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The soft green hills that carve the Piedmontese territory have long made it a favored land for vineyards, on par with the most famous wine districts of Europe. A cradle of wines with timeless allure, the region, alongside Tuscany, holds the title of emblem of wine in Italy. Its lands preserve the marks of a millennial history linked to the development of viticulture, a centuries-old heritage that Piedmont protects and enhances with proud dedication, making it a symbol of excellence appreciated worldwide.

With 16 denominations of controlled and guaranteed origin (DOCG) and 42 denominations of controlled origin (DOC), Piedmont boasts a range of oenological excellence capable of satisfying even the most demanding palates and the most curious spirits. Behind each bottle lies a layered narrative that weaves the richness of the territory with human craftsmanship.

The History of Piedmontese Viticulture

Viticulture in Piedmont has ancient origins, dating back at least to the 6th century B.C., when the Celtic-Ligurian populations began cultivating vines in this fertile land, an art that flourished further with the Romans, who were true disseminators of viticultural techniques that would shape Piedmont’s future. With the advent of the Middle Ages, the Piedmontese landscape was mapped according to the wine-growing vocations of its areas, with particular importance given by the canons at Casale Monferrato in the 7th century, who intensified the cultivation of the Barbesino vine, today known as Grignolino.

The Nebbiolo, the backbone of regional viticulture, found its first historical mention in 1268. Its growth was meticulously documented by Pietro de’ Crescenzi in the 14th century, marking the rising reputation of Nebbiolo wines which, in the 16th century under the aegis of Mercurino Arborio di Gattinara, gained fame throughout the European continent.

The wine epic of Piedmont continued in the 19th century with the birth of oenological legends such as Barolo and Barbaresco. It was an era of rigorous battles against wine fraud, culminating in the definitive demarcation of the Barolo production areas in 1909. However, the 20th century brought immense challenges: phylloxera, devastation caused by World War I, and a wave of emigration that threatened the regional viticultural heritage. Despite this, World War II was followed by a renaissance, symbolized by the legendary vintage of 1947.

In the 1980s, a revolution in winemaking took hold with the return to the land of a new generation of vintners, who introduced innovations in style and production, particularly of Barolo and Barbera d’Asti. This period also saw the heated debate between traditionalists and innovators, particularly on the issue of the use of barriques, which gradually found a harmonization.

The story of viticulture in Piedmont is a tale of passion, innovation, and resilience, a narrative that continues to evolve, supported by the eternal bond between the land and its people.

Grape Varieties and Main Characteristics

The extraordinary viticultural variety of Piedmont stems from a happy centuries-old marriage between the unique characteristics of the territories and the wisdom of its cultivators. The region stands out for the quality and diversity of its grape varieties, many of which are indigenous and deeply connected to its fertile lands.

Let’s explore some of the main players of this fascinating enological mosaic.

Barbera

Widely cultivated in Piedmont, as well as in Lombardy and Veneto, this black grape variety has earned the admiration of producers and consumers for its surprising versatility. Capable of producing wines with a chameleonic style, it ranges from fresh and effervescent young versions to structured and complex nectars worthy of long aging. Its labels are distinguished by lively hints of cherry and plum, sometimes combined with spicy notes of chocolate, especially evident in wines aged in barrique.

The grape has an ancient history, with the first attestations dating back to the 13th century in Casale Monferrato. It has grown in importance over the centuries, becoming one of the main grape varieties of the region. It thus contributes to a wide range of DOCG and DOC denominations, such as Barbera d’Asti and Barbera del Monferrato, where it is expressed in labels that vary in purity percentages, depending on local regulations.

Dolcetto

Dolcetto has held a prominent place among Piedmontese grape varieties for centuries, thanks to the great drinkability of the wines it produces. Despite its name, which could be misleading, this grape gives rise to dry nectars with a frank and immediate character, colored ruby red, sometimes with violet reflections.

