Posted by: tomciocco | September 7, 2010

ONE OF THE MANY FACES OF DOLCETTO

Most of us know the grape named Dolcetto with the “d’Alba” part stuck to it as if the words were connected as closely as  some storied given name and surname, like Davey and  Jones, or maybe more like Leonardo and da Vinci;  as if the first part disconnected from the second were a minor betrayal of some natural law…

In truth, to “d’Alba” one can add appellations ending in “d’Aqui”, “d’Asti”, “delle Langhe Monregalesi”, “di Diano d’Alba”, “di Dogliani”, and “di Ovada”, in which Dolcetto is the star, and several handfuls of other appellations in which Dolcetto is encouraged to play a supporting role. Admittedly, few examples of these other Dolcetto appellations get very far from where they’re made, but the fact that there are 7 named geographically-based zones associated directly with the Dolcetto variety attests to the fact that Piedmont has lots of traditional terroirs in which Dolcetto is deemed to be an worthy interpreter.

This Dolcetto hails from Dogliani, the southernmost appellation, and the only DOCG Dolcetto appellation: Dolcetto di Dogliani Superiore. Located in the southern part of the province of Cuneo, near the Ligurian border, Dolcetto cultivated in Dogliani’s particular soil and warmer climate yields deeper, darker, and riper fruit than its cousins planted in Alba can muster, leading to a  more intense, chewier product in the glass.

Like all Dolcetti, the tendency is to reduction (the lack of ability for a wine to hang on to oxygen leading to either pungent, “funky” aromas that may or may not dissipate over time, or to a nearly scentless “dumbness”, which might begin to loosen over time, allowing the wine to reveal its bouquet) so I opened the bottle about 45 minutes before pouring off the first glass. Noting its development in the glass over the course of dinner it could have used even more time, or even a decanting. And like all Dolcetti, this Dogliani has a great affinity for all manner of poultry, risotti, and any dish containing mushrooms, so I served this bottle with a butternut squash and pepper risotto, and then a mushroom/herb/3 wine sauce of my own concoction, over floured and fried chicken cutlets with steamed green beans with butter.

 

 

 

 

 

Pecchenino Dolcetto di Dogliani “San Luigi” 2008

Very deep and saturated crimson purple color. Elegant and deep nose of black cherry and blackcurrant fruit, mocha, cloves, raw meat, and dark red roses. In the mouth the wine is medium-full bodied, with velvety and fairly dense plum and raspberry fruit vigorously supported by a spunky, scrapy tannic structure. Finishes with a warm earthy-soy sauce flavor.

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