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First, let’s get it straight. It’s spelled BOTH ways. Piedmont is how most English speakers say it; Piemonte is how the Italians pronounce it. And me. I like to say Piemonte! with an upward lilt (and an exclamation point) at the end because it makes me feel authentic and perhaps like I might live there one day. But for the benefit of clarity, I will refer to it as Piedmont here.

 

So let’s talk about why, if you’re a wine traveler like me, Piedmont should be on the top of your “must visit” list. The number one thing I always hope for in a wine country is the hardest thing to find. I want my lodging to be located in the vineyards, staying in a room overlooking grapevines as far as the eye can see. But ideally, I also want it to be somehow in a town where I can wander around in the evenings, from wine bar to adorable farm-to-table restaurant without need of a car.

 

Most wine countries are vast farmland and have either accommodations with a view and only one restaurant (unless you want to drive), or a central town with several dining and lodging options but no view.

 

But not Piedmont. Oh no. Piedmont is a patchwork of vineyards that curve over undulating hills, each culminating in a town like cherries atop a gelato sundae. Views of this terroir, often from a hotel balcony or restaurant, are straight out of Wine Spectator magazine. But the appeal of Piedmont is not only vineyard views and cobblestone towns filled with a local cuisine that will make you want to wear increasingly larger sizes of stretchy pants…

 

Allow me to illustrate 10 ways that Piedmont, Italy is my new favorite wine country:

 

1) The Wine

Juliana Dever in Piedmont, Italy, wine country

I lost count of how many lovely wines I tried in Piedmont, but I know I took 12 bottles home. Photo credit: Robert Alexander

Sure, simply bottling nearby juice and having it available with a bread bowl full of cheese will satisfy some folks, but Piedmont’s wine doesn’t just ‘do the trick,’ it’s GREAT. Once in the shadows of the Super Tuscan, the Langhe’s wines now ping the radars of wine lovers the world over. Originally owed to the mastery of Angelo Gaja, a wine producer credited with “revolutionizing winemaking in Italy,” up-and-coming winemakers are now creating some noteworthy expressions of this grape and being there puts one in the position of trying wines you would otherwise not get to try.

 

What kind of wine is it? The predominant grape is Nebbiolo, a red varietal known most famously for tasting of “tar and roses,” which is fantastic if you enjoy the taste of either tar, or roses. (I enjoy the taste of bandaids and smoke, but that’s a different story.) Nebbiolo also has a reputation for having earthy flavors like moss, truffles, smoke, violets, and cherries. It’s best aged since the acidic structure and tannins are grippy and need time to mellow in the bottle.

 

Note: To clear up a little confusion when reading a wine menu, all Barolos and Barbarescos are Nebbiolo, but not all Nebbiolos are Barolo and Barbaresco. Barolo and Barbaresco are wine producing areas within the Langhe region and by law must produce red wine that is 100% Nebbiolo. However, in this region there are many other wonderful producers making some nice Barberas, Dolcettos and Nebbiolos. Just like the frequently compared to French Burgundy, these wines are outstanding when paired with food from this region. Which brings me to:

 

2) Food in This Region

Tajarin, a regional pasta in Piedmont's wine country

Tajarin, a regional dish of Piedmont. It’s a thin ribbon-like pasta all hopped up on egg yolks and it’s so good that I ate it two nights in a row with no shame whatsoever.

My friend Robert of Travel Langhe threatens to write a book one day about the fact that there is not really a universal cuisine in Italy. Traveling from region to region you begin to realize that he’s right, there is no one style that permeates all kitchens in Italy. Traditional Piedmont dishes tend to have the central ingredient of eggs, deep orang-y-yolked, farmhouse fresh eggs. One of the specialties of this region is called tajarin, and it traditionally requires 30 egg yolks per one kilo of flour. The resulting pasta is then cut into thin ribbons and is so rich and flavorful it needs only to be folded with salty warm butter to create an incredibly satisfying meal.

 

Only thing that can up this game is the one thing that the this area is known the world over for and that’s…

 

3) TRUFFLES!

Truffles of Piedmont, Italy wine country

There is a gorgeous asparagus flan under that blanket of mushroom shavings from heaven, but do I care?  I just want to say, truffles, if you’re reading this…call me.

Sorry, I had to take a moment there and collect myself after thinking about truffles.

There are few things in the culinary world that make me as crazy as truffles. They’re like the George Clooney of the fungus world. Black truffles and white truffles are numbers 1-5 on my “freebie five” list, and a visit to Piedmont is a visit to the heart of this gourmet mushroom’s universe.

