilled Artic char would all be quite tasty. A stellar wine for a drinker looking to explore the lighter side of Piedmont wines.
Beyond Nebbiolo: Piedmont’s Other Grapes
Pelaverga, grown mostly around Verduno, produces reds that are light in color, with distinctive notes of strawberry, cherry, and pink peppercorn. If you’ve never had Pelaverga, try this charming old-vine example first.
Freisa produces delicious red wines in a variety of styles – both still and sparkling, dry and sweet. Whatever the style, Freisa remains a fruit-driven, juicy variety, so the wines make excellent matches for light appetizers.
Ruchè, originally thought to be an export from France, is now believed to have originated in the Monferrato hills surrounding the city of Asti. Wines made from this grape tend to be medium- to full-bodied, with intense aromas of black plum, pomegranate, and rose petals.
Grignolino derives its name from grignole, meaning “pips.” This small-berried red variety makes truly intriguing wines, because the grapes produce very little juice in proportion to the amount of pips and skins. Grignolino tends to be pale in color, earthy, and unexpectedly tannic. This one is versatile and delightful.
Arneis, after nearly going extinct in the 1970s, was revived by a number of dedicated growers in Piedmont. Our #6 wine this week is made from this fascinating white grape. It’s a lees-aged, pear-scented Arneis with lovely tropical notes.
And the list goes on! There’s lots to explore in this region; getting to know Piedmont is one of the great pleasures of learning about wine. Today is the day to pick up that Barolo you’ve had your eye on, plus a nice Grignolino for the weekend, along with an Arneis for your spring pastas.
Pick up a few more bottles from our Top 11 list, too. (You’ll want to make your education as well-rounded as possible.)