Vying with Tuscany as the most important wine producer, Piedmont certainly boasts a more sophisticated cuisine, a meeting of household tradition and French influence. It is still one based on sheer quality of the ingredients, like white truffles, hazelnuts and peperoni, but it also shines because of frequent strokes of simple genius in the kitchens; dishes like vitello tonnato, bagna cauda and the peerless little filled pastas like agnolotti. The galaxy of fine wines are led by the whites of Arneis and Cortese and the reds are mostly single varietals, the light Freisa and Grignolino, the day to day Dolcetto, the richer Barbera and the great Nebbiolo, especially from its two premier little zones, Barbaresco and Barolo. There is a very strong presence of sparkling wines, including the immensely popular grapey, spicey and lightly sweet Asti (Spumante) and Moscato (d’Asti) and even a popular light red sparkler Brachetto. Further north are interesting whites like Erbaluce and the small zone of Gattinara for Nebbiolo. There are some superb artisanal distillers in Piedmont and other quite popular wines like Vermouth and Barolo Chinato originate here.
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