5 Piedmont Wines To Try — a guest post from our friends at Sassi Italy Tours.
It’s been awhile since I’ve posted. As mentioned in my last write-up, Birth Year Wine: Starting a Cellar for Baby, we welcomed a little boy in early June. Ragazzino was three weeks early so I wasn’t able to get posts prepped as I’d planned. But, I received a few guest posts that I’m excited to share.
This s a list of Piedmont wines to try from a U.S.-based tour company, Sassi Italy Tours. We have so many visitors excited to taste the wines of the area before and after they arrive, I thought some buying tips might be helpful. Producers here are quite small, so it’s not always easy to find the ones you loved when visiting.
If you are reading from outside the U.S, don’t despair! Many are accessible globally and the producers are worth a visit if you make it to the area!
5 Piedmont Wines To Try
Guest post by Sassi Italy Tours
To start, top five Piemontese wines you can source in the U.S. without too much effort:
1) Rivetto, Barbera d’Alba: Barbera rightfully has a reputation for being a bit acidic, sometimes to the point of seeming unapproachable unless you’re having it with sausages or barbequed salmon or a fat steak, or some other dish that combines fattiness, saltiness, and sweetness for balance.
Not so here; Enrico’s take on Barbera is not only perfectly balanced but a wine that you’d take with or without food (though, like any Italian great, you’re missing out if you’re not having it with something savory…I’m thinking polenta in a mushroom sauce).
Sassi Tours Meets Rivetto: A Day in Sinio
2) Malvira, Arneis. A must in my list of five Piedmont wines to try because whites of Italy don’t get the respect they deserve. One of the more tiresome tropes in wine blogging is the inevitable “meh, you can skip Italian whites, they’re boring / flat / unsophisticated / the stuff frat boys pour in sangria buckets at the end of semester blowouts.”
Besides being largely incorrect — as all throughout the boot there are *amazing* white wines being produced that need to be explored by even passing wine aficionados — this attitude strikes me as the height of inexcusable laziness. Yes, if all you do is buy Bolla Pinot Grigio by the jug, you probably find Italian whites boring. Get out there and LOOK!
One of the more accessible varietals is Arneis — great gravity on the palate, good balance, and pleasant minerality paired with some nifty understated fruit. Malvira makes a neat one that you should be able to source. Bonus tip: Malvira is the azienda behind the Indigenous line that you’re starting to see in more wine stores, their nebbiolo is killer.
3) Speaking of nebbiolo: Giribaldi, Accerto. Most of us can’t afford to drink Barbaresco and Barolo on the regular, but you can enjoy this baby Barolo without breaking the bank. This is a great example of a Langhe nebbiolo, one that doesn’t need to lay on its side for the next seven years before it’s accessible. It was the highlight of our last trip — the way it paired with tagliolini con tartufo can only be described as culinary *magic*. The wine of the trip for our group, and one that with a little looking you can source in the U.S. Around $17 last I found it.
We simply fell in love with Rodello. I plan on exploring all of Piedmont, but Rodello will always be home.
Sassi Tours Visits Rodello and Azienda Agricola Mario Giribaldi
4) Of course, our list of Piedmont wines to try has to include the one that got us to the region: Giribaldi, Crottino (dolcetto). Read the backstory: Fun With Wine and Google.
Dolcetto is a much-ignored varietal that should be anything but. It’s a great pair to all sorts of foods, and at $10 a bottle it’s hard to say no to. The perception is that it’s not as worthy as the Nebbiolo-based cousins is tough to shake as the Piemontese themselves are uprooting dolcetto to plant more nebbiolo as it sells more profitably in the foreign market, but if you want to taste the wine that the Piemontese themselves produce for their own consumption and to pair with their regional cuisine, this is what you want to drink. The best value on my list.
5) Speaking of dolcetto, a bit of a curveball with our Piedmont wines to try – and probably the hardest to source in the U.S.: Mossio, Gamus (dolcetto 100%, aged in Slovenian oak one year and two months in bottles…a really refined dolcetto).
Sassi Tours Visits Azienda Agricola Mossio Fratelli
Valerio Mossio and family are a small producer even by Piedmont standards, but they are exporting to the U.S. Mossio is dedicated to keeping the dolcetto tradition alive, and this top line take on it is a fantastic value that deserves to be in the conversation when the best “vini tipici” of Piedmont come up. It’s every bit as powerful as some of the big Barberas and Barolos people think of when they think Piedmont, and it’s very, very approachable. We paired it with lots of mushroom and pasta dishes at dinner in Montelupo with Valerio himself, and it was quite the treat. Can’t wait to find a bottle of this again.
Our favorite part of visiting Piedmont?
Unlike the Italy destinations most tourists visit — where the list of art treasures and monuments is endless, and sometimes so are the crowds — the attraction of Piedmont is really the people themselves. We’ve never had more gracious hosts in Italy. It’s a small community where everyone knows everyone, and the people we’ve met there are legitimately, humanly, humbly, honestly grateful for our efforts to spread awareness about the food and wine treasures they have at their doorstep.
You form an immediate, deep, lifelong psychological connection to the place the moment you arrive. You’re welcomed, you’re enveloped, and you’re instantly hooked by the generosity at the core of everything these amazing people do.
We hope you enjoyed our selection of five Piedmont wines to try. We are headed back to the area in the fall and look forward to meeting new people and tasting more – and new – Piedmont wines!
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