The best Piedmontese white wines: the ranking of the best bottles to uncork
Which are the best, most excellent, typical Piedmontese white wines that manage to represent a complex and multifaceted terroir like the Piedmontese one?
An exciting and certainly underestimated topic, given that the commercial arrogance of red wines in Piedmont is overwhelming.
This does not mean that Piedmontese white wine does not suffer from an inferiority complex, quite the opposite. It’s just that white wines are not very well known: think of some masterpieces such as Timorasso, which is still, today, guilty snubbed and little valued, although it is one of the most intriguing, long-lived, and expressive Italian white wines there is.
But let’s get straight to the point: which are the best Piedmontese white wines divided by type?
More than the usual self-referential ranking of the best 147 wines to drink before you die, we want to give you a glimpse of the Piedmontese territory. This splendid region offers a range of commendable and particularly territorial.
In this sense, few regions can boast such a close attachment to their indigenous vines, with real dynasties linked to single pieces of land dedicated to conserving incredible natives.
Moscato is from Monferrato, Arneis is the king of Roero, Erbaluce dominates the alpine area of Canavese, Gavi and Timorasso dominate in southern Piedmont, Chardonnay will not be indigenous but has carved out a considerable space in many wineries.
There would also be vermouth to talk about. After all, it is always wine, fortified, but always wine, but you will find a selection of bottles on a dedicated page. Let’s not forget that dry vermouth is produced with white wine, Moscato in the best cases.
Let’s start with sparkling wines such as dry Moscato, produced in the Canelli area in Monferrato. It is a simple and spartan wine but fresh and fragrant, and it is excellent to drink as an unpretentious aperitif.
Classic method sparkling wine Alta Langa
If you prefer a more structured and mineral sparkling wine, let’s uncork a classic Alta Langa method. This wine closely follows both the disciplinary and the production method of Champagne, the father of all sparkling wines.
The classic Alta Langa method is undoubtedly a wine on the rise. Thanks to a meticulous production and a deliberately contained hectare park, it manages to give good results and sharp wines.
The handle of the Piedmontese winemakers then does the rest, and if it is true that there are no marls full of fossils from Champagne, the capacity more than compensates.
The bottles to try are the classic method sparkling wine Alta Langa Brut by Enrico Serafino, excellent for freshness, finesse, and affordable price. The Cuvée Leonora Rosé Alta Langa is a super juicy Sparkling classic method.
The Spumante Metodo Classico Extra Brut Bruno Giacosa is also excellent for its gracefulness and price: it is not in the consortium, but its sparkling wine is a jewel.
Erbaluce di Caluso
A growing vine, elegant and potentially excellent, but still too confined to a niche that is too narrow, almost intimate.
Some wines are supernovas with a sidereal taste. Others seem too rude. The quality fluctuates, but undoubtedly the reality of Erbaluce di Caluso is the most exciting and exciting, characterized by a small constellation of small family-run wineries full of surprises.
The sweet wines are pure nectar, the Erbaluce dry poems carved in the rock. Over the years, it has developed a unique tertiary position, but a lot of work is still needed. Very flexible then as a grape, there is the passito version, the sparkling Erbaluce, and the dry.
The best wineries are the Ilaria Salvetti winery with a delicious passito and excellent classic method, the Cieck winery by Remo Falconieri, and the Favaro winery, a real lighthouse with Erbaluce Le Chiusure. The Erbaluce (not pure) Bianco de Le Piane Boca is also very savory and tasty, even if it is an IGT.
Gavi and Cortese DOC and non DOC
The Gavi is the DOGC reference point of southern Piedmont and finds its epicenter in the city of Gavi. Small note: we use the words Gavi (city and wine) and Cortese (the vine with which it is made) indiscriminately: there are few Cortese outside the Gavi area of influence, the Bianco di Custoza from Veneto, but we are not interested in the moment.
Although the Cortese grape has been known since the 1600s and has experienced moments of glory in the past decades, only today it’s gaining identity and credibility.
The wineries are varied, and you will hardly drink badly because the average quality is discreet and organoleptically is a wine with elegance and personality to make it stand out from the crowd.
The best Cortese di Gavi come from the La Raia winery with the dazzling Pisè, followed by all the others with clean and precise wines: La Giustiniana, Morgassi Superiore, Nicol Bergaglio.
