Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Dolcetto: The Little Sweet One

I've long loved Dolcetto.  

Years back, I discovered this wine after a sort of "Chianti Fatigue".   Dolcetto was bright, fruity, slightly smokey, and a bit mysterious.  It was very food friendly, and offered a slightly less expensive ($12-$15) change of pace from Chianti.  These days, prices are a bit higher ($15-$20) but I also think quality has improved.

Dolcetto hails from Piedmont and along with Barbera, form the core of what the Piedmontese locals drink daily, as they wait for their beloved Barolo & Barbaresco to cellar.  Dolcetto come mainly from two towns around Cuneo commune in Piedmont:  Alba  & Dogliani.   The latter is the smaller of the two, and consequently, harder to find.  Dolcetto from Alba are the most prevalent and typically bigger wines than their siblings from Dogliani which tend to be more floral and a bit more elegant. On rare occasions you may find a Dolcetto di Diano, which is similar in style to Dogliani Dolcetto - but I cannot remember the last time I saw one of these. 

Today's posting is about the 2008 San Romano Dolcetto di Dogliani, Bricco delle Lepri.   In Piedmontese dialect, "bricco" means Ridge, or Slope, and is a term to indicate that the vineyard which produced the wine is in a superior location.  I first had this wine at Eataly last month and was more than happy to buy a few bottles from home from their Enoteca. 

In the glass, the wine is vibrant, pretty purple color. The aromas are bountiful, pure and fresh.  Crushed blackberry, plums, violets and a smokey essence are prevalent. Flavors follow the nose with juicy exuberance.  All primary, with floral tones mingling with the fruit.  A somewhat loose analogy is that Dolcetto is the Italian version of fruity Cru Beaujolais.  Although the name literally means "little sweet one" that's somewhat of a misnomer as the wines are not sweet.  In this case, it's meant as a term of endearment to the Piedmontese.  And it's justified. 

This wine is delicious, and worth grabbing if you find it.  Available at Eataly in NYC.  91 points, about $18. 

2008 San Romano Dolcetto di Dogliani Bricco delle Lepri

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