Because truffles are famously found in Piedmont, the fabulous thing about eating here is that in many restaurants you can get them added to almost any meal, or even experience entire tasting menus with each course (including dessert) smothered in the heavenly, earthy, paper-thin shavings, for relatively reasonable rates. The village of Alba even has a yearly festival celebrating this rarest of mushrooms.

 

4) Hilltop Towns

Hilltop Town in Italy's wine country

They’re, like, on every hilltop! These towns in Piedmont are as fun as they are enchanting, packed with great restaurants and views for miles.

Speaking of Alba, this brings me to what makes the region so grand for visitors. Alba, amongst some of the other hilltop towns make for lovely, impossibly romantic perches with windows onto the region’s hilly vineyards. Cobblestone streets, wine bars and enotecas, delicious restaurants, dreamy views, and little boutiques and shops are all yours when you stay in one of Piedmont’s many towns. Try Serralunga, La Morra, Barolo and Neive.

 

5) This Church

Cathedral in La Morra, Italy's wine country

Architecture in Piedmont can be stunning. Make sure you visit this cathedral in La Morra and give thanks for all of the wine.

What’s so wonderful about these little towns is that each one is a historical settlement unto itself. Staying in any of them provide lovely evenings of discovery as you shop in a small gourmet shop, have a meal at an outdoor café or poke your head in at this stunner of a cathedral in La Morra.

 

6) The View

View of Piedmont wine country

The view of Piedmont’s wine country from our hotel in Neive.

From any of these gorgeous little towns you have stunning views like this. Many of the small guesthouses, B&Bs and hotels offer rooms with either a balcony or terrace and these views come standard.

 

7) The Situation

The Alps surrounding Piedmont's wine country

The Alps surround three-fourth’s of Piedmont’s borders. Breathtaking, right? Photo credit: Robert Alexander

Piedmont is bordered on three sides by the Alps, which provide stunning views of vineyards with the mountains rising above. It makes you feel expansive and protected all at once.

 

8) The Vineyards

Seamus and Juliana Dever looking at Piedmont's wine country

Sometimes I have to check and make sure they’re still there. Seamus and I standing in the vineyards of Piedmont. Photo credit: Robert Alexander

For any wine traveler, there is something about those vines. Both sinewy and strong, with broad leaves reaching out and over to shelter clusters of green and purple berries hanging from them like a queen dripping in jewels, vineyards inspire and soothe the wine drinker. Maybe it’s just knowing that even though you’ve been drinking your way through Piedmont, more is on the way. It’s a comforting thought. *sip*

 

9) Wine Tours

Robert of Travel Langhe Private Wine Tours of Piedmont's wine country

Robert explains the differences in the wine from Barbaresco to Dolcetto. Because of our Travel Langhe tour, We were able to visit this private winery, meet the winemaker and try all of her different wines.

For those that like to dig deeper into a region and learn more about its history, its vintners, and the specific grapes grown, a tour is an excellent entrée into the discovery of what makes each wine country work and thrive. In some cases, it’s the only way to get a closer look at estates, meet winemakers and taste at private cellars.

 

We had the good fortune of coming across Robert and Leslie from Travel Langhe Private Wine Tours. Two Americans that have been in the wine business for over a decade, Robert and Leslie run not only wine tours but cooking and photography workshops as well. Robert’s easygoing style helps you gain an overview of Piedmont and goes a long way towards helping you understand what you taste. They’re also a great resource for the region and aid clients in choosing towns, lodging and dining options via their site.

 

10) The People

People of Italy's Piedmont wine country

Some of the wonderful people I met while staying for a few days in Piedmont. Wine shop owners, winemakers, restaurateurs, servers and all of them warm and kind. See? Go visit! Photo credit: Robert Alexander

While the friendliness scale at any given wine region can vary, here in Piedmont the people are charming, welcoming, and if they don’t speak English they are happy to engage in a spirited game of communication charades with you. Going back through my pictures I realize that I hadn’t taken any photos of my favorite people that I met during my time there. So I asked Robert to send me some that he had taken. This totally gives me an excuse to head back to my favorite restaurant in Neive, Donna Selvatica, and relax into a spot on the patio overlooking Babaresco, wash down some truffle-covered flan di aspergi with a Nebbiolo, and plan my next photo shoot.

 

What’s your favorite wine country?

 

 

 

 

How to Plan a Visit to Piedmont

Eat

In Neive
Lunch or Dinner: We loved Donna Selvatica for the innovative twists on traditional food, the truffle tasting menu and the view.

Casual lunch or dinner: De Gusto Enoteca con Cucina

In Neviglie
Local’s secret: Asso di Quadri Pizzeria. You won’t find any English here, but you will find friendly service and a menu with pictures.

