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Alba is one of the very newest Italian DOCs, introduced only in August 2010. It occupies the lower rung of the tiered DOC structure in Piemonte, meaning that the title covers a much broader range of wine styles than more specific DOCs such as Barolo or Barbera d'Alba.

The Alba DOC takes its name from the town at its centre, one of the two key wine towns in Piemonte (the other is the larger Asti, just to the east, where Asti Spumante and Moscato d'Asti are made). It covers more than just the Alba commune, however, and extends in all four directions to take in the catchment area of all the local DOCs. This larger area gives winemakers more freedom to make wines blended with grapes from several different areas, thus creating subtly different styles. Perhaps even more significant is that rather than being limited to a single grape variety, wines sold under the Alba title can be made from any one or more of around 15 grapes. The effect of this has been a marked increase in plantings of such popular grapes as Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and Cabernet Sauvignon.

Alba lies in the north-eastern corner of the Cuneo province, home to some of Italy's finest terroir and wines. The classic Piemonte landscape here consists of rolling hills, a topography which provides important climatic variation and gives grape growers the luxury of choice when choosing vineyard sites with a particular mesoclimate. The wooded valleys here also produce the other gastronomic delight for which Piemonte is known – truffles.

Certain grapes have proven particularly well suited to the Alba terroir, and these have their own DOCs. This extends not just to Barbera d'Alba as mentioned above, but also Dolcetto d'Alba and Nebbiolo d'Alba.

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