Tucked in the northwestern corner of Italy, Piedmont is surrounded on three sides by the Alps. This dramatic region doesn't lend itself to the tomato-heavy stereotype most often associated with Italian food and drink, but instead is home to beef, garlic, truffles, and of course the biggest, age-worthy red wines - Barolo and Barbaresco. And although those nebbiolo-based wines are justifiably famous, today we're focusing on some lesser-known, but no-less-worthy grapes and wines from the region.
Poderi Cellario "È Bianco" NV - CERTIFIED ORGANIC + LOW INTERVENTION
Country: ITALY / Region: PIEDMONT / Appellation: N/A / Varietal(s): ARNEIS+ MOSCATO --- Fausto and Cinzia Cellario are 3rd generation winemakers in the village of Carru on the western outskirts of the Langhe. They only work with indigenous Piedmontese grape varietals, and passionately adhere to local winemaking traditions both in the vineyard and cellar. The Cellario vineyards cover approximately 30 hectares between 5 different vineyard sites throughout the southern Langhe. Vineyard work is certified organic and all fermentations take place with native yeasts. Sulfur is only added in very small quantities at bottling if necessary. A blend of the arneis and moscato grapes, this is clean and zesty, bursting at the seams with notes of white flower, white peach, pineapple, and touches of gooseberries. Versatile and oh-so-refreshing - and all this in a crowd-pleasing LITER bottle? We say bring it on! Winner, winner with a chicken dinner - or most anything else!
Ferraris Agricola Ruchè di Castagnole Monferrato DOCG 2017
Country: ITALY / Region: PIEDMONT / Appellation: RUCHÈ DI CASTAGNOLE MONFERRATO DOCG / Varietal(s): RUCHÈ --- The story of the Luca Ferraris winery is almost literally the stuff of legend: during the 19th century, Luca's great-grandfather, Luigi Ferraris, emigrated to America to seek his fortune during the Gold Rush. Striking gold, he sent the money back to his wife, Luca's great-grandmother, Bruno Teresa, who bought the house in Via al Castello which housed the original winery in 1921. Two years later, Luca’s grandfather Martino purchased “Il Casot”, which at that time was nothing but a simple rural hut in the middle of 40,000 square meters of land. Martino planted vines and bought barrels in order to be able to make wine with his own grapes in his own cellar. In 2009 a new winery was built to modernize production and accommodate increasing demand, particularly for Ferraris' ruchè wines. The ruchè grape is still relatively rare, but possesses the potential for making truly elegant wines. Sourced from a diverse selection of low-yielding vineyards, 'Clasic' represents a traditional Piedmontese style of winemaking, highlighting ruchè's aromatic, complex nature. Fermented in stainless steel, it is then aged 6-9 months in large oak barrels, before being bottled unfiltered. Ruby colored, it unfurls layer upon layer of perfumed rose petals, cherry jam, and spicy pink peppercorn. Vibrant acidity provides lift to the palate, while the gentlest kiss of oak softens the finish. Lovely with medium aged cheeses, roast chicken or pork chops, or truffle mac n cheese.
San Fereolo "Valdiba" Dogliani DOCG 2016 - CERTIFIED BIODYNAMIC
Country: ITALY / Region: PIEDMONT / Appellation: DOGLIANI DOCG / Varietal(s): DOLCETTO --- After a career working in fashion and industrial design in Milan, Nicoletta Bocca acquired San Fereolo in 1992, and has since mastered the terroir of her Valdibà subzone while completing the conversion to certified biodynamic winemaking. The Dogliani DOCG is located just south of Barolo in the Langhe, and is home to some of the greatest dolcetto vineyards in Piemonte. The oldest dolcetto vines were planted in 1936, while the youngest date back to 1978. 'Valdibà' is vinified completely in steel tank, following a 10-day maceration. It is bottled after roughly 12 months, then spends several more months in bottle before release. The dolcettos of Dogliani upend the common perception of dolcetto as soft and easy, possessing structure and finesse to spare. Leading off with aromas of violets and blackberries, 'Valdibà' offers up brambly dark berries, black cherry, and licorice and almond notes on the palate, balanced out by integrated, yet firm tannins. Delicious with pot roast, or pasta with porcini mushrooms.