Friday, July 1, 2022

Overview of the Langhe Wines #ItalianFWT

As we creep into the 4th of July holiday weekend our Italian Food, Wine & Travel group (#ItalianFWT) is covering the area of the Langhe in the Piedmont, or Piemonte, region of northern Italy hosted by Cindy of Grape Experiences. I only had a couple bottles from the Langhe in my inventory and I just wasn’t ready to part with them being Barolo, especially with these warm summer days. With my oldest son turning 6 and the 4th of July weekend there was just too much going on to get it together to go shopping for a bottle. Today I’m providing an overview of the Langhe region, which is just as important to understand what you’re looking at when you’re considering wines from the Langhe.  


The Langhe, pronounced “lahn-gay”, area of Piedmont is tucked in the southern part of Piedmont in the Cuneo province tucked between the Alps and not too distant from the Mediterranean Sea. Location is key in understanding where grapes are grown due to the influences created by the geography and climate, in this case, where the Alpine and Mediterranean air breezes meet. It is also bordered by the Tanaro River. The Langhe area is also very hilly so there are various microclimates between the hills and valleys where these vineyards are located. 


The Langhe in Celtic translates to “tongues of land”, which helps describe the shape in the way the hills and valleys run parallel to each other. It also translates in local dialect to the plural form of langa, which translates to long, low hills. With the town of Alba standing as the main capital of this area it’s a mesmerizing area in Piedmont with picturesque castles, villages and vineyards galore including some of Italy’s most notable wines including Barolo and Barbaresco.  The below picture is the Langhe as a whole with other DOC and DOCG appellations broken down within the territory.

Langhe wine region
Copyright of Langhevini.it

As you may be familiar that Barolo and Barbaresco are produced from the Nebbiolo grape, but this area of the Langhe is rich in other native grapes that are much more approachable than our ageworthy friends and that don’t break the bank. Other red grapes from the Langhe include Dolcetto, Barbera, Pelaverga and Freisa. Pelaverga and Freisa may be more of a challenge to locate, but are great summer reds to enjoy on those warm days with a slight chill. Dolcetto is a great all-around balanced wine with fruit, acidity and tannin and Barbera is a grape high in acidity making it very food friendly. Some of the whites of the Langhe include Arneis and Favorite along with other international grapes as well.  


If one has yet to experience Barolo and Barbaresco, but cannot afford the higher price tag that goes along with them, you can still try great Langhe Nebbiolo wines that don’t qualify for whatever reason under the DOCG of Barolo and Barbaresco. It will still give you an understanding of what the Nebbiolo grape is all about and many of the producers of Barolo and Barbaresco are also growing Nebbiolo that won’t be bottled under the DOCG allowing you to still drink great wine from respected producers.  


Here is a look back at some Langhe wines and a variety of the Langhe native grapes I've shared over time:

What are your favorite grapes of the Langhe? 

Piedmont wine regions including Langhe
Map by Jeff Quinn copyright of Seven Fifty

Join the rest of my Italian food and wine loving friends as they explore the many facets of the wines from Langhe.  Due to the holiday we will not be having a live chat on Twitter this week.  Happy 4th of July to all!


3 comments:

  1. I especially enjoy Fresia chilled (great suggestion!). Have yet to try Pelaverga.

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  2. Great overview, Jen. I know Barolo is one of your favorites. Do you regard Langhe Nebbiolo as a junior Barolo?

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  3. Great overview and a great reminders for some of the other Piedmontese gems!

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