La Mora - overlooking Barollo vineyards

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Piedmont's soil offers rich black cherry reds, lighter-bodied reds, and some of the most refreshing whites in both still and sparkling.  The region is amazing in both its variety and quality of wines. It is definitely one of the best regions in which to base yourself if you want to tour beautiful wine areas. Moving around in the protective inner ring created by the Alps and the Apennine mountains, wine tours can encompass many different terrains. For example perhaps start or finish your tour in Aosta, an Alpine region dominated by Monte Bianco (Mont Blanc). Here you can try some of the highest produced wines in Europe, or visit the beautiful Italian Lake area around Lago Maggiore, and then from Arona you can experience the lesser known areas of the Gattinara and Ghemme wine zones. We recommend you spend at least one day in Turin, the capital of the region. This city is famous for gourmet restaurants, fine chocolate, and of course Fiat cars. Nearby it is possible to visit the Cinzano and Martini estates, possibly Italy's most famous appertifs. If sun and sea appeal to you, then the Italian Riviera is just south of us, with famous resorts such as San Remo and Portofino, favourite haunts of the rich and famous. Of course no wine tour in Piedmont would be complete without driving and or walking through the venerable vineyards of the Langhe and Monferatto. Here you will find the increasingly sought after big ‘Bs’ of Piedmont wine, Barolo, Barbaresco and Barbera. The Langhe and the area around Alba are famous for white truffles (tartuffo bianco), Barolo and Barbaresco wines, and there are lots of famous estates to visit here. From the nearby city of Asti you can easily explore the upper and lower Monferatto, regions with the highest number of DOC wines.

picking our moscato bunches Adriano, Simona & Sorin helping to pick our Barbera bunches Ingrid & Raphael picking our barbera bunches
picking our moscato bunches
Adriano, Simona & Sorin helping to pick our barbera bunches
Ingrid & Raphael picking our barbera bunches
freshly picked moscato bunches (12 September 2006) Working in the cantina - remontage of the barbera "must" freshly picked barbera bunches (1 October 2006)
freshly picked moscato bunches (12 September 2006)
Working in the cantina - remontage of the barbera "must"
freshly picked barbera bunches (1 October 2006)

Cycling the quiet roads above Nizza Monferrato

A Selection of Astesana Wines

Astesana, the ancient land around Asti, is rich with ancient castles and fine houses. Astesana is one of the most fertile areas of the province of Asti, with over 50 closely connected towns and cities producing a third of Piedmont ’s wine. Delicious Barbera, aromatic Moscato, the splendid Brachetto and the famous Italian Spumante are all produced here. There are over 300 wineries, mostly private and some co-operative, available for tastings and purchases.

In total there are 12 DOC and DOCG wines from Astesana and when the various types and sub-denominations are factored in, there are over 47 types of wording possible on the wine labels. It is no wonder that people can get confused about what to buy. The descriptions provided in the wine page of this site will hopefully give you a guiding hand in understanding what is available. In the Astesana zone, Barbera is king and many of the best wines are from this area. It is in Asti and Monferrato that you will find wonderful Barbera bargains.

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The Astesana Wine Road

The wine road, also known as Astesana, has eight protected routes running along peaceful secondary roads with inspiring views. The names of these routes are:

Colli Astiane, Bricchi, Lauretum, Canelli and the Land of Gold, Colline del Nizza, Castles, Langa Astigiana and the Colli di Alferi. Wine tours.

The wine communes encompassed by the Castles route include Bruno and Castelnuovo Belbo which is where Vecchio Podera Santa Cristiana’s wine is made. It is a delightful route that has a particularly high number of castles and old towers. It is in fact the area with the greatest density of historic buildings in Europe. It is a reminder of the days when Piemonte was the direct route for armies marching between Italy and France , a tradition that started with Hannibal , continued with Napoleon and was finally stopped by Italian unification under the House of Savoy. For the most part the route is situated between Nizza Monferrato and Alto (high) Monferrato. The main access points are from the village of Bruno (2 miles from us); from the motorway tollgates at Alessandria South; Bazzana di Mombaruzzo from Nizza Monferrato; Calamandrana from Canelli; and Montabone from Savona . This area is also well known for its artisan production of sweets and desserts, and we recommend you try the delicious Amaretti products which are made in Mombaruzzo.

