Monday 19 October 2009

I Love Italian Travel - Wine Touring in Piedmont

There are lots of reasons to visit the Piedmont region of
northwestern Italy. You might want to ski the Alps or visit
the Olympic city of Turin that perhaps surprisingly is home
to a museum housing one of the world's richest collections
of Egyptian art, and a world-class automobile museum.
Nearby, on the banks of the Po River you'll find the Borgo
Medioevale, a faithful representation of a Piedmont village
from the Middle Ages. Piedmont is filled with castles and
cathedrals, and the food is delicious. This lovely region
once belonged to France and the culinary influence is
obvious. Piedmont is also truffle land; you should open
your wallet at least once to taste these delicious

And there is the wine. Piedmont boasts some of the finest
wines that Italy, or frankly the world, has to offer. They
call Barolo "The king of wines and the wine of kings." When
it is good it is very, very good. Yes, sometimes it is not
that good. Unless you know what you're doing, stay away
from too-low priced Barolos. The Turin area is not home to
many well-known wines. But head southeast for literally
dozens of fine wines including the DOCGs Asti, Barbaresco,
Barolo, Brachetto d'Acqui (a red frizzy or sparkling wine),
and Gavi also known as Cortese di Gavi. The recommended,
probably lower-priced DOC wines include Barbera d'Alba and
Barbera d'Asti. If you aren't a fan of tannins in your red
wine you might go for one of the many Dolcettos that some
say taste like Beaujolais. Northeast of Turin you'll find
some fine wines including Gattinara DOCG and Ghemme DOCG.
Northern Piedmont wines tend not to be as well known as
those south of the Po River, so you may find some bargains.

The major red grape varieties grown in the Piedmont are
Nebbiolo which is found in Barolo, Barbaresco, Gattinara,
and Ghemme wines, Barbara, Brachetto, and Dolcetto. The
major white varieties are Arneis, Cortese, Erbaluce,
Moscato used in Asti, and Chardonnay which is often quite
good. If you want my opinion, taste some of the local
whites before trying a Piedmont Chardonnay.

Companies selling wine tours of Piedmont include Alabaster
and Clark Wine Tours Worldwide, La Dolce Vita Wine Tours,
and Prime Italy, and Select Italy. Piedmont wineries
providing visits include Braida di Giacomo Bologna in
Rocchetta Tanaro, Ceretto in Alba, Marchesi di Barolo in
Barolo, Renato Ratti in La Morra, and Vietti in Castiglione
Falletto. A few words of warning are in order. Be sure to
check ahead of time for opening hours and whether English
is spoken. Some places may charge admission; others may
expect you to buy some of their products.

About the Author:

Once upon a time Levi Reiss wrote or co-authored ten
computer and Internet books. And yet, he really prefers
drinking fine Italian or other wine, with the right food
and friends. He teaches computers at an Ontario
French-language community college. Visit his website which focuses on wine, weight
loss, health, and nutrition issues.

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