Can Dolcetto Be A Wine for the Cellar?

May 3, 2012

Dolcetto is a grape that produces very fun and fresh wines in Italy's storied Piedmont region. The name of the grape translates to "little sweet one" and while the wines are dry, they have a charm to them that (in my mind) makes the literal translation of the grape name appropriate to the pleasure you'll find in the bottle. A perfect, unpretentious red wine to grace your dinner table on weeknights full of pizza, pasta, and other casual fare. (I am a big fan of Vietti's Dolcetto from the Alba region of Piedmont, the Tre Vigne.)

And though I think of Dolcetto as a wine for immediate consumption and enjoyment, I was astonished to try multiple vintages produced by San Fereolo (one over a decade old) that were quite good. Tasted blind, I would never have guessed these were Dolcetto. Though Dolcetto will never achieve the reverential and legendary status of Nebbiolo (the grape of Barolo and Barbaresco), it was fascinating to see what a purportedly more humble grape can achieve when tended to in a manner both in the vineyard and in the winery to maximize its potential.