The wines can present themselves in predominantly playful and enveloping versions, or in others with more structured and powerful accents, always characterized by low acidity. Dominant aromas of ripe cherry and raspberry are enriched by delicate notes of licorice and toasted almond, making it enjoyable even in its youth.

Historically, the origin of Dolcetto is disputed between Monferrato and Liguria, with evidence dating back at least to the 18th century. The etymology of the name is also uncertain: many believe it derives from the sweetness of the ripe grapes, while others trace its origin to “dosset”, a Piedmontese term for “low hill”.

Nebbiolo

The undisputed king of Piedmontese grape varieties, Nebbiolo gives life to legendary wines such as Barolo and Barbaresco. Its name evokes the mists that envelop the hills in autumn during the harvest, heralding its uniqueness.

The true excellence of Nebbiolo manifests in its ability to absorb and reflect the infinite nuances of its terroir of origin, with significant variations among different crus. Its cultivation area primarily extends across the hills of the Langhe and Roero, also encompassing Canavese and Vercellese, and even stretching beyond the Piedmontese borders to areas such as Valtellina and Valle d’Aosta, where it is known by local names like Chiavennasca and Picotendro.

Nebbiolo blossoms in early June, while its grapes mature in October, often among the dense fogs that characterize its name. The grapes, often harvested at the peak of their aromatic expression, produce wines that, with proper aging, reveal a complexity of aromas evolving from fruity and floral notes to more spicy and earthy tones.

Moscato

Moscato, a grape variety with ancient Middle Eastern origins, found its way into the Italian viticultural fabric thanks to Greek colonists, who introduced this variety during the expansion of the Magna Graecia colonies.

The most prized variety, Moscato Bianco, already mentioned in Roman texts as Apicae or Apianae, owes its name to the intense musky scent, a characteristic that makes its bouquet unique.

The spread of Moscato to northern Italy and throughout Europe was significantly influenced by Venetian trade in the Middle Ages, a period during which the vine began to make its way into the vineyards of many Italian regions. In Piedmont, Moscato Bianco is primarily cultivated in the provinces of Asti and Alessandria, producing Moscato d’Asti, a sweet, aromatic, and slightly sparkling wine.

Erbaluce

Among the Piedmontese grape varieties that enrich the diversity of the region’s wine scene, Erbaluce stands out for its historical role and notable versatility. Native to Canavese, this white grape variety is capable of producing an impressive range of wines: from dry and crystalline to sweet and sparkling, offering a broad spectrum of flavors and textures that make it unique.

First documented in 1606 by jeweler Giovan Battista Croce, Erbaluce has historical roots reflected in its traditional pergola cultivation in Canavese, though today other methods are also adopted. The vine produces not very compact clusters, a characteristic that increases its resistance to gray mold and makes it ideal for drying. The berries, of medium size and an amber-yellow color that can turn pinkish with sun exposure, have a waxy, transparent, and medium-thick skin that contributes to its unique organoleptic characteristics.

Erbaluce shines in purity in the historic wines of Canavese, including the standout DOCG Erbaluce di Caluso passito and Erbaluce di Caluso sparkling, as well as DOC Canavese white, Colline Novaresi white, and Coste della Sesia white.

Discover the Wine Academy at Casa di Langa

Through these bottles, Piedmont tells its story, its land, and the passion of the people who, generation after generation, have perfected the art of viticulture in these extraordinary lands.

Casa di Langa is situated at the heart of a rich and varied wine world, ready to be discovered. Every day, the Wine Academy offers three types of tastings, ranging from an overview of the local wine culture to personalized blind tastings. These experiences are designed to ensure an intimate and enriching interaction, also thanks to the limited number of participants in each session.

With a wine list that regularly changes to reflect new discoveries and seasonal selections, we offer our guests the opportunity to savor the best of local production in a refined and welcoming setting: awaiting you are the Sorì Cocktail Bar and the Fàula Ristorante, where wines are paired with dishes that enhance the gastronomic richness of Piedmont.

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