 

Sleep

In Neive
Borgo Vecchio Suites are brand new and have top-notch, friendly service, large suites, abundant breakfasts served in room, and stunning views.

Email Daniela at info[at]borgovecchioneive[dot]it or call +39 338 5813733

 

Do

Private Wine Tour (or cooking or photography class) Contact Robert and Leslie Alexander of Travel Langhe. Tell them I sent you!

 

Transport

For International flights, Milan-Malpensa (MXP) is the closest. Drive time from MXP is approximately 90 minutes.

For Domestic European flights, Turin-Caselle (TRN) is closer. Drive time from TRN is approximately 30 minutes.

 

 

 

Travel Pinterest - Clever Dever Wherever

Piedmont Italy's Best Wine Country | Wine Travel | Italian Wine | Visit PiemontePiedmont Italy's Best Wine Country | Where to Eat in Italy | Truffles | Wine Travel | Italian Wine | Visit Piemonte | Where to Stay in Piedmont Italy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Travel Pinterest - Clever Dever Wherever

Piedmont Italy's Best Wine Country | Where to Eat in Italy | Truffles | Wine Travel | Italian Wine | Visit Piemonte

Read More About Wine Travel

It used to be, whenever I wanted to bring home a precious few bottles of wine or spirits from abroad, my options would be: (1) Stuff each bottle into a pair of socks, wrap in multiple plastic bags, and them roll them up in my clothes, or (2) Pay a hefty several-hundred-dollar customs fee to get...

Moravia, in the Czech Republic, is a fascinating wine region. Behind the Iron Curtain until the Velvet Revolution of 1989, winemakers did not have the freedom to indulge in creating a style, but rather most were forced to grow grapes for...

Piedmont, Italy is an extraordinary wine country. Here are ten reasons why it should be on your "must-visit" travel list.
About the Author

Hi. I’m Juliana Dever and according to science I have some sort of "exploration" gene. Embracing this compulsion, I spend a lot of time hurtling around the planet in metal tubes experiencing other cultures and writing humorous essays about it. Enjoy.

30 Comments

  1. Julie / August 26, 2015 at 2:12 am /Reply

    I haven’t been to too many wine regions, so my opinions are limited. BUT I did go to Burgundy last summer. You should totally check it out. I’m not sure if it will meet all your criteria for the perfect wine region, but we stayed in the central tiny town, and drove around from there. We also did an AMAZING full day private tour (4 adults + a baby with a private guide) which was the definite highlight. Oh and eating Bresse chicken at night in our flat rental. And drinking tons of vino.

    • Juliana Dever / August 26, 2015 at 10:10 am /Reply

      I LOVE Burgundy Julie! It is definitely one of my top top wine countries. The edge that Piedmont has is that it has all of those cute little towns in the middle of the vineyards as opposed to Burgundy where you stay in nearby towns and then drive out to see winemakers/vineyards during the day. It’s a small distinction, but it makes a huge difference in the evenings.

  2. Caroline L. / August 26, 2015 at 10:02 am /Reply

    We went wine-tasting in Tuscany and Santorini this summer, and I have to say it was quite embarrassing – after having lived an hour away from Napa for four years – to tell people that we’d never been to our very own wine country. But I loooooooved, loved, LOVED Tuscany especially, and it sounds like Piedmont emphasizes the very aspects of Tuscany I love the most. That pasta, the truffles… need to start saving up to make this trip happen 🙂

    • Juliana Dever / August 26, 2015 at 10:13 am /Reply

      Funny! In the US we favor Paso Robles, CA for wine country, but wow does Tuscany make some amazing wines. I do love how Piedmont is sort of the lesser-known of wine countries compared to Tuscany. I always have a soft spot for those places. 🙂

  3. Federica / August 26, 2015 at 12:20 pm /Reply

    What a sweet and warm word: wine!
    I am a big lover, and obviously a great taster!
    An Italian, I had the lucky chance to taste a lot of Italian wines.
    You got the point: Piemonte is the best region for art, culture, wine&food, landscapes.
    I think I am in love with Turin, where every corner, every building. every portico can tell you something.
    But don’t forget what Robert told you: in Italy each region can serve you different “typical” courses.
    From north to south, Veneto, Piemonte, Toscana, Marche, Puglia, Sicilia..
    Trust me, don’t stop your “wine tour” in Italy.

