Dolcetto is a wine that has long been associated with the little town of Dogliani. One of the wine’s local promoters was a past president of the Italian Republic, Luigi Einaudi, who was born in the area and owned Dolcetto vineyards there. The vineyards of Dogliani DOCG are among the southernmost in Piedmont, reaching to the foothills of the Maritime Alps. There are nearly 7,500 acres of Dolcetto here.
|Grape varieties:||dolcetto 100%|
|Delimited zone:||About 20 designated towns in the Langhe region.|
|Type:||Dogliani, Dogliani Superiore.|
|Aging requirements:||12 months for Superiore|
|Actual alcohol level of wine:||12.0% minimum (13.0% for Superiore).|
Dolcetto is one of Piedmont’s most widespread indigenous vines, representing more than 13% of all plantings in the region. It is cultivated just about everywhere in Piedmont, yet is virtually unknown beyond the region’s borders. Dolcetto grows best in calcareous marly terrains on hillsides from between 800 and 2,000 feet above sea level, but can ripen successfully even above 2,300 feet in altitude. Its ideal terroir is found in the Langhe. Despite not being particularly vigorous nor possessing special resistance to vine diseases, Dolcetto’s popularity has persisted owing to its versatility: the grapes are good to eat fresh or can be cooked to obtain a kind of jam, called cognà, which is eaten with local cheeses. And, of course, Dolcetto wine is a simple but delicious product of the local hills.
Dolcetto had its heyday during the 1970s and ’80s, when vineyards were extended owing to increased demand for the wine in factory canteens. These days, consumption of Dolcetto has somewhat decreased, although it still remains a staple among local people, who wouldn’t dream of including any other wine on their dinner tables.
The vine’s name derives from the exceptional sweetness of the grape, but is misleading as far as the wine is concerned, as this is definitely dry and moderately acidic and possesses a pleasant bitterish after taste. Dolcetto is a most delicate and demanding grape, performing better on higher hills, in thinner soils, and on non-monocultural land. The vine can give rise to both fresh, light wines capable of adaptation to any meal, or fuller-bodied and well-structured ones that tolerate up to seven years of aging, depending on the area of cultivation and to how they are developed in the winery.
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