The seventh largest wine producing region in Italy, Piedmont is located at the foothills of the Appalachian mountains and just about reaches the Mediterranean coast. Its climate is alpine in nature, with warm summers and cold nights. With just under 44,000 hectares, Piedmont vineyards are divided up with 31% of the land dedicated to Barbera grapes, 22% to Moscato, 13% Dolcetto, and 10% Nebbiolo, while the rest is split up amongst smaller, native grapes, like Pelaverga, Malvasia, Arneis, and Bonarda, not to be confused with Argentine Bonarda.
Home to both Barolo and Barbaresco, Barolo is the most famous subregion within Piedmont. Revered as the King of Wines, Barolo is only made from Nebbiolo grapes and must be aged for 38 months with 18 months spent in barrel. Awarded the highest classification amongst Italian wines, Barolo is one of three wines that gained DOCG (Denomination of Controlled and Guaranteed Origin) status the day of their classification. Classic Barolos tend to have firm tannins, with tar and roses aromas, and complex notes of earth, truffles, and dark chocolate.
Often mentioned in relation to Barolo, Barbaresco is the more approachable of the two. Although, it’s no minor feat for wines to be classified as Barbaresco with their strict qualifications: wines must be harvested with a minimum yield of 8 tons per hectare; have a minimum alcohol content of 12%; and must be aged for a minimum of 26 months with 9 months in oak. Grown in limestone-rich marl soils, Barbaresco wines are also only made from Nebbiolo, which tend to ripen early, be less tannic, and have rich, spicy notes.