Italy’s Alto Piemonte might be the nation’s hottest Nebbiolo producing region, creating wines that rival the top crus of the Langhe hills, according to a leading Barolo producer. Its high altitudes and clay soils offer winemakers the opportunity to create Italian wines of extremely high quality.
Speaking to The Drinks Business, Oscar Arrivabene, chief winemaker at Domenico Clerico wine estate, said, “Alto Piemonte is on fire at the moment, as more and more investors regard the zone as a key future terroir for Nebbiolo. I’m not 100% certain whether we’ll decide to invest in Alto Piemonte, but the potential there is undoubtedly enormous.”
Arrivabene added that growers who are “mindful of climate change” are on the lookout for cooler terroirs, and Alto Piemonte fits the bill.
“Alto Piemonte offers high altitude vineyards, clay soils and significant diurnal temperature variation – an attractive package in the 21st century,” said Arrivabene. “The soils and climate naturally give high acidity in the wines, something which is obviously desirable in the context of global warming. When you taste its best wines, you can instantly see the amazing potential for quality.”
The Alto Piemonte region is located about 90 miles northeast of the city of Alba, with vineyards flanking the base of the Italian Alps. During the mid-19th century, the region flourished as a center of Piemontese wine production. However, the arrival of phylloxera in the late 1800s decimated the area’s vines.
Over the past decade, Alto Piedmonte has caught the eye of legendary winemakers like Angelo Negro and Roberto Conterno, owner of Barolo label Giacomo Conterno.
There are more than six distinct appellations in the wider Alto Piemonte region, including two DOCG sub-zones: Ghemme and Gattinara. The latter is reported to produce the most structured and long-lived Nebbiolo wines in the area.
In March, Villa Mangiacane, a hidden masterpiece in the heart of Tuscany designed by Michelangelo, announced it is set to begin producing a new organic Super Tuscan wine.