It won’t be long now until we leave for the Piedmont wine region of Italy. In fact, it’s just three weeks away. So I’ve been asked where Piedmont is exactly and what is there to see or do. So I thought I’d try to explain a little about Piedmont.
Let’s start with where it is. Piedmont is located in the northwest part of Italy – if you watched the 2006 Winter Olympics, they were held in Turin (Torino), which is the capital of Piedmont.
The region is less visited, but it is said that the hills and towns are just as lovely as those in Tuscany. Nearby are lakes, snow-capped mountains, vineyards and they all are said to be beautiful. If you have really good eyes or a map, you can see Switzerland to the north and you would see France to the west.
The Piedmont region is known in the wine world for its fabulous Nebbiolo grape based wines, the most well known being Barolo and Barbaresco. If you are not a red wine fan, there are also Arneis and Gavi grapes that are used to make delicious white wines. And, of course, there are those that will grab a glass of Moscato d’Asti.
The region is also famous for its extraordinary tartufo bianco or white truffles, especially in and around the town of Alba. The peak season is at the end of September or beginning of October when they also happen to hold the Alba Truffle Festival. Unfortunately for us, the festival begins the weekend we leave.
Other products you might have heard of that are native to Piedmont are Nutella (Yum) and Vermouth. In fact, Vermouth was invented there and it is home to Martini & Rossi for you Manhattan and Martini lovers. It’s also home to Ferrero Rocher and their wonderful chocolates.
We will be staying in the town of Alba, where we’ll be able to see remnants of the old Roman gates and towers along with the Church of San Domenica and the Duomo di Alba. Our tours will take us to the towns of Barolo, Barbaresco, La Morra, Turin, Monferrato, including a visit to the underground cathedral caves dug into the hill of Canelli.
We’re looking forward to visiting and spending wine time with our friends, along with celebrating a big birthday, but you’ll have to read along if you’re interested in the details.