Italian growers welcome much needed rain. A dispatch from Piedmont.

Brett will be pouring and talking about the Pinot family at Food Lab Boulder next Wednesday, 6/28, 6:30 p.m. Click here for info and registration. He personally selected and sourced the wines — including sparkling, white, and red — for this food pairing event. It’s one not to miss!

For next week’s complimentary tasting, Wednesday, 6/28, 5-7pm, we’ll be pouring the following featured wines at the store. We hope you can join us! Thank you for your support.

Navesur Verdejo 2021, Rueda, Spain ($11.99)
Cepas Chardonnay 2022, Mendoza ($9.99)
Guilhem “Moulin de Gassac” Rouge 2021, Pays l’Herault ($13.99)
Desert Wind Merlot 2019, Wahluke Slope, Washington ($16.99)

The following notes are by our blogger, Jeremy Parzen, author of Do Bianchi. He has just returned from Piedmont wine country where he teaches wine and food communications at the Slow Food University of Gastronomic Sciences.


The evening I arrived in the village of Nizza Monferrato in the heart of the Barbera del Monferrato and Barbera d’Asti appellations, the rain was falling so hard and so persistently that you could see a stream of milky mud flowing down the road from the crest of the Bricco di Nizza.

The weather was so severe that the nearby village of Canelli (famous for the production of Moscato d’Asti) flooded for the first time in recent memory.

But the precipitation, however intense, was welcomed with open arms by grape growers across the region, from Roero to Barolo and beyond.

In the 2022 vintage, an extremely mild winter with barely any snowfall was followed by a practically rainless summer. That led to an acute drought, which, combined with high temperatures, could have been a recipe for disaster. By August, Riccardo Cotarella, one of Italy’s leading enologists, wrote in a widely distributed press release that Italy risked losing the majority of its crop.

Miraculously, rainfall arrived in mid-August and the vintage, however attenuated, was saved.

Like 2022, the 2023 vegetative cycle will be remembered for its mild winter and scant snowfall. As spring turned to summer this year, there was genuine concern that the current harvest could be a repeat of the previous cycle. But those worries have been laid to rest thanks to the abundant rainfall of late spring.

As a Nizza Monferrato grower told me, there should be enough water in the ground at this point to make for a good and possibly great harvest.

Barring any major meteorological events, Piedmont growers and their counterparts across northern Italy are genuinely relieved to be “out of the woods,” as it were.

Above: From the heart of Barbaresco, photo taken June 7 following intense rainfall in Piedmont that was welcomed with open arms by drought-weary growers.