Piedmont: a gem in the north

January 25, 2018

Today our journey through Italy takes us from the sunny Sicily (here the article, in case you missed it) to the northern Piedmont, a borderland between two worlds: the Mediterranean in the south and the Continental in the north.

 

Piedmont (literally at the foot of the mountains), located in the northwest of Italy, has always been the “gate” to the Peninsula: Romans, Germans, Saracens, until the Savoy…numerous people walked this land and made their mark.

Surrounded by the mountains, here the air is crisp and fresh all over the year, it brings the smell of the wine cellars, mixed with that of earth and its fruits that gently fill your nose.

 

Why this land, lying on the left corner of Italy, is so famous worldwide?

Piedmont is one of the richest region, with its large valleys, small villages and medieval castles, it is known for being the producer of outstanding wines like Barolo and Barbaresco, and for other excellent fruits such as truffles, hazelnuts, marrons and fine meats & cheeses.

 

Langhe, an elegant land and cultural heritage 

 

We can’t talk about Piedmont without mentioning the Langhe: the flourishing green hills that in 2014 were recognized by UNESCO as a World heritage.

Their name in piedmontese dialect means hills (yeah maybe a bit obvious), and they are divided in three main areas (high, medium and low), made up of 120 municipalities.

 

For the first time, UNESCO declared an Italian wine-producing landscape to be a unique asset in the world, a treasure for its rural and cultural singularity. The great example of the continuous interaction between man and nature that carries an ancient wine tradition. This step has been fundamental to affirm the cultural value of Italian agriculture.

 

When you visit Langhe for the first time and go into talking about wine, terroir, plots and divisions, you get amazed (and very often confused) by how this territory is fractionated and has several different and singular characteristics, even within few hundred meters.

 

Meet Ceretto

 

Here the Ceretto family, driven by the philosophy of the land and its preservation, for more than 100 years has been cultivating and researching, in order to make the most of this unique territory and translate its essence in every bottle.

Especially since the 60s, when Bruno and Marcello, the second generation, began to support their father Riccardo in the company he founded years before in Alba.

They had brand-new intuition: select and buy wines in the historically most valid positions and vinify the grapes individually, real revolution back when the concept of Cru was completely unknown. That was the turning point for their success.

Today, Ceretto owns more than 160 hectares located in the best areas of the Langhe and Roero, including the DOCG Barolo and Barbaresco.

 

Two wines, one grape (you should read)

 

After all of this talking about curious divisions and names, let’s talk about these wines and their origin... Did you know that, even if they develop very differently, they come from the same grape variety? (gasp) Exactly!

 

Both wines are made from pure Nebbiolo grapes, in the heart of these hills but in two different areas: divided by the Tanaro river, on the right bank there is Barbaresco, consisting of 3 municipalities (Barbaresco, Neive, Treiso, plus a small fraction of S Roco); on the left bank you find the 11 municipalities that form one of the most expensive wine areas in the world: Barolo, la Morra, Castiglione Falletto, Serralunga, Monforte, Novello, Cherasco, Verduno, Grinzane Cavour, Diano d'Alba and Roddi.

 

 

Clearly, the geological and microclimatic conformations of the different areas give these wines particular nuances, which overlap with the strong and tannic texture.

 

So, same grape variety, different areas…that’s it? Nope… keep reading!

The soil, main source of life for the vine, has different compositions:

Barolo has a clay based soil, mostly marl calcareous in the western part, it shows also pieces of lequio in the eastern part, that gives more decisive wines with very evident tannins and with great evolutionary potential. Rich in lime, it adds higher PH (alkaline) to the soil, which amusing enough, makes the vines produce wine with lower PH (acid). And acidity is a key factor when it comes to high-quality wines.

Barbaresco has a sandier composition rather than clay one, thanks to its proximity to the Tanaro.

 

 Anything else? 

Different rules: Barolo has a minimum aging period of 38 months, including 18 in wood; Barolo Riserva, must age 62 months, including 18 in wood.

Barbaresco has to age 26 months, including 9 in wood; Barbaresco Riserva requires an aging period of 50 months, of which 9 are made of wood. 

 

Not only vines ...

 

Ceretto family is known in the gourmet world also for other projects that reflect the uniqueness of the primary products of their territory:

 

Relanghe, the best hazelnuts in the world

Founded in 1994, Ceretto wanted to make known worldwide also other prestigious products than wine. The cultivation of hazelnut groves (80 hectares) carries on a sustainable supply chain based on organic agriculture, expressly attentive to the protection of the soil and the respect for nature, preferring excellence and quality over volume.

 

Piazza Duomo, three stars Michelin restaurant

In 2005, the family together with the Chef Enrico Crippa opened the restaurant that received the first star Michelin in 2006, the second in 2009 and the third in 2012. The creative genius Enrico knows how to maximise the products of this land while making outstanding fine cuisine.

 

Patrons of art

A deep interest and passion for art and architecture led Ceretto family to build numerous art pieces in their Estates. Looking up from one hill to another, you can see all around dotted by big modern architectural buildings, representing the essence and heart of each Estate and being icons for the territory and a nice stop for tourist.

 

 For more visit ---> www.ceretto.com 

 

 

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