Piedmont white wines aren’t the best known wines of the region – that accolade goes to Barolo – but if you know what to look for, there are some excellent wines worth trying.
From local specialities such as Arneis, Cortese and Timorasso to the ubiquitous Chardonnay, there’s enough variety on tap to keep wine lovers busy for more than a short while.
Piedmont white wine varieties to try
This is by no means an exhaustive list, but covers some of the most common white varieties grown in Piedmont.
Arneis can be floral, nutty or mineral – or a combination of all three. Its home is in the hills of Roero, northwest of Alba on the left bank of the Tanaro river. Arneis wines tend to have crisp acidity and medium body, making them a great match for many different types of food.
Cortese produces its best wines in the small DOCG of Gavi, to the south of Alessandria. This area is comprised of 11 communes, and only grapes grown in the commune of Gavi itself can use the title ‘Gavi di Gavi’ on the label. The wines are known for being fruity and floral, sometimes with a bitter grapefruit or almond note, and occasionally a honey or honeydew melon character.
Favorita is the local name for Vermentino. Floral and mineral, it is a fresh white full of juicy flavours.
Chardonnay in Piedmont showcases its higher acidity, mineral alter ego – closer to Puligny or Premier-Cru Chablis in style than the more tropical-fruited Mâconnais.
With high acidity and plenty of weight, this rare indigenous white variety is suprisingly ageable. It can feature a complex array of flavours, from hazelnut and quince to pear, beeswax and wet stone.
Piedmont even produces some delicious traditional-method sparkling wines, so we have picked one out below for good measure! Piedmont’s traditional-method sparkling wines from the Alta Langa DOCG, in the hills to the east of Alba, are based on either Chardonnay or Pinot Noir. The altitude ensures many of these wines have plenty of vivacity.