Think about the wines produced in Italy’s Piedmont and the first that come to mind are the deep, complex, and ageworthy reds of Barolo and Barbaresco. Delicious though these wines are, they’re not exactly pool-side material. Their earth- and spice inflected flavors are built for another season altogether—one that requires game meats and rich ragús, not summer greens.
But if anyone knows the breadth of Piedmont’s vinous offerings, it’s Aldo Zaninotto of Chicago’s Osteria Langhe and newly opened Animale. A staunch believer in the diversity of the region, he devoted his entire wine program to it. “Piedmont has such an extraordinary culture,” he says. “And by really focusing on the region, the goal is that people will come out having learned something about it.” Wines for warmer times? He has those too.
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“The assumption is that these are brawny wines,” says Zaninotto, “but cooking in Italy is such a seasonal thing, and of course there are wines in every region to go with summer foods.” Here, he shares 12 of his favorite Piedmont whites and lighter reds to pour now and through the end of the season.