    • Juliana Dever / August 26, 2015 at 3:51 pm /Reply

      Grazie for your comment, Federica. It’s clear that you love wine and the regions that surround it. Trust me – I won’t ever stop my “wine tour” in Italy! Though it will be tough to not spend all of my time in Piemonte. 😉

  4. Lydia / August 26, 2015 at 2:32 pm /Reply

    If you indeed love good vine, next time you’re going to Itay, you should consider travelling a bit up North in a Region called “South Tyrol”. What a magical place. Definitely worth checking out.

    http://www.altoadigewines.com/en/home.html

    I hope you don’t mind me sharing the link.
    Thanks for sharing your travel experiences with us. Very appreciated.

    • Juliana Dever / August 26, 2015 at 3:53 pm /Reply

      Thank you Lydia for sharing one of your favorite wine regions. I would love to be able to visit every wine country in the world, but of course there are those that you find yourself returning to again and again.

  5. Filippo / August 28, 2015 at 5:01 am /Reply

    I loved this article and I am happy you enjoyed the “Piemonte!” region so much. Next time I come to the US I will try to smuggle some truffles then!

    Theres just one thing missing from the article. A friend of mine rightly pointed out:

    11: Nutella!

    • Juliana Dever / August 28, 2015 at 9:39 am /Reply

      Okay – MAJOR mea culpa. HOW ON EARTH did I forget Nutella was invented here??? This was pointed out while I was there and I was amazed and then I completely forgot. Thank you for reminding me of yet another reason why Piemonte is a fantastic wine region! But please, Filippo, be careful with the truffle smuggling, I don’t want to have to bail you out of jail, especially if I’ve just put the pasta in the water. 😉

  6. Angiolina / August 31, 2015 at 12:26 am /Reply

    Hi Juliana, I just want to say that I really love your blog cause I’m a travel addict like you..I’m Italian and I’m glad you love Piemonte and our country. Hugs from Naples:)

    • Juliana Dever / August 31, 2015 at 11:55 am /Reply

      Thank you Angiolina, and thanks for reading my blog! 🙂

  7. Suzanne Hoffman / September 3, 2015 at 5:48 am /Reply

    Very helpful, informative post, Julianna, particularly for the uninitiated. Nearly impossible to distill this diverse region that stretches way beyond the Roero, Langhe and Monferrato into the mountains and across the plains.

    I would say to Filippo, Nutella falls under “food.” It’s a great product, it helped breathe economic strength into the Langhe, but given its raw material – hazelnuts – is not separately mentioned, you’re just fine if you just slip it into “Food.” Sadly, the Turks are growing hazelnuts out of the wazoo – far inferior to the Langhe’s precious nut – and Ferrero has looked there for its crucial raw material. Last year, however, there was some sort of blight – still trying to get info on that – in Turkey, so Ferrero had to look closer to home for nuts. That sent the local price through the roof. I’m happy for the producers because most (dare I say “all”) are small farmers who also produce wine.

    Needless to say, in my opinion, you saved the absolute best for last. ?The Piemontesi are what make all the rest of it so special. I am so partial to the wine families, their rich history, tenacity and bright future.

    Keep up the great writing! In all of your travels, sneak across the northern border of Piemonte into Valais in Switzerland for another wonderful under discovered wine region.

    • Juliana Dever / September 3, 2015 at 7:37 am /Reply

      Thanks for the comment, Suzanne. Yes, the Piemontesi are so lovely and welcoming, it made a great trip even better! I definitely will continue to explore wine regions, thanks for the tip about Valais – under discovered regions are my favorite!

  8. Katie @ Domestiphobia / September 16, 2015 at 10:40 am /Reply

    I am SO ANGRY I didn’t get anything with truffles when I was in Tuscany last October. It was the season, but apparently I wasn’t in the right region! Or maybe I wasn’t in the right part of the region I was in. Whatever. Now I have to wipe the drool off of my keyboard.

    • Juliana Dever / September 16, 2015 at 5:24 pm /Reply

      Sorry about your keyboard, Katie, but next time you HAVE to go to Piemonte. They are LOUSY with truffles. They’re everywhere and the locals put them on everything, even dessert. But that eggy-tajarin pasta…WHAT?!? Dear god I still dream about it.

  9. KatrianaM / September 16, 2015 at 7:31 pm /Reply

    TRUFFLES! Hehe sorry. Had to get that out. Unfortunately the closest I’ve come to tasting truffles is the new Lays Truffle Fries chip flavor, even those are good. Yumm.

