Ruby red Dolcetto is a typical wine for everyday drinking in the Italian province of Piedmont. Dolcetto vines are also planted outside of northern Italy, for example in France, the USA, New Zealand and Australia. Thanks to their low alcohol content and acidity, Dolcetto wines are easily digestible and are therefore especially popular with wine lovers who have sensitive stomachs.
History and origins of the Dolcetto grape variety
Although Dolcetto is considered to be an indigenous Piedmontese grape variety, there are a number of different theories as to where it originated. Some ampelographers trace its origins to France, from where it found its way to the Piedmontese county of Montferrat in the 11th century. Yet others believe that it comes from Dogliani in the south of Piedmont. There is no firm evidence for either hypothesis.
What is certain, however, is that the variety was first listed – under the name Dozetti – on an inventory in Dogliani at the end of the 16th century, and was mentioned by Count Nuvolone from Montferrat at the end of the 18th century. From there the grape quickly spread to the west of Italy and was also taken by Italian emigrants to California and Australia, where there are now vines that are already 150 years old.
Geography: distribution of Dolcetto
Wine made from the Dolcetto grape may be a traditional everyday wine for the rural population of Piedmont but it is grown and drunk everywhere in the world. It can be found in France, New Zealand and Australia, as well as in the Californian winegrowing regions Mendocino County, Russian River Valley, Napa Valley, Santa Cruz Mountains and Santa Barbara County. In its native country Italy, Dolcetto is one of the most important red wines in Piedmont alongside Nebbiolo and Barbera. It is also cultivated in Liguria and Lombardy. There are seven Dolcetto appellations with DOC or DOCG quality labels:
Dolcetto di Diano d’Alba
Dolcetto di Dogliani
Dolcetto delle Langhe Monregalesi
Deep-flavoured Dolcetto d’Alba enjoys an excellent reputation as a quality wine, but there are other Dolcetto varietals that are equally good.
Wine made from the Dolcetto grape
Do not be misled by its name. Although Dolcetto means “little sweet one” in Italian, this wine is by no means sweet. On the contrary, this grape produces dry, harmonious, well-balanced wines with a hint of bitter almonds. Characteristic of Dolcetto is its fruity flavour combined with well-balanced acidity and discreet tannins. Its bouquet is reminiscent of blackberries, plums and a hint of liquorice.
Dolcetto is a wine that is best enjoyed young as it does not age particularly well. It is ideal after a year’s barrel-ageing. Thanks to its light, harmonious nature, low acidity and alcohol content, the wine is easily digestible and goes well with a wide range of food.
Try it for yourself! Order this ruby red Piedmontese wine from Mondovino.