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We are happy to provide information to our guests on any of the eight wine routes mentioned. All are possible by car, many are great bike routes and some are even possible on foot. In addition we can arrange tastings and advice on cantinas, restaurants and local speciality shops.  Please contact us to discuss your requirements. Meanwhile watch this space for information on special wine events and organised tasting programmes

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Piedmont ’s wine growing history is ancient in origin with the Greeks being the first to bring quality wines to the region. From Liguria they expanded into Piemont bringing vine shoots and cuttings used to establish the first vineyards. The Romans continued to cultivate fine wines but with the fall of the Roman Empire , wine making in the region went into a period of decline. Despite the barbarian invasions, traditions did survive and the growth of the grapevine continued after the beginning of the second millennium.

Piedmontese vine growing occurs predominately in the two large areas known as the Lange and Monferrato. The Langhe is a region full of splendid, hills, bound by the Tanaro and Bormida valleys, and the Ligurian Alps. The hills, which geographically speaking make up an extension of the Northern Apennines into Western Padania , slope down from an altitude of 700-800 metres. Production of some of the most famous wines takes place in this region. These include not only Barolo and Barbaresco, but also Moscato d'Asti, Nebbiolo, Barbera and Dolcetto.

LATEST NEWS..Piano Piano II was bottled late July and is available to order from 1 September

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The Monferrato vine growing area is sub-divided into two distinct areas. Geographically the Villafranca d'Asti valley, the Borbore stream and the lower part of the Tanaro valley divide the northern Lower Monferrato from the Upper Monferrato . Upper Monferrato, differing from the usual geographical use of the terms "upper" and "lower," is the southern part, and has lower altitudes [average of 350 meters] in comparison to the hills of Asti.  The slopes are steeper and the valleys less marked. The names Acqui, Ovada and Gavi are the provincial capitals of winemaking. There is considerable production of Barbera del Monferrato and Moscato d'Asti, and two brands of the esteemed white Cortese wine: Alto Monferrato and di Gavi. Also noteworthy are the richly flavoured Dolcetto di Acqui and di Ovada, and the lesser known (mostly due to modest production) but appreciated and prized by connoisseurs, Brachetto d'Acqui dessert wine.

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Lower Monferrato is made up of a system of hills with elevations reaching 700 meters and is the area with the highest density of grape vines. Asti the provincial capital has for hundreds of years been the centre for wines of high interest. These wines include Moscato introduced several centuries ago, Barbera, already well known in the 1700s, Freisa, known a little bit everywhere but limited in expansion, black Malvasia and Grignolino, considered one of the most refined wines of Monferrato.

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A table below provides information to help you match the major appellations of the region with the grape



Grapes Used















Bonarda [traditionally called Croatina]






Nebbiolo or Bonarda

Red Effervescent






White effervescent

Moscato d’Asti



Gavi or Cortese



Roero Arneis


White Sparkling



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On The Wine Trail

When you exit the autostrada or leave the train station at Asti , you enter Astesana, an ancient land which remains dotted with castles and fine houses. Astesana is one of the most fertile areas of the province of Asti with over 50 closely connected towns and cities producing a third of Piedmont ’s wine. Delicious Barbera, aromatic Moscato the splendid Brachetto and the famous Italian Spumante are all produced here. There are over 300 wineries, mostly private and some co-operative available for tastings and purchases. Also worth sampling while you are here is Italy ’s only DOP goats milk cheese, incredible vegetables and of course the famous Piemonte truffles. More on the wine trail here.

A Selection of Astesana Wines.

In total there are 12 DOC and DOCG wines from Astesana and when the various types and sub-denominations are factored in there are over 47 types of wording possible on the wine labels. It is no wonder that people can get confused about what to buy. The descriptions provided below are not intended as an exhaustive list of all wines available but hopefully will give you a guiding hand with your selection.

Vini Rossi the Red Wines

Barbera - The Barbera grape occupies nearly 35% of Piedmont ’s 53,000 hectares of vineyards. In recent years creative wine growers and producers have been adapting their management of this versatile grape to satisfy a wide range of tastes and demands. The results have been impressive and at home in Italy , Barbera is firmly established as an important red wine. It is not however as well known in other markets although this is changing slowly.

Piedmont’s provinces of Asti and Alessandria provide optimum conditions for the Barbera grape and it is suspected to have originated from here. A high proportion of the best Barbera wines come from three DOC’s [Denominazione Di Orgine Controllata]: Barbera d’Alba DOC, Barbera del Monferrato DOC and Barbera d’Asti DOC. Barbera d’Alba tends to be what you most frequently see in export markets as these are the Barbera wines made by the Barolo and Barbaresco producers from the Langhe region.

