One of the most beautiful and often visited countries in the world is Italy. The history, art, culture and sheer beauty of Italy is inspiring and provides unforgettable experiences. Let’s focus now on Piemonte (known here in the U.S. as the Piedmont region), located at the foot of the Alps in northwest Italy. It is home to one of the country’s most exciting and successful wine areas. The region is known for hilly terrain, as some vineyards are as high as 2,000 feet above sea level.
The best-known wines from the region include Barolo and Barbaresco, both made from the Nebbiolo grape. Barolo is the king in Piedmont, but the success and reputation of this region are driven by both Barolo and Barbaresco. Barolos tend to be more and tannic versions of Nebbiolo, while Barbarescos are more approachable and graceful. Barolo has very long aging potential. By law it must be aged for 38 months, and in the best vintages, the wines will evolve over 20 to 30 years. Other grapes grown in the Piedmont region include Barbera, the most widely-planted grape in the region, and Dolcetto, a fruitier red, often with peppery notes. Barbera is most typically made in the Asti or Alba zones and is therefore known as either Barbera d’Asti or Barbera d’Alba.
It has been a very difficult two+ years dealing with the worldwide pandemic. Those of us with a yearning to travel have had to remain patient. However, you may wish to experience Piemonte through the incredible wines produced in this area without leaving home. Listed below are five wines from this region that are available in our store, outstanding representations of the fabulous wines produced there. I have included a review which details what you would taste should have the good fortune to taste one of these wines.
During the month of May (2022), if you purchase 3 or more bottles of the featured wines below, you’ll receive 10% off!
Mille Grazie & Salute,
Hal (your wine guy at Frank’s)
Fratelli Alessandria—Barolo del Comune di Verduno 2017
The 2017 Barolo del Comune di Verduno is an absolutely gorgeous wine. This is the first vintage in which the Barolo “classico” becomes a wine only from Verduno. A wine of tremendous balance, the 2017 is a pleasure to taste. Bright red berry fruit, blood orange and spice punctuate the finish.
Fratelli Allesandria—Langhe Rosso Rossoluna 2018
This wine is made from 40% Nebbiolo, 30% Barbera and 30% Freisa grapes. Antonio Galloni of Vinous says “Fratelli Allesandria is one of Piedmont’s under-the-radar jewels.”
Fratelli Allesandria—Dolcetto D’Alba 2020
Tasting Notes—Aromas of red and black cherries, plums, blueberries, light spices. Fresh and juicy.
Massolino Barolo 2017
94 points—Wine and Spirits
One of the best Barolo classico wines we tasted from the vintage, this wine seems totally unaffected by the heat and drought of the growing season. Mouthwatering acidity infuses well-defined red-cherry and berry flavors, framed by cool, ferrous tannins. Balanced, fresh and firm, it has plenty of stuffing for the long haul.
Produttori del Barbaresco 2018
93 points—James Suckling
Lovely Barbaresco, with all the typical Nebbiolo characteristics, such as red berries, mushrooms and dried leaves, as well as hints of bitter orange peel and spice. All this follows through to the medium-to full-bodied palate, where fine, lightly firm tannins add a little grip and additional focus. Compact, but bursting with flavor. Delicious now, but give it a year or two. It will only get better.