Ask most winos what place is synonymous with nebbiolo and without hesitation they’ll say Barolo. In their second breath they’ll utter Barbaresco, the next region over in the same Langhe hills. Only the most knowledgeable will tell you, in their third breath, of the exceptional nebbiolo that exists in Northern Piedmont, aka Alto Piemonte.
A thick tome, 132 years old, has survived to tell the story of Piedmont's grape-growing past. That is, if you can decipher the flowery penmanship and wade through the anachronistic turns of phrase. There, in a section on grape varieties in the book called “Wine Production and Oenology in the Province of Cuneo, 1879”, lies both the question and, perhaps, the answer to one of the region's great mysteries.