A cousin to both Nebbiolo and Barbera, Dolcetto is a dark-skinned grape that originates from Piedmont, Italy. Grown almost exclusively in Piedmont, spanning across a little over 6,000 hectares, Dolcetto is often relegated to cooler, high altitude sites that Nebbiolo struggles to thrive in. While a smattering of Dolcetto can also be found in Australia and the US, it’s not enough to make a significant difference when Piedmont accounts for 98% of the varietal. Dolcetto’s name, which means “little sweet one,” is a bit misleading, as it actually produces beautiful dry red wines that have mouthwatering notes of plum, blackberry, cocoa, black pepper, and violets. It’s the perfect companion to rich foods like roasted meat, eggplant parmesan, and pizza.
There are several appellations dedicated to Dolcetto exclusively, but some of the most well-known are: Dolcetto di Dogliani, Dolcetto d’Alba, and Dolcetto d’Asti. While wines from d'Alba tend to be the most common, with rich floral notes of lavender, violets, and almond blossoms, d'Asti produces lighter style Dolcettos. Meanwhile, Dolcetto is Dogliani's main varietal with all the best vineyard sites dedicated to the grape. These wines typically showcase bold, intense notes of black fruit, coffee, and chocolate.
Whet your whistle with these Dolcetto wines:
Grape Photo Courtesy of UC Davis