Monday, January 26, 2009

Announcing WBW 54: A Passion for Piedmont

Tuscany may get all the attention when it comes to dreaming of idyllic vacations in the Italian countryside, while Rome, Florence, Venice and Milan usually top the list of destinations for the city traveler. Of all the spots in Italy I’ve visited, though, the region that most strongly beckons my return is Piedmont.

With that in mind, it’s my pleasure to announce that I’ll be hosting the next edition of Wine Blogging Wednesday. Our theme for the February session will be “A Passion for Piedmont” (a title I’ve borrowed with all due respect from wine writer Matt Kramer’s Piedmontese cookbook).

For any who don’t know it, Piedmont is situated in the northwestern corner of Italy. Nestled in the shadow of the Alps, Piedmont is close enough to the French border that there’s a hint (a scant hint) of French/Italian cultural interchange. While it’s close enough to the Mediterranean that on a clear day you can catch a faint view of the sea from atop the region’s highest hillsides, Piedmont is entirely landlocked. Many in Piedmont still speak the local Piedmontese dialect, quite different from classic Italian. And while the cultural tone of the region is sometimes thought of as cool and reserved in comparison to the warm, garrulous nature of southern Italy, I’ve found the Piedmontese people to be incredibly welcoming and forthcoming. You just have to take a little time to get to know them.

The same thing can be said of the region’s wines. They don’t tend to be as forward and immediately open as the wines of southern Italy. But there’s incredible depth and diversity to the region’s viticultural range, a range that’s well worth the time it takes to explore and understand.


While there are some fine white wines made in the region – from Gavi di Gavi to Roero Arneis to Moscato d’Asti – there’s no denying that Piedmont is red wine country. The Nebbiolo-based wines of Barolo and Barbaresco may steal the thunder. But it’s the wines made from Piedmont’s other two primary varieties – Barbera and Dolcetto – that appear most often on the Piedmontese table. Less common regional specialties like Freisa, Grignolino and Brachetto add local color and help to make Piedmont one of Italy’s most diverse wine zones.

There’s geographical diversity to spare as well. Barolo and Barbaresco again may take center stage, as the show pieces of the Langhe, the wine zone focused around the city of Alba. But there are lovely expressions of Barbera to be found around Asti and in the Monferrato hills. Dolcetto is the lifeblood in Dogliani, just to the south of Barolo. And a good stretch further to the northeast, in the Alto Piemonte, Nebbiolo again exerts its nobility in zones such as Gattinara, Ghemme and Lessona.

Your assignment, should you choose to accept it, is simple. Pick a wine, any wine, from Piedmont, taste it, consider it, jot down a few notes and then write up your impressions of the wine. Your piece can be as simple or as detailed as you see fit – in either case, I encourage you to explore and enjoy.

If you don’t have your own blog, you’re still more than welcome to participate. Just leave your write-up as a comment to this posting. Or you can e-mail your review to me – davidmcduff (at) verizon dot net – and I’ll post it for you. Most of the bloggers out there should already know the routine; just post a piece on your own blog and send a link to your posting to me, either via e-mail or using the comment field below.

Wine Blogging Wednesday, by the way, is a monthly event, started over four years ago by Lenn Thompson at LennDevours. Participants select a wine based on a chosen theme and then write about their experiences.

Reports for this 54th edition of Wine Blogging Wednesday are due on Wednesday, February 18, 2009. I’ll post a summary of everyone’s contributions the following weekend. In the meanwhile, get shopping. And stay tuned here, as I’ll post reminders – and maybe even a bonus point challenge or two – over the next few weeks.

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Addendum:

21 comments:

Wicker Parker said...

Great theme! I haven't done WBW for a spell now, but I'm not going to miss this one. As for the bonus challenge: bring it!

saignee said...

I suppose I'm in. One of my resolutions thiw year was to drink more Italian...

Enobytes said...

Looking forward to participating!

Edward said...

David,

I've just spent the last few minutes looking in my cellar for a suitable bottle. Count me in.

snekse said...

Cool. It's been awhile since I've done a WBW, but I'm looking forward to this one. Thanks for the great theme.

Joe said...

crap - I have been purposely ignoring WBW, but if you are hosting I HAVE to participate.

Tim said...

I can't wait. I love wines from Piedmont and I don't enjoy them often enough. Great theme!

David McDuff said...

Glad to be of service, all... especially to those of you whose arms I seem to have twisted. Looking forward to reading your reports and checking out what everybody decides to try.

Matt - mmWine said...

Here's my entry for this installment of Wine Blogging Wednesday:

http://agoodtimewithwine.com/2009/02/18/wbw54-passion-for-piedmont/

Thanks for the great theme!
Matt
mmwine on twitter

Tim said...

Hi David - This is a great theme, and thanks for hosting. Here is my contribution.

http://cheapwineratings.com/2009/02/18/a-passion-for-piedmont-wines/

Jim said...

Made it in time after all!

http://www.jimeastman.com/?p=931

Robbin Gheesling said...

The sweet side of Piedmont for WBW #54 on The Tawny Times:

http://tawnytimes.com/2009/02/18/piedmont/

jason said...

Enjoyed the theme and looking forward to the round up. Here is my submission: Piedmont from the Bargain Bin

Jeff (Good Grape) said...

David,

Here is my post for WBW -

http://goodgrape.com/index.php/articles/comments/wine_blogging_wednesday_54_a_passion_for_piedmont/

Jeff
www.goodgrape.com

1WineDude said...

My contribution comin' atcha!

http://1winedude.com/index.php/2009/02/18/little-sweet-one-tales-of-the-purple-monkey-returns-for-wbw-54/

Michelle said...

Honestly, I've got a part 2 coming, but time is working against me. Here's part 1: http://www.wine-girl.net/2009/02/a-passion-for-piedmont-part-1-recession-wine.html

There will be a Gavi up there later tonite.

Michelle said...

As promised, A Passion for Piedmont part 2: Gavi
http://www.wine-girl.net/2009/02/a-passion-for-piedmont-part-2-gavia.html

Sorry for the belatedness. I think it's not Friday yet though ...

Julien Marchand said...

Hi!

I'm late, and my post is still in French (translation is on the way), but I want to propose notes on 4 wines by Michele Chiarlo, which I had a lot of fun to taste recently...!

http://www.julienmarchand.com/2009/02/20/a-la-decouverte-du-piedmont/

Joe said...

here are my "late" notes: http://joeswine.blogspot.com/2009/02/wbw-54-pio-cesare-white-and-red.html

can't wait for the bonus. Cheers!

Mairead said...

I'm really, really late. Sorry. But my blog entry explains why:

http://filluponbread.blogspot.com/2009/02/wbw-54-passion-for-piedmont.html

Buy a bottle of Victorian wine from Australia to support the local wineries who have been affected by the bushfires - the whole industry has been deeply affected.

Nathan Davis said...

Matt Kramer is an expert in wine as well as food. His dicussions on the outstanding wines of the Piedmont--barlo and barbaresco--alone are worth the price of the book. The recipes are well written and easy to follow. The cuisine of the Piedmont is an interesting cross between Italian and French styles. My favorite is sformato parmaseano, a fantastic cheese flan. Good reading!I like to drink wine with my Cuban Cigars.

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