If we define terroir as the unique combination of soil, exposure, climate, and human intervention resulting in a food product or wine that can only be produced in a given area using traditional local methods, white truffles from Piedmont would probably have to be the first example offered in the dictionary entry for the term.
But one of the things that makes Piedmont’s white truffles stand out among Italy’s many terroir-driven cheeses, salumi, wines, etc. is that truffles can only occur naturally and spontaneously. They cannot be cultivated. They can only be foraged.
The only human intervention that’s occurred by the time white truffles find their way to your table is that someone has gathered them in the forest, usually with the help of truffle-hunting dogs (in another era, truffle-hunting pigs were used and in some cases they still are).
That makes Piedmont truffles the purist form of terroir expression imaginable.
Truffle season has now begun in Piedmont and Scarpa will be pouring its wines next weekend at the Barolo and Truffle Experience at the Hotel Villa Beccaris in Monforte d’Alba.
Enjoy truffle season 2019! It’s expected to be a great one.