LIQUOR / Vermentino
Jammed in the far northwest of Italy and rarely part of the average tourist's holiday plan, Piemonte is arguably the country's best-kept secret. Offering some of the world's most beautiful scenery (when the fog clears) along with Italy's best cuisine as well as playing host to some of the world's greatest wines, Piemonte is a sensory paradise that is almost unparalleled anywhere in the world.
In wine terms too, this is Italy's 'big daddy' region housing a total of 38 DOC/DOCG zones, which include the great Nebbiolo-based wines of Barolo and Barbaresco. Apart from this it is also a region where the indigenous varieties are king and most of the great DOC/DOCG zones are based on native grapes.
The most heavily cultivated and important area from a wine point of view is in the hills outside the regional cities of Asti, Alba and Alessandria. The groupings are known as the Langhe (Alba) and Monferrato (Asti) hills and it is the thousands of individual microclimates that they create that provide the unique growing conditions for the capricious Nebbiolo, and its less noble cousins Barbera and Dolcetto. Alongside the more fancied and famous regions of Barolo and Barbaresco, look out for the wines from the Roero dstrict.
Outside the reds look out for the dry whites made from Arneis and the Moscato made into a delightful sweet, gently sparkling wine; Moscato d'Asti.