May 2013
$21-$50 + SRP
Vietti Barbera d’Asti La Crena
Vietti Barbera d’Alba Scarrone
Vietti Barbera d’Alba Scarrone
“Vigna Vecchia”
(over $50)
Giacomo Conterno Barbera d’Alba
Bartolo Mascarello Barbera d’Alba
Luciano Sandrone Barbera d’Alba
Prunotto Barbera d’Asti Costamioli
Giacomo Bologna Braida Bricco
dell’Uccellone Barbera d’Asti
(over $50)
Dry 'Little Sweet One'
Dolcetto, the name of the wine and
the grape variety, is grown almost ex-
clusively in Piedmont, unlike Barbera.
Although popular in Piedmont, where
it’s usually the first wine served at din-
ner, Dolcetto has not yet quite caught
on in the U.S. as much as Barbera has.
While its name literally means “little
sweet one,” Dolcetto is very dry, tan-
nic, light to-medium-bodied, and is al-
most always made without any oak. It is
not so acidic as Barbera, but like almost
all Italian wines, still has lively acidity.
Dolcetto has aromas and flavors of black
pepper, licorice and black cherries, with
a slightly bitter almond finish. It is best
in its youth; with a few notable excep-
tions, Dolcetto should be consumed in
its first three years. At the table, it works
well with Italian antipasti and other ap-
petizers; vegetables such as eggplant and
zucchini; and pastas and casual foods.
It is made in seven different zones in
Piedmont, but only three are important:
Dolcetto d’Alba, Dolcetto di Dogliani
and Dolcetto di Diano d’Alba. Dolcetto
d’Alba is the most common in the U.S.
The town of Dogliani, just south of the
Alba zone, is the original home of the
Dolcetto variety. As in Asti with Bar-
bera, the finest vineyard sites in Dogliani
are planted with Dolcetto. The Dolcet-
tos of Dogliani tend to be more concen-
trated than other Dolcetto wines, and
often need more than three years to ma-
ture. The Diano d’Alba zone is a small,
hilly, cool area; its higher altitude con-
tributes to more structured, leaner wines.
Both Dogliani and Diano d’Alba Dolcet-
tos can now simply be labeled Dogliani
DOCG or Diano d’Alba DOCG.
Almost all Dolcetto wines retail in
the $12 to $20 range. The four priced
over $20 recommended here represent
the most serious, long-lived Dolcettos
being made today. Marcarini’s Boschi
di Berri Dolcetto comes from a phyl-
loxera-free vineyard over 100 years old.
It’s a state-of-art, long-lived Dolcetto.
Quinto Chionetti is the master of well-
structured, long-lived Dogliani, espe-
cially his Briccolero bottling. Luigi Ein-
audi is another Dolcetto specialist from
Dogliani; Vigna Tecc is the one to try.
Fontanafredda makes a single-vineyard
Dolcetto in Diano d’Alba that ages in
barriques for four months, quite unusual
for this variety.
Some recommended Dolcettos:
$12-$20 SRP
Chionetti San Luigi Dogliani
Luciano Sandrone Dolcetto d’Alba
Le Cecche Diano d’Alba
Marcarini Fontanazza
Dolcetto d’Alba
Marchesi di Gresy Monte
Aribaldo Dolcetto d’Alba
Luigi Pira Dolcetto d’Alba
Renato Ratti Columbé
Dolcetto d’Alba
Vietti Tre Vigne Dolcetto d’Alba
$21-$26 SRP
Marcarini Boschi di Berri
Dolcetto d’Alba
Chionetti Briccolero Dogliani
Luigi Einaudi Vigna Tecc Dogliani
Fontanafredda La Lepre
Diano d’Alba
LEFT: Four generations of the Currado family.
BELOW: Harvesting ripe Barbera grapes.
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