Falling Back in Love with Wine in Piedmont

It's been a few weeks weeks since I returned from a two-week trip to Northern and Central Italy. It was a trip that I jokingly deemed my Eat, Pray, Love tour—minus the prayers and love, plus a lot of wine. Eat and Drink tour, I guess!

Except there was love, too. A love for wine. A love that had kind of gone missing.

Wine blogging is fun and I love it (I do), but like anything it's easy to get caught just going through the motions. At some point writing blog posts and posting photos on social media started to feel like a chore. I could blame the shitty Instagram algorithm, which honestly brings out the worst in people, but it's on each of us to check ourselves and remind ourselves why we love wine. Is it for likes and followers? I truly hope not.

But all bloggers fall into those traps. Including me! So it was time for me to renew my love for wine. Where better than Piedmont? Let me share what I discovered with you.

Piedmont Views

Where is Piedmont?

In addition to being the first phase of my trip, there's a lot to be said about Piedmont (or Piemonte in Italian). I'm sure many of you are familiar with it already as it is one of the most well-known and respected wine regions on Earth, but for those who aren't, here are a few quick facts:
  • Piedmont is located in northwest Italy. Its largest city is Turin.
  • It is wedged between the Alps and the Mediterranean, both of which influence its terroir.
  • 65% of its wine is from red grapes, including Nebbiolo, Barbera, and Dolcetto.*
  • The main white grapes are Cortese, Moscato, and Arneis.
  • Its most famous DOCGs are Barolo, Barbaresco, and Roero.
I stayed in Alba, which is in the Langhe sub-region, and concentrated on wine in Roero, Barolo, and Barbaresco.
My latest on The Vintner Project: Something Special at Bajaj

What I Discovered

The Piedmont leg of my journey was extra special because it was my first solo wine adventure. I had a week all to myself to rediscover wine before meeting up with my friends in Florence. (Where by the way, Tuscany also fueled my passion for vino. More on that soon.)

In Piedmont, I had the chance to absorb my surroundings and really listen to the stories behind the wines that I was tasting. Obviously you can do that with friends, and as I mentioned, I did, but it's different when there's quiet and reflection. I learned a lot about wine—and about myself.

Wine is more than an alcoholic beverage.
Yes, I already knew this. But with heavy regulation and ridiculous alcohol control laws (Hi, Pennsylvania), it's nice to get a reminder. For many people in the world, wine is the glue that holds their communities and families together. It's what they gather around, and what they share. As I was reminded, this is part of why I share my wine finds with you all.

Passionate winemakers make better wine.
In a world filled with mass-produced wine, we all need to take a step back and consider what types of companies and people we want to support through our purchases. Is it a huge company that owns hundreds of brands? Or is it a small winemaker who loves their craft? I'm the first to argue that large producers set the pace for their market, but there's more value and richness beyond their cookie cutter wines. I believe that thoughtful winemakers make better wines with more character, and from what I tasted in Piedmont, that belief is true.

Sometimes it is better to follow than to lead.
You guys look to me for wine recommendations, and I love to help you. I'm used to being a leader who explains wine. But in Piedmont, I followed my guides Anna and Claudio, and I'm so happy I did. I will admit that I don't often approach many things in life with genuine curiosity, but when coming up with the itinerary, I told Anna nothing more than that I trusted her and I was ok with "off the beaten path." And it paid off! We tasted amazing wines and I realized there's so much left to learn.

Be a wine lover, not a wine blogger.
The other folks on my wine tours knew I was a wine blogger, but other than snapping a bunch of photos, I didn't talk about blogging. I didn't want to be a wine blogger on the tours. I wanted to be a wine lover, just like the others enjoying the wineries. Have you ever set aside your idea of yourself and everything you think you know for a few days? It was freeing to just listen and learn.

I'd like to encourage you all to think about why you love wine and what you can do to keep your love alive. It doesn't have to be a big trip to Italy! Perhaps you can try a new bottle that you haven't had before. Maybe you can visit a winery and not worry much about snapping that perfect photo. Or, maybe you can buy one of your favorite bottles of wine and remind yourself why you enjoy it!

Now, I'm sure you're all wondering where I actually went in Piedmont. Check out this post to learn about the wonderful wineries I visited!

*Source: https://winefolly.com/review/piedmont-wine-guide/