It’s been a rather excellent start to the vinous year, for I have been immersing myself in the joys of all things Piemonte, the jewel of NW Italy. Indeed, this was fully enabled by four days’ tasting amidst the rolling hills of the Langhe during January (so mine was a wet one, rather than dull dry).
If you’d asked me a few years ago for a Desert Island wine region, Burgundy would have immediately tripped off my tongue. Now, I am not so convinced. Sure, I might miss the great whites of Meursault, Puligny, and Chassagne, not to mention limpid Chablis, and the lesser known bottles, such as Saint-Romain and Pernand-Vergelesses.
Yet if I plumped for Piemonte, I would have crisp, fresh Gavi di Gavi to hand; Favorita (the local name for Vermentino) for something a bit more mineral; Riesling and Nascetta to add quirkiness; and if there was a call for weight, texture and complexity, then Arneis and Traminer (called Savagnin in the Jura region of eastern France) would deliver that in spades, satisfaction guaranteed. And if ever one became wistful for a glass, or three, of Bâtard-Montrachet, one might look to purchase some of Angelo Gaja’s Rossj-Mass, one of the top Langhe Chardonnays (availability of funds permitting).