    @ KatrianaM

    • Juliana Dever / September 19, 2015 at 1:53 pm /Reply

      Haha Katriana! Well if you like the potato chips you will LOVE the real thing. Let me know when you try them! 🙂

  10. Lucia / October 1, 2015 at 1:38 am /Reply

    Truffles and Nebbiolo, what a perfect combination!
    Piedmont is a lovely region, full of nice small towns, delicious food and amazing wine.
    As an Italian wine lover myself, I would definitely recommend a trip to Verona, Amarone is such a great wine, sip it while eating Amarone Risotto, you can thank me later!
    Another surprisingly good wine is Sforzato from Valtellina, made with Chiavennasca (Nebbiolo) grapes.
    If you ever want a free wine tour of Italy just contact me, I’ll be happy to show you around.

    • Juliana Dever / October 1, 2015 at 9:53 am /Reply

      Sounds like some great wine recommendations! Thanks Lucia

  11. Elisa / October 2, 2015 at 3:31 am /Reply

    Everything in Italy is just wonderful.
    I love people, food and landscapes.
    I wish I could go more often
    Best regards from Argentina
    Elisa

  12. Edna / October 6, 2015 at 2:12 am /Reply

    Ugh those truffles! Seriously? Coincidentally, around this time two years ago I was living in Italy and about to head to Alba for the annual Piedmont Truffle Festival (we even found an airbnb in a castle!)…when I got called away on a last-minute business trip. My friends still went without me and told me there was even a street fair in Piedmont with kids fishing for bottles of wine! And now, after reading this, I’m more determined than ever to get to that truffle heaven!

  13. Mary / June 6, 2016 at 10:16 pm /Reply

    Georgia is one of wine countries. East side of Georgia is mother of wine. There is wine tunnel in Kakheti. And so many bottles of wine . You can drink what kind of wine you want

    • Juliana Dever / July 6, 2016 at 11:57 am /Reply

      Georgia also cooks up some of my favorite cuisine! I’m hoping to visit this year, stay tuned.

  14. Marissa / August 3, 2016 at 4:27 pm /Reply

    Wonderful post! My husband and I will be traveling to Piedmont this September for our anniversary– do you have a recommendation for what wineries to visit?

    Thank you so much!

    • Juliana Dever / August 3, 2016 at 7:11 pm /Reply

      Thank you Marissa! I honestly recommend going with the tour guide we used (http://www.travellanghe.com), and here’s why: Robert and his wife Leslie have lived in the region for so long that they have the inside track on which winemakers allow guests to come and taste. They also speak the language and are super fun and have been in the wine industry for a long time. You get a great wine education while you taste! Piedmont is not the same as the US where one can simply drive up and taste. So many of them are closed to the public. Which is not to say that all of them are, you could drive around and look out for signs advertising wine tasting.

      Another option is to go to the Enoteca in Barolo and sit and sip various wines there. At the very least, email Robert and ask him, he’s super knowledgable about the region and can point you in the right direction.

  15. Heather Nicole Victorson / August 9, 2016 at 1:21 am /Reply

    Where would you recommend staying in Piedmont? What was the name of the hotel in Nieve? I will be with my family celebrating my 40th birthday. I work at an NGO in East Africa and wanted a wine and food celebration in Italy. After I am meeting friends in Portugal. Have you travelled there? We are doing Tuscany and Piedmont in Italy.

    • Juliana Dever / August 9, 2016 at 2:44 pm /Reply

      1000 times yes, Heather! Stay in Piedmont! If you look towards the bottom of my post you’ll see a box with “stay” and “do” on the left side. Click on those links and you will get exact info on the hotel that I recommend (Borgo Vecchio), along with more info. Splurge and get the room with the balcony that overlooks the the rolling hills of the area, each with a wine village at the top. It’s dreamy. Plus you can walk around to different restaurants for dinner – no car necessary to go out at night. Which means more wine (yay)!

  16. Michele / February 20, 2018 at 6:40 pm /Reply

    We are planning a trip, to Piedmont, in the Spring. I was planning to stay in Turin and Alba. I see you recommend staying in Neive. Do you really think it is better than staying in Alba? Could you give me some pros and cons? We have been to Napa, Sonoma and Loire Valley, and I am very excited about going to Piedmont. I have been told it is the best wine region, in Italy. I am hoping we can book a tour, with Travel Langhe!

    • Juliana Dever / February 20, 2018 at 7:25 pm /Reply

      Hi Michele! You know, I did not go over to Alba (though I’d love to because truffles), so I can’t compare the two. But I dearly loved Neive because A) there were several great restaurants in walking distance with beautiful vineyard valley views, B) you could stay in a hotel that overlooked the entire region, and C) it was utterly charming. Check out Travel Langhe’s site – he’s got several links to lodging recommendations in all the towns. Robert’s also a great person to ask about Neive vs. Alba since he knows the area so well.

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