Piedmont: from Barolo to Barbaresco
When talking about Piedmont, we mainly refer to the sacred land of Langa, and when evoking this piece of wine heaven we can’t exclude the two undisputed rulers, Barolo and Barbaresco, and the vine variety from which they’re born: His Majesty the Nebbiolo.
Actually Piedmont is one of the most variegated areas when talking about wine, and it doesn’t limit itself to the Langa: there are so many classifications related to the Nebbiolo that you could create a kaleidoscope of countless and unique characteristics. Up North, near Novara and Vercelli, the Nebbiolo is called “Spanna” and the deriving wines have denominations that get lost in the universe of the Italian wine history: Boca, Sizzano, Ghemme, Gattinara, Fara, Lessona and Bramaterra. In the Langa territory we find denominations such as Barolo and Barbaresco, until we get to the borders with Val d’Aosta where we can find the Carema, but not only. Nebbiolo is also produced in the Roero area and nearby.
But Piedmont doesn’t only have Nebbiolo, although the wines deriving from this unique grape are the real main characters. The recognized and codified denominations are 42, of which many are a great addition to the meal not only in the Piedmont area, since they are recognized all over the world for their quality. Some of these wines are the very well known Barbera, Dolcetto, Freisav, Grignolino, Moscato d’Asti, Timorasso, Cortese di Gavi, continuing with the less-known and rare but fascinating Pelaverga di Verduno, Erbaluce, Rubino di Cantavenna, Loazzolo, Gabiano, Albugnano and many others, finally gathering together to compose an artist’s “wine palette” appreciated by every demanding palate.
The four areas of origin of this magnificent wine are four: Neive, Barbaresco, Treiso and San Rocco, which are all in the Cuneo province. The grape used is the Nebbiolo, in the sub-varieties Lampia, Rosé and Michet. The soil is so variable that the territorial characterization is surprising even in contiguous municipalities. The Barbaresco joins elegance with intensity and “farmer spirit” with “absorbed nobility”. This wine has surprising aging properties, and over the years it was able to transfigure itself until it changed into something extraordinarily complex. In all of its stages of development the Barbaresco is able, just like during a human life cycle, to change its destination of use. Despite this, it is known that a wine is considered a great one when it is great in all of its development stages.
Let’s start from the fact that the Barolo is the ultimate strong wine, “marrying” anything in the kitchen that is structurally “important”, ranging from the braised game meat to the aged cheeses. This wine was once intended for well-off or even reigning classes. For this reason the Barolo is always represented by oleography and history, next to the potentates of every era, to the point of being nicknamed “King of wines and wine of the kings”. Just like the Barbaresco varieties, the Barolo is “son” of the Nebbiolo grape, and is able to age in a unique way. During its history, there are many centennial bottles that have been drank, which were in great shape and with inconceivable olfactory and gustative situations. In reality, the Barolo is a wine with extraordinary organoleptic skills, for its complexity and its layering of senses, but is also a wine of incredible characterization, mainly due to a soil such as the Langa, which is geologically of surprising variation. It ranges from the persuasive elegancy of the “fresh” areas, typical of the districts of Castiglione Falletto and La Morra, to the austere strength of the municipalities of Serralunga d’Alba and Monforte. The kaleidoscope of fragrances emanated by a great Barolo is epic and not reproducible, leaving behind itself an emotional trail which can be found rarely in any other wine of the world.
(Marco Manzoli, wine communicator)