Piedmont, abutting the Italian Alps offers up some of the noblest wines in the entire Peninsula. The king of the region is the Nebbiolo grape, known for being as aromatic and ethereal as Pinot Noir in Burgundy, yet even more finicky to grow. Piedmont produces the largest quantity of quality DOC and DOCG wines it Italy. The twin regions of Barolo and Barbaresco are the most internationally known wines in Piedmont, with many small producers crafting cult favorites that are always in high demand. Wines produced in the Alba and Asti regions of Piedmont have long graced the tables of dukes and kings. The rise of international esteem for Italian wine in the 20th century made these traditionally made Nebbiolo highly desirable; not only could the best age for many decades, but when made in the old style, absolutely had to. Traditionally, with its thin skin and light color, Nebbiolo was given a long maceration and extended time in large neutral oak botte. The resulting wine was highly tannic, and frequently closed down for a decade or two. International attention drove some producers in the 1980s to adjust their methods to produce wine that could age, but didn't have to (at least not as long). The Piemontese are nothing if not purists, and the so-called 'Barolo Wars' were dramatic, and personal. Today there is considerable balance among producers. Nebbiolo is also grown with great success in Lessona, Ghemme, Gattinara, and Carema regions, each offering stylistic variations. More common varietals Dolcetto, Barbera, and Cortese (Gavi) are produced in an approachable everyday style, drunk young and suitable for casual meals.