Essentially you have the choice of three styles of Barbera. Firstly the stainless steel aged Barbera that produces a fresher, fruity wine. Thanks to their plentiful anthocyans and their reduced tannins, in skilled hands Barbera grapes can produce splendid easy to drink medium bodied reds that are affordable and approachable when young. Secondly the barrique aged Barbera’s that are grand and powerful. Giacomo Bologna changed everything for Barbera when he released his Bricco dell’Uccellone in the early eighties. Selecting grapes from the best vineyard and aging them in new French barriques his results started a revolution in Piedmont wine producing circles. Today’s producers are now using the barrel to soften out their acidic Barbera wines. Barrique techniques combined with lower yields and old vines are producing wines that are big and soft.  The 11% alcohol levels of the supermarket brands can raise to 14% or higher in some new style Barbera wines. The best selections and the ‘Superiore’ version grace any table and are perfect with top quality meat, game and mature cheeses. To obtain a ‘Superiore' denomination requires adherence to strict disciplinary regulations including careful selection of the grapes and refining in the cellar for a minimum of 1 year. If stored properly these wines can be appreciated even after 10 years in the bottle. The third type of Barbera comes from producers who are blending Nebbiolo and Barbera grapes. These super-Piemonte wines fall under the Langhe Rosso DOC denomination and tend to be around 60% Barbera and 40% Nebbiolo. They represent Piedmonts answer to super – Tuscans. They can cost as much (if not more) than Barolo and Barbaresco.

In the Astensana zone [ancient wine roads] Barbera is king and in Asti and Monferrato areas you will find wonderful Barbera bargains. Your choice is extensive and will depend on:

How you feel about strong oak flavours in wine;

How much you want to spend;

How well you can store the wine;

Whether you want to invest for the future and lie the wine down;

What you are going to drink it with;

Since 1970 Barbera d’Asti DOC and Barbera del Monferrato DOC have been produced from perfect soils, the best exposure of hills and a great microclimate.

Barbera d’Asti is one of the most important wines of Astensana. Linked with ancient farming traditions, the grapes are harvested quite late [early October]. This wine is sold in various forms and is increasingly becoming the choice of knowledgeable consumers. Although the ‘Barbera’ label is not yet well known outside of Italy its secret is being discovered with a resultant growth in its popularity and enological interest. It can be young and fresh, ready to drink immediately or classical and full of vigour for up 8-10 years. It is zesty with a full flavour; a good Barbera d’Asti can be as smooth as silk. The wine is often made as a non-varietal with Barbera grapes but some are blended up to a maximum of 15% with Freisa, Grignolino or Dolcetto. Its colour is ruby red but turning towards garnet with aging. It grows best in the Monferrato hills to the north and south of Asti . If the label bears the term “Superiore” it means the Barbera d’Asti has enjoyed a prolonged maturing process usually of three years but a minimum of one year, six months of which must have been in wooden casks. Since the wonderful 2000 harvest three particularly prestigious areas within the Barbera d’Asti production zone have been defined: Barbera d’Asti Superiore Nizza; Barbera d’Asti Superiore Tinella and Barbera d’Asti Superiore Colli Astiani or Astino. These sub zones adhere to stricter regulations and comply with more severe selection processes that enhance the quality of their product. .

Recommended tasting temperature for Barbera d’Asti wine is normally 18 – 20 degrees centigrade and you should open the bottle at least two hours before drinking.

Barbera Del Monferrato – This area claims the Barbera grape as its own. A dry, vaguely semi-sweet, full to medium bodied wine usually effervescent or sparkling that leaves the palate pleasantly velvety. It is a ruby red colour of varying intensity. Good vintages are aged up to four years. It pairs well with all meats including chicken and can complement spicy cheeses when aged. Its light froth that results from natural fermentation makes it a good accompaniment with beef stews. Recommended tasting temperature is 18 – 20 degrees centigrade and you should open the bottle at least two hours before drinking.

Piemonte Bonarda – This ruby red wine made from a traditional Piedmontese grape that has been around since the 16th century. It is best cultivated in very exposed sites, which perhaps explains why it is currently only grown in small amounts in this region.  The Bonarda grape however has been exported to other parts of the world and is used increasingly in blended wines. This is a full bodied wine with a long lasting bouquet and a fragrance that comes with a subtle hint of almond. It is slightly tannic but with less acidity than its near neighbour, the Barbera grape and it is more rounded and softer. A wine with style and character that is not available in large quantities so is an excellent choice for those who do not shrink from being more individual with their wine collections. It pairs well with hors d’oeuvres, cold meats, soups, red meats and is excellent with fresh or mild cheese. Recommended tasting temperature is 18 – 20 Degrees centigrade.

