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Piedmont, in the far north-west of Italy, enjoys an unrivaled seat among the world's very finest wine regions. It is the home of more DOCG wines than any other Italian region, among them such well-known and respected names as Barolo, Barbaresco, and Barbera d’Asti. Although famous for its austere, tannic red wines made from Nebbiolo, Piedmont's greatest success story in the past decade has been sweet, white, sparkling Moscato d’Asti. Brachetto is also worthy of mention, not least for its role in the sweet, sparkling reds of the Brachetto d’Acqui DOCG. So too is Freisa, with its broad portfolio of sweet, dry, still and sparkling red wines made in Asti and Chieri.

Much less frivolous than the sparkling whites of Asti is Gavi, the Piedmont white of the connoisseur. This is made from Cortese, a variety which struggles to produce wines of any aromatic complexity anywhere else, and is now facing serious competition from the alluringly aromatic Arneis. Although not as prestigious as the whites above, Arneis, the best of which comes from Roero, is increasingly popular for its delicate, exotic perfume. A final white worthy of mention is local obscurity Erbaluce (of Erbaluce di Caluso), which has naturally benefitted from the 300% increase in Piedmont's white-wine production over the past three decades.

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Fantini Montepulciano d'Abruzzo

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