Gregory Dal Piaz

Location: New York, NY

Top Dolcetto tasted May 2013

Rank Wine Rating Price
1 Cascina Delle Rose Dolcetto d'Alba a Elizabeth (2011)
Comments: Assertively earthy, spicy, and violet driven on the nose this also shows  a little tobacco smoke top note over aromas of freshly crushed berry and plum fruit.  Elegant in the mouth and with great transparency, this strikes just the perfect weight and balance, with gorgeous purity of fruit, almost sweet with ripeness, and layered with plum, mulberry and spiced cherry flavors. This is about as good as Dolcetto gets. 92pts
Previously available for $17.74
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2 Fratelli Barale Dolcetto d'Alba Bussia (2011)
Comments: An old sub variety of Dolcetto with red jacks that is very virus resistance with a very savory flavor. Aged for eight or nine months in ten Hl oak barrels Blue violets appear immediately on the nose followed by sour plum and wild cherry fruit that shows great freshness topped by aromatic eucalyptus like notes with hint of brick and green peppercorn.With  bright acidity, fine firm tannins supporting deep fruit in the mouth, this is very aromatic, layered and rich without being heavy. In fact this is a bit of a powerhouse graced with a long precise mineral laden fresh wild plum finish that shows a hint of balsam on the finale. Heck of a wine. 91pts
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3 Giuseppe E Figlio Mascarello Dolcetto d'Alba Santo Stefano di Perno (2011)
Comments: Salami, wild herbs, and wild berry fruit come together on a spicy nose that does show a light  lactic top note.  Bright, a touch chewy in the mouth, this nonetheless delivers superb precise wild berry/boysenberry fruit supported by acids that are almost salty. This offers great purity of fruit with a hint of supple power and  great acid cut on the back end, and through the long slightly smoky finish which shows a hint of grapefruit pith.  Zesty and delicious. 91pts
Previously available for $21.99
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4 Giuseppe E Figlio Mascarello Dolcetto d'Alba Bricco (2011)
Comments: From Rue e Monrobiolo vineyards, fermented in concrete, then 9 months in botte Very pretty floral violet tinged nose that picks up subtle  soil, dark fruit, and quite spicy aromas. This is  soft, rich and easy in the mouth with plenty of mulberry boysenberry fruit that shows great freshness in the mouth.  There are very present yet soft tannins here along with gentle acid support making this easy to drink with  just a touch of richness here. The finish is very fruity, in fact remarkably fruity and this is predictably quite lovely. 89pts
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5 G.D. Vajra Dolcetto d'Alba Coste & Fossati (2011)
Comments: Coste de Vergne higher elevation vineyards 440 meters Special clones where the stems turned red, Aldo Vajra cloned the red stemmed vines which in his opinion produce a more complex and fruitier style of wine. Dark and muscular on the nose with dried herb notes, dark brambly fruit, just a hint of mint, and some some black cherry aromas. On entry this is supple and rich, a bit dark with somewhat powerful dark cherry and salted plum fruit, turning broad on the palate with more power than the regular bottling, though still rather well balanced and light. This artfully blends the classic size of Dolcetto with intensity of an icon wine. 90pts
Average price: $26.05 from 1 store
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6 Cantina del Pino Dolcetto Dolcetto d'Alba (2011)
Comments: Ferments for five to six days, all SS Tight, musky and a bit reduced on the nose. With air this reveals earthy aromas with some geranium notes and a little smokiness. In the mouth this is very open, very juicy, and in a rather fruity style with good acidity but not a bright cutting acid. Fresh in the mouth, this is quite complex and while the fruit has a candied edge to it, theres a lot of savory sweet spice, earthy, slightly woodland toned nuance adding complexity here. This is pretty natural feeling, neither lean and aggressive nor big and plush it falls right in the middle of the style spectrum with  lots of depth to the fresh cherry and dark raspberry fruit, finishing with a nice blend of acidity, fruit tannin and a little chewy fat and aromatic violet and sand inner mouth perfumes. 90pts
Previously available for $24.99
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7 Cascina Delle Rose Dolcetto d'Alba a Elizabeth (2012)
Comments: All SS, barrel sample High toned and focused on the nose with floral aromas that show excellent freshness. The palate delivers ripe fruit with hints of fresh leather, woodland spice, and  forest floor, showing an excellent, lively quality the defines the pure and fresh potential of Dolcetto. This is young and still fairly grapy with beautiful lacy tannins and zesty acids for support. 90pts
Previously available for $17.00
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8 E. Pira & Figli Chiara Boschis Dolcetto d'Alba (2012)
