A selection of Piedmont red wines to try
Piedmont, or Piemonte in Italian, is a wine region at the foot of the Alps in Northern Italy and recognized for its luscious reds such as Barbaresco and Barolo. While Nebbiolo is the most well-known Piedmontese grape, other natives include Vespolina, often blended with Nebbiolo, the softer, fruity Dolcetto, and the widely planted Barbera, producing a drinkable, food-friendly wine.
I visited Piedmont, Italy in 2016 and was taken by the untouched landscape––verdant, rolling hills and wide-open spaces––the wonderfully fresh food, the area’s tiny villages where English is rarely spoken, and of course, the wine. One day I hope to return to this somewhat under-the-radar area of Italy (Piedmont doesn’t attract nearly as many tourists as Tuscany), but until then, I’ll drink glass of Barolo with pleasure.
Looking for some new Italian bottles to try? Here are five Piedmont red wines at varying prices, each reflecting the rich terroir of the region.
Riva Leone Barbera 2016
Plum, black cherry, and tobacco stimulate the palate in this dry, pleasing Barbera. The well-balanced and medium-bodied Riva Leone does especially well with pizza Margherita and tomato-based pasta dishes. A great value, the bottle sells in the $12 range, so it’s the most affordable wine on the list. I recommend adding this Barbera to your picks for everyday wines. It’s one of mine.
GAJA Sito Moresco Langhe 2016
I loved everything about this Piedmont red wine. You should expect concentrated fruit, think red berries and blood orange, as well as smooth tannins, a touch of earthiness, and the right amount of acidity. Produced by the GAJA family in Barbaresco, this beautiful blend is 35% Nebbiolo, 25% Merlot, 25% Barbera, and 15% Cabernet Sauvignon. It’s also extremely versatile, and Piedmont wine lovers should enjoy a glass with steak, linguine tossed in pesto, or even grilled tuna. A bit more upscale, this bottle prices in the $70 range.
Centovigne Rosso della Motta 2017
Vespolino softens the Nebbiolo in this lovely wine, which hails from the northern section of Piedmont. Elegant, juicy, with berry, violet, and white pepper aromas, this red has good structure and opens up nicely, showcasing its juiciness and finishing with light tannins. Pair it with roast beef, lamb chops, and Spaghetti carbonara. This wine runs in the $16 range, so it’s very well-priced indeed.
Ciabot Burton Fisetta Barbera D’Alba 2017
Hailing from vineyards in picturesque La Morra, this crisp, yet lightly spicy Barbera begins in sandy-calcareous soil before it’s aged in steel. The result is a silky wine oozing ripe fruit with high acidity. Savor this classic bottle alongside a charcuterie and cheese platter, light pasta dish, or pan-seared duck breast. The 2017 Ciabot Burton Fisetta Barbera D’Alba retails for around $16 as well.
Francone Barolo 2015
There are many wonderful Piedmont wineries to visit, but one not to miss is Francone. I tasted quite a few Francone wines in their tasting room in Neive (one of the most picturesque villages in Piedmont), and I would recommend any from this producer. Emitting hints of licorice, leather, and tobacco, this Barolo is full-bodied with a long-lasting, dry finish, and would pair especially well with roasted meats. The bottle received a 90-point rating from Wine Spectator, and is a steal retailing for about $42 a bottle. Drink through 2027.
Interested in learning more about Piedmont, Italy? Check out this guide on Wine Folly.
And if you’re unfamiliar with Piedmont or Piemonte red wines, Barbera is a fantastic grape to introduce you to this region.
Also in Northern Italy, Milan is a vibrant, cosmopolitan city.
And my favorite wine store in New York is Astor Wines & Spirits. You’ll find knowledgeable staff and an impressive selection of wines from Piedmont and other regions around the world.