Tenuta Grillo is outstanding; La Chiara great cleanliness and excellent prices; La Caplana is ok but not glorious; the Mesma always a fine bottle; the Dezzani Gavi is titillating, and we end up with the Giordano Lombardo winery.
All these pale compared to a wine of superior caliber, the son of prodigious care and intuition: the Cortese from the Luigi Spertino winery in Mombercelli, produced in limited quantities, with extended maceration on the skins. The other side of Cortese: an incredible explosion of perfumes. This is the potential of the Cortese.
And here we enter a mined vineyard, prey to civil wars between traditionalists and naturists of pure, naked, and artisanal wine. The narrative dynamic is always the same, but what interests us is the growth of this noble vine, which was grown only a century ago to produce table grapes. Timorasso is a wine that, when young, is salty, acidic, full-bodied, and fragrant just the right, but thanks to its structure, it can face years of aging and, over time, becomes balsamic like few other wines.
And so, it develops tertiary aromas and crazy aromatic herbs, which make it unique and intriguing. The driving force behind the rebirth of Timorasso was Walter Massa. He placed boundless trust in the hills of Monleale, identifying crus and planting vineyards at the height of 300 meters in a small unspoiled paradise. Derthona Costa del Vento and Montecitorio are two securities, harvest after harvest, but even the most straightforward wines are superb.
Many other winemakers have followed in his footsteps, and we must say that many wineries deserve a visit. The Timorasso Derthona Pitasso by Claudio Mariotto is very good and juicy.
The Derthona by Andrea Tirelli is pulpy and sharp, and the Timorasso Fausto by Vigne Marina Coppi is full and greedy.
Filari di Timorasso by Luigi Boveri is a sunny, direct, and salty wine.
The Derthona Diletto from the Davico family’s Pomodolce winery is not bad. Small note: if the Gavi costs 9-15 euros, the Timorasso is on another planet also in terms of price: from 25 to 40, be prepared to shell out for more precious bottles.
Favorita is a “minor white grape” variety in Piedmont and finds its origin and its ideal habitat in the province of Cuneo. Let’s say that outside the Langhe, it is very rare to find, apart from a few hectares in the area of Asti. Genetically and organoleptically, it is similar to Vermentino, and therefore the wines made from it are fresh and mineral, with aromas of citrus and aromatic herbs. Unfortunately, we are not in Liguria, and the influence of the sea does not reach the hills of the Langhe, so do not expect so many structured or pyrotechnic wines, but rather discreet everyday wines.
Arneis: the king of white Roero
To the left of the Tanaro river, the natural border between Roero and Langhe begins the domination of the Arneis vine, the protagonist of the DOCG Roero Bianco.
This vine has been a Piedmontese heritage since 1600, even if it has been the victim of sweet or very coarse vinifications in the past.
It has been reborn in the last 20 years, almost like all Piedmontese white wines, and now we begin to enjoy well-made, clean, fresh wines with zappy aromas of citrus and licorice and a medium but dynamic structure.
It is not a champion of structure, but it has charm and personality.
There are no unforgettable bottles of Arneis to leave in the cellar for 20 years. Still, among the most exciting wines, we mention Giovanni Almondo’s Arneis Bricco delle Ciliegie, Negre Lorenzo’s Roero Arneis, Arneis Perdaudin, and the classic method of Negro Angelo winery.
We close recommending the Roero Arneis di Correggia Mattero and the Trinità vineyard from the Malverà winery.
Let’s finish on a sweet note with a roundup of sparkling dessert wines: we will only talk about Asti Spumante because Moscato d’Asti deserves a separate page with all the details and the best bottles.
Asti spumante is a wine with modest alcohol content, between 7.5 and 9 degrees, unmistakable floral and fruity aromas, good freshness, and a light body.
Excellent for pairing with panettone, biscuits, trifle, and spoon desserts. Don’t pair it with desserts that are too fatty or sweet. It’s not like it’s a bazooka in power and structure.
Here are some of the best Asti Spumante you can find around. The velvety and titillating Bera Asti; the Asti Spumante Ca’ d’Gal is pleasant and silky. The Asti Spumante Casina Fonda is always reliable and docile.
We finish with the Asti Spumante “La Selvatica” La Caudrina very intense and clean, sharp, never bland.