Located north of Italy, Piedmont is famous for its Barolo and Barbaresco, both considered to be some of the country’s most prestigious. This vast hilly region is ideal for harvesting and is, in fact, considered the seventh biggest wine-producing region in the country. In total, the region boasts 50 or so appellations and 30 or so grape varieties.
The reigning variety in Piedmont is Nebbiolo—hands down. It strikes the perfect balance between acidic and tannic. It is most commonly used to produce Barolo and Barbaresco, but it is also the ideal grape when it comes to producing other great (and often more affordable) wines: Langhe, Alba and Gattinara, to name but a few. Barbera, with its gorgeous cherry aroma, also has an excellent reputation; in fact, many producers are adamant in claiming that this wine is just as great as Nebbiolo. Next comes Dolcetto—generous, robust, made to be enjoyed while it’s still young. Other local finds: Pelaverga and Ruché (pronounced “ru-ké”), both still wines, and Brachetto D’Acqui, a sparkling red wine that recalls Lambrusco.
Piedmont’s most commonly harvested white grape is Moscato (Muscat), which is used to make Asti (Spumante) and Moscato D’Asti, sparkling wines that pair beautifully with dessert. When it comes to dry white varieties, Cortese (most widely associated with Gavi wine) and Arneis (used by many well-known Barolo producers), particularly stand out. Another must-try: Nascetta and Timorasso, two rare white varieties that are crisp and fresh.
And as for the food?
Truffles—particularly white truffles—are the object of a huge international festival that takes place in Piedmont every year in November. Fine shavings of truffle are sprinkled over local dishes, such as battuta (beef tartare with olive oil, salt and pepper), tajarin (egg-yolk-rich pasta tossed in butter), and risotto.
And of course let’s not forget, the raviolis (or agnolottis) dal Plin, most commonly stuffed with a delicious mixture of butter, sage, Parmesan and braised meat.