Comments: From vineyards in Monforte Cut plum and melon greets the nose along with a bit of wild berry, some blue earth and herb stem note. This is bright, juicy, pure, and lively on the palate in a lovely fruity, medium bodied style.  Simply the classic medium light sized dolcetto with great acids that delivers simple pure and fresh fruit with a hint of extraction at times but this is absolutely delicious. 89pts
Previously available for $17.56
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9 Domenico Clerico Dolcetto Langhe Visadi (2011)
Comments: Density of color here is impressive. This has a fruity, wild berry nose, bright and fresh with light mineral and black cherry skin aromas. On entry this is a little pasty on the palate, somewhat extracted but very fresh, and that theme continues on the mid-palate which is a little thick if very fresh, with lots of dark berry fruit supported by a nice edge of tannins, and good acid. There’s lots of blackberry fruit with a blood orange note on the moderately long finish. Certainly well made and impressive, this is a bit heavy and intense for me. 89pts
Average price: $13.99 from 2 stores
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10 Elio Grasso "Dei Grassi" Dolcetto d'Alba (2012)
Comments: According to Gianluca Grasso “Lighter styled because of the cooler vintage but it's just the way I like it”. Fresh and tart on the nose with a little earthy and floral spice, and nice green peppercorn note. Decidedly medium light bodied in the mouth, fresh and immediately delicious, this is lovely with  lightly earthy red fruit, soft tannins, fine cleansing acidity. Uncomplicated yet gulpable and absolutely full of lightly plummy and red cherry fruits and a soft green herbal edge, this is irresistible. 88pts
Previously available for $17.99
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11 Elvio Cogno Dolcetto d'Alba Vignetto del Mandorlo (2012)
Comments: Very pretty nose is a little inky, but packed with flowers, and spicy earthy and mineral aromas.This has a nice lighter bodied feel but with a touch of body and a nice soft tannin structure lending it just a bit of power in a fresh style. The super clean finish shows aromas of violets and has a certain delicacy to it. This really has pretty inner mouth perfumes and juicy little skin tannins driving the palate. Prototypical modern style quality Dolcetto. 88pts
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12 Guido Porro Dolcetto Dolcetto d'Alba I Pari (2011)
Comments: 5000 bottles, produced Fermented in cement with natural yeast, then aged in stainless steel and cement. Deeply aromatic with early violet notes joined by aromas of spicy, aging pork sausages, a little smoke and small red fruits. Perhaps  a touch sweet on entry, this turns round and juicy on the palate with significant tannins for Dolcetto. Delivering a little black berry fruit and sour cherries on the palate along, a little clay earth this ends with a long, sapid and mineral driven finish. A wine that is bracing, fruity and fairly serious. 88pts
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13 Vajra Dolcetto d'Alba (2011)
Comments: All SS, different vineyards from Novello, Sinio, Barolo, Vergne,  Serralunga Very pretty on the nose  complex, gently fruit and wide open with a blend of cherry, a hint of blueberry, woodsy spice and herb fruit. On entry this is bright, fresh and vivid in the mouth with slightly edgy, very pure floral, wild sage and juniper accented red berry fruit. Some mild tannins offer a bit of support but don’t get in the way of enjoying this flora,l fresh and fruity Dolcetto. 88pts
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14 Luciano Sandrone Dolcetto d'Alba (2012)
Comments: Tank sample of final blend A little redux, cleans up with some air showing  nice bitter cherry and herb fruit. A bit spicy in the mouth this seems a bit brighter and leaner than the 2011 with nice cherry skin fruit. Ultimately it should turn out to be a bit simpler but with softer tannins and the similar lowish acid, but in a fresher, more precise and fruit driven style.  I prefer this to the eleven. 88pts
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  • 1308614azoto If a wine is as "good as it gets," please explain to me why the point score is only 92 points? If this wine is a benchmark bottle of this type of wine, then perhaps it merits a score of 100? Further, were all of these wines tasted side-by-side or are these simply random 'snapshots'? Thanks.

  • 532433brujazz I'd like to cast a vote for an outsider. Oregon's Ponzi Winery's Dolcetto is just scrumptious. Loaded with a tremendous blast of fruit and possessing a moderate amount of complexity, it really cuts the mustard for the varietal. Plus it doesn't cost a bundle.

  • 880703teddz Don't know if "wet dog" is one of those reductive aromas, but it's something I've often noted in dolcettos. For me, I don't need gobs of extract (or gobs of dollars) in a dolcetto. Let's face it, this is normally a trattoria staple, not something to gush over as though it's a 20 year Barolo. Fresh fruit (I like the boysenberry descriptor), not much tannin. And burgers betcha that's a good match. Nice Dolcetto d"Alba in my market by Sergio Grimaldi for $13. Probably wouldn't crack 86 points in any critic's book, but it suits me just fine.

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