Eric Guido

Location: Ridgewood, NY

Food and Wine Writer for Snooth Media, Chef, Musician, Poet, Wine Lover, and Workaholic. Owner, Chef and Writer for The V.I.P. Table.

Dolcetto: The perfect anyday wine

I have something of a secret affection for Dolcetto.  It started almost as far back as my love for Barolo.  Let’s face it; we can’t drink Barolo everyday, although I know some people who try.  Dolcetto, which translates to Little Sweet One, is for the most part, an easy drinking wine from Piedmont, Italy.  However, it’s hardly ever Sweet and if you know the right producers to look for, than you can find Dolcetto with amazing depth, clarity and nuance.  Far from just an easy drinking wine.

 

Some producers use Dolcetto as a means to turn a quick buck with affordable juice that can be enjoyed and sold while their Barolo ages toward release.  Other’s, like many on this list, look at it as it’s own beautiful expression of terroir.  Personally, I believe it is the ultimate weeknight spring or summer wine.  Dolcetto goes wonderfully with food, especially sausage and pizza.  And on a very hot day, try one at cellar temperature (55 degrees) for a real treat.  I obviously couldn’t include every wine I admire, but what follows are some of the best Dolcetto I’ve had this year.

Rank Wine Rating Price
1 Marziano Abbona Dolcetto di Dogliani Papa Celso Annata (2009)
Comments: The nose was like a blackberry pie with black fruits, herbs and aromas of toasty savory pate brisse. On the palate, it was juicy with more blackberry and medicinal herbs. The finish was tight with woodsy notes.
Previously available for $29.98
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2 Dolcetto d'Alba Flavio Roddolo (2010)
Comments: The nose showed a darker and more seductive side of Dolcetto with black cherry and dark wild berries; floral perfume followed with a hint of Indian spice. On the palate it was velvety soft, but not heavy, with juicy acidity ushering in blackberry fruits and then flexing it’s structural muscle with slightly drying tannin. On the finish an attractive herbal character mixed with wild berries lingered to the close.
Previously available for $18.99
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3 Vajra Dolcetto d'Alba (2009)
Comments: The nose showed focused blackberry fruit with spice, floral notes and wood tones. On the palate, this showed vibrant acidity with more blackberry and hints of citrus, leading to a clean fruity finish that provided those token Dolcetto bitters that I have grown to love.
Previously available for $24.99
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4 Elio Grasso Dolcetto d'Alba Monforte d'Alba (2009)
Comments: The nose showed ripe blackberries, with floral undergrowth and a hint of bouillon. On the palate, it was soft and enveloping in a mid-weight style with blackberries, a hint of sweet spice and a touch rustic with juicy acidity. The finish was pleasant and fresh just as a Dolcetto should be. I thoroughly enjoyed it.
Previously available for $17.99
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5 Mascarello Dolcetto d'Alba (2010)
Comments: The nose showed crushed blackberry, floral notes, wild herbs and earth with a rustic twist. On the palate, it was medium bodied with plush blackberry fruits and a bit of tart citrus, which coated the senses and lasted through the long finish. The wine's structure could be felt in the close as hints of tannin clung to the palate.
Previously available for $750.00
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6 Clerico Dolcetto di Langhe Visadi (2010)
Comments: The nose was robust, showing rich black cherry, blackberry jam, dark chocolate, pepper and hint of herbs. On the palate, intense dark fruits and earthy stone were ushered in by gripping acidity, which blossomed toward the finish with a bitter twinge and hints of tannin. This was racy yet unexpected and atypical of a Dolcetto.
Previously available for $18.99
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7 Burlotto G.B. Dolcetto d'Alba (2009)
Comments: As I sat and sniffed around the edges of this glass, it reminded me of everything I love about Italian wine. The first impression was of blackberry jam and brioche, but with time in the glass, the slightest hint of barnyard and earth added dimensions that I had at first not noticed. It was easy on the palate, with perfect balance and flavors of wild berries and a bit of old wood. Some gravelly tannin was noticeable on the finish but it served to remind me that this wasn't just a forgettable wine from who-knows-where, this was Dolcetto from Piedmont and a truly excellent example at that.
Previously available for $15.49
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8 Cavallotto Dolcetto Dolcetto d'Alba Vigna Scot (2009)
Comments: The nose showed blackberries with minerals, soil and a whiff of black licorice at the end. On the palate, it was a perfect balance of rich concentrated blue and black fruit with juicy Dolcetto acidity and bitters. This is an excellent value and a great house Dolcetto. I will buy more.
Average price: $20.67 from 1 store
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  • 640513Anna Savino I just drank Vajra dolcetto 2011 last night and it was amazing! Just the right amount of fruit with that raw almondy finish. Perfectly balanced and silky smooth. I agree that everything Vajra touches turns to gold...my new favorite dolcetto!



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