The Piedmont wine region is located in the northwest corner of Italy, bordering Switzerland and France. It sits at the base of the Alps, explaining its name, which means literally "foot of the mountain."
Don't expect a Mediterranean-style Italy when you're visiting this region. Piedmont grapes live through cold, snowy winters with dry, hot summers. There's also plenty of fog hanging from the mountains. In addition, vineyards are planted only on hills, another reason that Piedmont has a small, boutique-wine feel -- there simply aren't enough grapes planted for mass production.
Piedmont's people are also quick to defend their artisanal winemaking through the Slow Food movement. Slow Food's 85,000 members defend classic regional agriculture and condemn the practice of stripping land to make it commercially productive [source: Reiss]. The organization works to combat fast food and instead promote local traditions and agriculture. Slow Food, a "nonprofit, eco-gastronomic member-supported organization," is now in 132 countries -- and its forerunner, Arcigola, was founded in the Piedmont region in 1986 [source: Slow Food].
But enough of the region -- on to the wines! Read on to discover the famous wines of the Piedmont wine region of Italy.