Sunday, May 13, 2007

Wine Region - Piedmont, Italy

Piedmont, in Italian, means at the foot of the mountain. It was originally inhabited by Celtic tribes, which were later absorbed by the Romans. When Hannibal destroyed the Celtic capital, Taurasia, the Romans rebuilt it in the same location giving its streets the grid pattern that that still characterize Turin today.

The three best areas for wine tours in Piedmont (for scenery and quality of wines) are the Langhe, Roero and Monferrato sub regions. The principal city in Piedmont is Turin, a beautiful cosmopolitan city known for two main reasons- its superb chocolate makers, and for the "Shroud of Turin", which attracts Catholic pilgrims regularly.

With 46 different DOC and four DOCG areas, Piedmont is the region that produces the largest number of best known, noble, and world-appreciated prize-winning wines, such as Barbera, Barolo, Barbaresco, Dolcetto, Nebbiolo, Grignolino, Malvasia and Asti Spumante among others.

Another distinguished characteristic of Piedmont is that most of its wines are produced on family estates made up of relatively small parcels of land.

The main grape grown here is the distinguished Nebbiolo, which is the base for the famed Barolo, Barbaresco and Gattinara among others. Its name derives from the word nebbia, or fog, because of a velvety, whitish coating over its berries in addition to the fact that it grows in an area where, at ripening time in September, heavy morning fog is a given and the humidity that it provides gives the grapes an ideal habitat.

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