In Piedmont, there is a very famous territory rich in tradition: the Langhe.
The Langhe, located in the lower Piedmont area, between the towns of Cuneo and Asti: the territory is rich in hills, vineyards, valleys and woods and offers excellent food and wine such as the renowned White Truffle of Alba and the prized Barolo wine.
The region has other wines, including Dolcetto, Barbera and Nebbiolo, the variety from which the famous Barolo wine is made.
Origin of Barolo
We can define Barolo as the Piedmontese wine par excellence. The history of Barolo is very old and began 2500 years ago when the first vineyards were planted. During the Middle Ages, however, we have the first mention of Nebbiolo grapes and their cultivation, while in 1751 some Piedmontese diplomats began to introduce Barol, the forerunner of the modern Barolo.
It was in 1830 that the first production of our wine, now known throughout the world, was made, thanks to Camillo Benso di Cavour, the winemaker Louis Oudart and the Marchesi Falletti. The latter bought land in Alba and, with the help of Oudart and the Earl of Cavour, and with the aid of famous techniques already used for French wines, they began the first experiments. This is how Barolo was created, a wine of such high quality that it immediately won over even the palate of Charles Albert of Savoy.
As we have already mentioned, Barolo is only produced in the Langhe, in particular in 11 municipalities just south of Alba, and the grapes used are exclusively Nebbiolo.
More than just in the glass: Barolo salami
A delicious Piedmontese specialty associated with this wine is Barolo salami.
It is a raw salami made from the finest cuts of pork, using only Italian meat, and flavored with Barolo wine and spices. The meat is then left to rest and soak before being stuffed into a natural casing. After being hand-tied, it is slowly matured in temperature and humidity-controlled cells. The attention to every detail in all phases of production gives an unmistakable aroma and flavor that make this salami a truly delicious specialty.
When cut, it has a coarse grain and is excellent accompanied by good homemade bread.
The grape harvest in Piedmont
Harvesting in Piedmont takes place towards the end of summer when the vineyards have the ripest wine grapes. It starts between the end of August and the beginning of September with the more precocious varieties and ends with the Nebbiolo at the beginning of October. It is very important to emphasize that each harvest will never be the same, each year has its own unique and unrepeatable characteristic: everything depends on Mother Nature. Even if they are always the same vineyards, every year, the flavors and scents will be different.
Many years ago, as tradition would have it, the harvesting of the grapes was done by hand, as was the crushing of the berries, which were placed inside the basin and then “crushed” with bare feet. Today, of course, technology has made great strides both in the harvest and in the cellar, but tradition is fundamental to these wines and the grapes are still harvested by hand in the vineyard.
Harvesting is not only the production of wine. The grape harvest is above all tradition. It is almost a festival and, even today, laughter and traditional harvest songs resound in the fields. A trip to a vineyard with a wine-tasting session is definitely the best way to enjoy Italian wine culture.