Piedmont is mainly known for Nebbiolo, the key grape variety in the famous wines of Barolo and Barbaresco. Historically both the red skinned Barbera and Dolcetto were important, and for many wineries in the region these are still the key varieties. Recent years have brought a growing interest in some of Piedmont’s lesser known grapes though. The white Timorasso is enjoying a resurgence in popularity, but others such as Arneis, Albarossa and Freisa, to name just three, are also intriguing wine lovers with their local charm. Here is the full list of which grapes are used in Piedmont.
Barbera is one of Italy’s iconic and most planted red grape varieties. It is predominantly found in Piedmont around the town’s of Asti and Alba. It generally produces medium to full bodied wines with high levels of acidity and lots of black fruit flavours. One of the best examples in Italy come from the newly created Nizza DOCG.
Prevalent across most of the world’s wine-producing regions and with an unequalled 340,000 hectares worldwide, Cabernet Sauvignon produces full bodied, tannic wines with excellent ageing potential.
Grignolino is a red grape variety found in Piedmont capable of producing light, delicate wines with high acidity. Extremely low in colour anthocyanins and high in tannin, it can be a fascinating variety that while considered out of fashion, has drawn comparisons with Burgundy at various stages in its history. It appears in two DOCs - Grignolino d’Asti DOC and Grignolino del Monferrato Casalese DOC.
With 266,000 hectares worldwide, the dark skinned variety Merlot is the second most planted wine-making grape on the planet. Taking its name from the French word ‘Merle’ - meaning blackbird, it is popular both as a varietal and in blends, and is principally known for its role in the red wines of Bordeaux.
Neretto di San Giorgio is a rare red grape variety found in the Province of Turin. It is sometimes known as Neretto di Bairo, although DNA studies have yet to reveal enough information about the grape’s correct synonyms and siblings.
Pelaverga Piccola, generally known as just Pelaverga, is a red grape variety grown in the commune of Verduno. It was granted its own DOC status and lies completely within the famous Barolo DOCG. A historic grape referenced in the 16th century, it is making a small comeback as an aromatic, fresh red varietal with a broad food matching potential.
Uvalino is a rare red grape variety found in Piedmont, close to the town of Costigliole d’Asti. It is being brought back into circulation by Cascina Castlet who currently release a 100% expression called Uceline.
Chardonnay is a white wine grape variety originating in the Burgundy region of France. The grape is renowned as a conduit of terroir and process, deriving its associated flavours from its growing location and the vinification choices of the winemaker. Now very much an international variety with plantings across virtually all wine producing nations, Chardonnay delivers a diverse range of wines with great aromatic complexity.
Moscato Bianco is a white Italian grape variety known for its use in the famous sweet sparkling wines of Asti. Potentially one of the oldest Moscato grapes in Italy, featuring in the ancient Greek and Roman worlds, it has been made the principle white grape variety in Sicily’s Siracusa DOC as it attempts to revive its famous wine-making past.
The characterful Viognier grape is a white wine variety most synonymous with the Rhône Valley but also becoming popular in a number of New World regions. Naturally aromatic with flavours of peach, apricot and honeysuckle, Viognier can deliver full-bodied, fruit forward wines of great complexity.