In the local dialect of old rural Piedmont the word "beni", meaning "property, assets", has always been used with a slightly different meaning, denoting not only the farming land belonging to large landowners, but also small-holdings: "andè' nti beni" means going out into the fields or the vineyards to work or to give instruction. Nourishment comes from the land - the asset par excellence - and the soul of the farmer, who
identifies himself with his property, is inextricably tied to the land.
The "Beni di Batasiolo", the amphitheatre of vineyards surrounding Batasiolo's cellars, was the original setting for their company. Over the years other farms - other "properties" - have been added to this nucleus, and now the estate covers nearly one hundred hectares of vineyards, making it one of the largest farming concerns in the Langhe.
Learn More About Nebbiolo
The King of Piedmont
Nebbiolo is the key grape in the wines of Barolo and Barbaresco. It is not the
most planted variety, but it does make the most distinctive and age-worthy wines. Native to
Nebbiolo is a bit of a soil snob - it's finicky about where it grows and has
long been the honored red grape of Northern Italy, partly due to its lack of success
elsewhere. Barolo and Barbaresco are the most well known DOCG, but two others, Ghemme and Gattinara, are unsung stars of Piedmont, making top notch Nebbiolo.
The descriptors "tar and roses" are often used to describe wine made from Nebbiolo. An odd
combination perhaps, but accurate. Wine made from this grape can seem overly tannic
and acidic when young, but as velvety as rose petals when mature. It's a grape
with the toughness of tar and earth, yet with a soft, floral character keeping
it balanced. Many winemakers create approachable-while-young wines
from Nebbiolo, like Nebbiolo d'Alba. These affordable representations of Nebbiolo
can be quite delicious and give the drinker a preview of the intricacies and
complexity that a mature Barolo/Barbaresco can provide.
Summing it up
Successful Sites: Piedmont and other Northern Italy
Tar, roses, violets, blackberry, wild cherry, truffles
Learn More About Piedmont, Italy
Piedmont is located in the Northwest area of Italy, hugging the Mediterranean coast. The regional capital, Turin, is situated smack in the middle of the province. Being close to the alps, the area enjoys a high altitude, with the best vineyards benefiting from the hills and elevation. Known for its famous sub-districts, Piedmont delivers some of the most distinctive, high-quality, ageable wine of Italy. Most popular are the DOCG districts Barolo and Barbaresco, producing Nebbiolo-based wine of the same name. Two other DOCGs of note are Gattinara and Gheme – both make wine from Nebbiolo and are typically earlier to drink but more rustic than their Barolo and Barberesco partners. City-districts in the DOC category include Alba and Asti, where wine like Dolcetto d'Alba and Barbera d'Asti is made, putting the grape name before the town.
Not just regulated to red wine, Piedmont also produces some notable whites, particularly those near the district of Gavi and Asti. Gavi produces still white wine from the Cortese grape. The wine is dry with a crisp, citrus-like acidity – fairly neutral but pleasant. Arneis is another grape/wine made in the area, creating a fuller wine that displays some nuttiness in the aroma and taste. Asti is well known for its sparkling wine – in particular Asti Spumante and Moscato d'Asti. Asti Spumante is typically higher in alcohol, sweetness & fizziness, while its higher-class cousin, Mostcato d'Asti, contains lower alcohol levels, a few less bubbles, and a more restrained and delicate representation of Moscato fruit.