Raid the Cellar with Laura Maniec: Piedmont vs. Tuscany

Photo from the CorkBuzz website

Back in February, I went to CorkBuzz restaurant and wine bar for the first time for a memorable tasting class hosted by master sommelier Laura Maniec. I was early, and had a glass of Greek assyrtiko, because I had never heard of it before.  Very fresh, very mineral-y (due to volcanic ash).  But anyways, the class was dedicated to comparing two notorious wine regions in Italy: Piedmont and Tuscany.  An outline with some notes, facts, and details about the two regions can be found here.  As this outline doesn’t include the wines we drank (i.e. the fun part) I am listing them in this post so you can compare the two regions for yourself if you so choose!  I’d recommend going in on these bottles with a group of friends – I can’t imagine it’s cheap or healthy to drink all of these bottles on your own.


La Scoica White Label Corese di Gavi ’16

Franco Serra Barera d’Alba ’16

Gianni Gagliardo Paulin Dolcetto d’Alba ’13

Paitin Sori’ Paitin Barbaresco ’12

Marziano Abbona Pressenda Barolo ’11


Montenidoli Tradizionale Vernaccia di San Gimignano ’15

Villa Sant’Anna Vino Nobile di Montepulciano ’13

Ricasoli Castello di Brolio Chianti Classico Riserva ’13

Casanuova Delle Carbaie Brunello di Montalcino ’08

Rodano Mon Nené Cabernet Sauvignon ’11


Fast fun facts

  • “_____ di _____”, for example Vino Nobile di Montepulciano, is essentially “(grape variety) of (town/region)” – this can help when reading Italian wine labels…FYI Vino Nobile is Sangiovese.
  • Piedmont’s grape is Nebbiolo, while Tuscany’s is Sangiovese (hence Vino Nobile, or noble wine when made and labeled in Tuscany)
    • This is why Chianti is largely Sangiovese – Chianti is in Tuscany
  • Italian wines are known for having good structure
    • This basically means tannic as well as acidic so your mouth can be dry but wet simultaneously
    • If it finishes acidic, it’s likely Nebbiolo and thus Piedmont – if it finishes more tannic, it’s likely Sangiovese (Tuscany)
    • Good structure helps preserve wine and allows it to age well

So which region is “better”? By the end of the class, I discovered that my palate prefers Tuscan wines to Piedmont wines.  I’ll probably never forget the first wine I tasted on this night – the Vernaccia di San Gimignano was described by Laura as “briney” as she poured it and handed it to me and as I tasted it, all I thought of was a cliff by the sea – and oysters.  Definitely oysters.  It was awesome.   You’ll have to decide for yourself which region is more your taste but let me know what your preferences are or if you try this comparison for yourself in the comments!

Sydney Isaacs
Sydney Isaacs

Sydney is a 29-year old American living between France and Italy. She has a WSET Level 2 certification in wine, along with a degree in environmental engineering and an MBA. She loves exploring local farmer’s markets, haunting her favorite wine bar, and discovering new restaurants.

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