02/14/06 – Piedmont part 2 (red)

By Jesse on February 14, 2006


After last week’s enjoyable foray into the Piedmont region by way of the white grape varieties, this week promises to be just as delicious.  By the way, really good job to everyone last week finding the often-obscure Piedmont whites.  Well done.  The reds should be even easier.  I just picked up my bottle, a Barolo from a store that didn’t have any Piedmont whites at all.  So if you head to BevMo, Vendome, or any other large store, you should have a decent selection.

Here’s the same quick overview for those (Don, et al) who didn’t read last week’s e-mail.  Despite its size, Italy — not France, not Australia, and not the US, but Italy — is the world’s number one producer of wine.  According to the Wine Bible, over 900,000 registered vineyards are scattered throughout Italy’s twenty regions.  From these regions come a dizzying number of wines (no one knows precisely how many) based on more than a thousand documented grape varieties, many of which are simple quaffing wines exclusively consumed in the village in which they’re produced.  Piedmont is Italy’s highest-producing wine region and is the first that we’ll examine.  The region is best known for its seminal red grape, Nebbiolo, which produces the famous Barolo and Barbaresco red wines.  Other important grapes include Barbera and Dolcetto, which make wines of the same names.  Two more grapes, Bonarda and Vespolina, are blended with Nebbiolo to make the wines called Gattinara and Ghemme.

Pick out a red Piedmont at your local wine shop and bring it to Wednesday’s meeting.  For those who are confused as to what to look for on the label…. should it say “Piedmont,” the name of the region?  It might, but don’t count on it.  Maybe somewhere on the back, if you’re unsure.  Should it say the grape name, such as Nebbiolo or Bonarda?  Probably not, unless it’s made specially for export to America, where we like that kind of thing.  Instead, look for the names of the wines.  Specifically, there are six main possibilities:


Find a bottle in the “Piedmont” section with any of those words on the label, and you should be set.

We have a new location this week, and it’s an awesome one: Daryn’s grandparents have kindly offered up their Sherman Oaks condo for the meeting.  We’ll make an exception to the 25-and-under rule JUST this once.  The address is (oh no you don’t).  Can’t wait to see you all with your bottles of red Piedmont, Wednesday night at 9:00.