With borders to the west with France and with Switzerland in the north, Piemonte occupies the north-west corner of the Italian peninsular. The region is divided into nine provinces, under the regional capital Torino (Turin). The Alps to the north are the source of the numerous rivers which cross the region. Their influence on the predominantly continental climate is a key factor for the flourishing agriculture of this modern region, rich in history. The Piemontese are noted for tenacity, hard work and courtesy.
The wines of the region are among the undisputed Greats of Italy. This is the one region which every real wine lover has to know. The most important feature of winegrowing in Piemonte is that the region's vineyard areas are located exclusively on hillside sites. Soils also play a crucial role, but perhaps most important of all is a range of local grape varieties of outstanding personality. Red wines predominate, from the young, fresh Dolcetto of the Langhe through the tangy, full bodied Barbera of the Monferrato to the austere nobility of the Nebbiolo wines of Alba.
There is a long tradition of barrel ageing in the region, of which Barolo and Barbaresco are the classic examples. The most important white varietals are the sweet, aromatic Moscato which is often seen as a sparkling wine, the splendidly dry Cortese from the Gavi area and the rare Arneis of the Roero.
The total production amounts to almost 4 million hectolitres, of which a particularly high percentage has DOC or DOCG status. The total vineyard area is around 90,000 hectares. Piemonte, like the rest of Italy, is going through a period of radical change. Tradition and innovation combine in the region, bringing for example the successful integration of new varieties like Cabernet and Chardonnay, new approaches to vineyard management and above all new techniques of vinification.
The use of barriques is the much discussed theme of the moment. What emerges from this fascinating debate is that in Piemonte, as in other parts of the country, there is an undeniable trend towards more international tastes and the production of softer wines with more fruit and greater complexity than those of the past. Vias's policy of quality selection has found a rich source of supply in this aristocratic region which enables the company to offer a range of exciting, limited production wines including those of leading producers celebrated in the media and known throughout the USA.