Piemonte Brachetto – This is the red cousin of the white Moscato grape. A great Piedmontese desert wine whose production is limited but its scarce quantity is compensated by its excellent quality.  It comes from 18 communes in the province of Asti and eight in the province of Alessandria . Only hilly vineyards with appropriate slopes and exposures, whose marl terrains are primarily clayey-calcareous in nature, are considered adapted to its production. It is a ruby red wine of medium intensity, tending to bright pinkish garnet; a highly delicate musky odour with delicate scents of roses; sweet and soft in flavour and fizzy. It is produced both as sparkling [Spumante] and slightly sparkling versions. It is an enchanting wine with strong aromas and huge agreeability.  This is another great wine to have if you are looking for something more individual as you won’t find it on all the supermarket shelves. It pairs well with sweet desserts, fruit salads and is delicious with strawberries, fruit tarts and surprisingly even complements chocolate. Serve chilled.

Grignolino - is one of the great aristocratic wines of Piedmont , it has been around since the 18th century and probably the grapes where used in other wines as early as the 16th century. The wine's production area used to be quite extensive but the spread of vine-destroying parasites throughout Europe led to big reduction in the cultivation of Grignolino because it was more sensitive to such pests than other types of grapes. Among its famous admirers is Giovanni Lanza, the prime minister at the time of the unification of Italy and King Umberto I preferred it to any other wine on his table. It is produced in the hilly zone centred around the town of Asti . Only hilly vineyards with appropriate slopes and exposures are considered suitable for production. It comes either as a 100% Grignolino non-varietal or with the possible addition of Freisa grape up to a maximum of 10% for DOC status.  It is a light ruby red coloured wine with a tendency to develop orange tones with aging and mellowing. Its aroma is delicate and is characteristically floral with forest fruit overtones. The taste is dry, warm, and slightly tannic with a pleasantly bitterish flavour and persistent aftertaste. The taste improves with natural maturity to become more aromatic and delicate. It is best paired with soups, risottos and light first courses such as grilled meats and also complements salamis and sausages. This wine can even be enjoyed slightly chilled as a summer wine.

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Vini Bianchi the White Wines

Asti Spumante possibly one of the best known sweet white sparkling wines of this region made from Moscato grapes. Millions of bottles are exported from Italy by the big bottlers. Asti Spumante refers to a fully sparkling wine with straightforward sweet and fruity flavours, which is best enjoyed on its own or as a dessert selection.

Moscato D’Asti This aromatic wine is not so well known outside Italy as Spumanti. It is a finer wine made from the finest most select of the Moscato grapes which are often harvested late and cite the name of the vineyard. Moscato d’Asti is one of the world’s great wine styles. It is a golden straw coloured wine with a minimum overall strength of 4.5%vol. This is a delicate, delicious low alcholol wine with natural fruit sweetness and a light fizz. It has about half the carbonation of a typical sparkling wine, and is released very soon after the vintage to preserve its uniquely fresh character. It is extremely aromatic with a famously complex perfume; its mild level of sweetness is counterbalanced by vibrant acidity. Moscato d’Asti makes an exceptional dessert wine but is also versatile enough to have as an aperitif. Served alone, it is one of the most refreshing wines in the world, and one would be hard pressed to find something better for a hot summer day. Some might even suggest that if you are going to serve wine at breakfast then this is the one. Moscato d’Asti is always best consumed within two years of the vintage. Recommended tasting temperature is 6-8 degrees centigrade and it benefits from being served in a chalice.

Cortese Alto Monferrato – One of the most important of the dry white wines produced in this area.  Despite the Cortese grape being around in the 18th century, this wine does not enjoy the same reputation as the reds and the Moscato's. It is however an easy drinking wine that is delicious with the right food. The grape is only grown in very hilly areas with appropriate slopes and exposures. It is bright straw yellow in colour, and can go towards green. It comes in dry still, dry frizante and dry sparkling varieties.  Normally it has an aromatic slightly acidic bite. It is drunk quite young after 1-2 years of aging standing. It pairs well with hors d’oeuvres, light fish, pasta, risotto, vegetable dishes and Bruschetta. Recommended tasting temperature is 8 – 10 degrees centigrade.

Moscato Apartment living room and kitchen area
view of house & alps from our vineyard
Moscato apartment
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thanks for visiting a vineyard B&B in Piemonte, Italy

Things to do

horse riding.
wine tours.
great food.
world class shopping.
truffle hunting.
visit the Alps.
visit the Italian Lakes.
Visit Genoa.
visit the Italian Riviera.
visit Turin.
relax by our pool.
tour our vineyards.
Balloon tours.
festivals & events.
craft fairs
bird watching
enjoy peace & tranquility

About Piedmont

Culture and Lifestyle

Italian/English menu translator

On the Piedmont Wine Trail StayInPiedmont is proud to be a member of Astesana strada del vino