What’s in a name indeed. As you may or may not already know, “Dolcetto” roughly translates from Italian as “little sweet one”, which pretty explicitly states what kind of wine you can expect to get from it, and in many cases it’s true. Dolcetto definitely tends to make lowish acid, round wines. But that said, Dolcetto is also especially sensitive to its terroir, and the hand of the winemaker is always a factor in the crafting of any wine.
And boy, are those things in play here, and this wine is decidedly no “little sweet one” either, by the way. This is a single vineyard Dolcetto (25 year old vines), with all of the fruit emanating from the Serraboella vineyard in Neive. I don’t know offhand the overall character of this vineyard, but if this wine is at all representative of it, I’d call it “stern”. This is also a very traditional take on Dolcetto, with plenty of reductive funk (no micro-oxygenated fruit blast detectable) on pulling the cork, no oak, and a touch “gauzy” in appearance in the glass. Marvelously minimally manipulated.
This wine’s comestible partners this evening consisted of a first course of penne rigate with a traditional ragu`, and then breaded and fried chicken cutlets baked with ham, scamorza and sage, and boiled and garlic-sauteed broccoli rabe on the side.
Slightly cloudy, deep magenta color. Heady nose of dried fruit, autumn leaves, plastic bandages, vanilla bean, chalk, and faded roses. The medium body is firmly, boldly structured, with an austere but still smooth and elegant texture layered with ethereal watermelon, plum, and brown spice flavors. The finish has a nice length with well defined notes of cherry and bitter chocolate. A serious, dignifed Dolcetto.