Dolcetto - tannic, fresh and lively dry red wines.
Dolcetto is one of the favorite wines of the Piedmontese, for whom it accompanies almost every meal. The vines are grown everywhere in this region of northern Italy. The wide distribution underlines the appreciation and importance of this autochthonous red wine variety, cultivated in Piedmont for centuries. Let yourself be inspired by the dry Dolcetto red wines and learn more about the characteristics of the noble drops here at Babarolo!
Red grape variety with a long tradition in Piedmont
Where the origin of Dolcetto lies, is no longer known exactly. Some wine experts suspect it in France, others see it in the Italian Marquisate of Monferrato around the year 1000. In any case, the grape variety is already very old, because it is demonstrably cultivated since the 14th century in Piedmont and Liguria. Until today it has a great importance for the wine world.
In the past, Dolcetto was often blended with other red wine varieties to produce noble drops with more depth and complexity. In recent decades, however, there has been a growing interest in the production of single varietal Dolcetto red wines that excellently showcase the unique characteristics of the grape. You will find an exquisite selection of just these here in Babarolo's online store.
Mysterious name - or: why dolce does not always mean sweet
As far as the name Dolcetto is concerned, it is interesting to note that to this day it is not clear how it actually came about. Especially since the term can also be very misleading. For dolce in Italian means sweet and Dolcetto correspondingly the small sweet - but the red wines are anything but that, but are rather developed dry.
The most common explanation for the unusual name is that the berries of the Dolcetto table grapes taste insanely sweet when they have reached their phenolic maturity. It is possible, however, that the name came about through comparison with other indigenous grape varieties, which are characterized by more tart notes.
In addition, wine guides sometimes say that Dolcetto derives from the dialect word dusset, meaning ridge or hill. This indicates that the grape variety grows on the same hills as Nebbiolo, but not on the sunny side, but on the shady side. Because Dolcetto basically ripens faster.
Good to know: No matter how sweet the ripe Dolcetto berry may taste, the Dolcetto red wine produced is always pleasantly dry, contrary to its name.
What distinguishes Dolcetto red wines
As an indigenous grape variety, Dolcetto enjoys a very high level of acceptance and popularity among Piedmontese. You can find it mainly in southern Piedmont in the provinces of Alessandria and Cuneo. Basically, the vines do not make high demands on the site and ripen comparatively quickly. The red grape variety is therefore preferably grown in the hilly areas of Piedmont - and there often on the shady sides of the vineyards. Too much heat and too rapid ripening would be detrimental to the quality of the berries.
From country wine to top quality
Traditionally, Dolcetto is drunk young and impresses with its freshness and fruity aroma. The red wine is low in acidity but high in tannins and usually has a slightly bitter but very pleasant almond note in the finish. Although Dolcetto continues to be seen by locals as an everyday country wine, the style of this noble drop has steadily evolved due to the initiative of some winemakers.
Today there are seven different growing areas in Piedmont and one in Liguria, where the grape variety is called Ormeasco. They all have the DOC or DOCG quality designation. Dogliani, Diano d'Alba, Dolcetto d'Alba and Ovada in particular are known for their expressive wines. For some years now, very high quality and long-lived varietal Dolcetto red wines with complexity, fullness and balance have been produced.
There are 7 DOC or DOCG regions for Dolcetto wines in Piedmont, although the latter has become very rare:
- Dolcetto d'Acqui
- Dolcetto d'Alba
- Dolcetto d'Asti
- Dolcetto di Diano d'Alba
- Dolcetto di Dogliani
- Dolcetto d'Ovada
- Dolcetto delle Langhe Monregalesi
The most important facts about Dolcetto at a glance
✓ Wine style: always dry
✓ Grape variety: 100% Dolcetto
✓ Origin: Piedmont
✓ Color: ruby red
✓ Twill: velvety soft, round
✓ Bouquet: intensely fruity
✓ Aromas: cherries, plums, dark berries, licorice, bitter almonds.
✓ Tannin content: high
✓ Acidity: low
✓ Alcohol content: at least 11.5 percent by volume
✓ Ideal serving temperature: 13 to 16 °C
Buy first class Dolcetto red wines online at Babarolo
Here in the Babarolo online store we have a select range of high quality Dolcetto red wines for you at fair prices. We purchase the noble drops directly from the local winemakers and thus support the traditional artisanal production of small family farms.
If you would like to experience even more of the top wines of the Piedmontese (wine) culture, why not try our Barolo wines, Barbaresco wines and Roero wines made from the Nebbiolo grape variety. In addition, you will find other red wines from Piedmont such as the popular Barbera wines!
3 frequently asked questions and their answers
Should Dolcetto wines be decanted?
Yes, decanting is recommended but only for high quality and complex Dolcetto wines. This clears the wine of sediment and possible impurities that may have accumulated in the neck of the bottle during storage. In addition, decanting can help intensify the aromas and flavors of the wine by exposing it to oxygen.
How long should a good Dolcetto be aged?
A good Dolcetto wine can age for up to five years or more, depending on the vintage. However, the grape variety is generally not intended for long aging, as it tends to be fruity and fresh compared to other red wines and can quickly lose aromas and flavor. However, some high-quality Dolcetto wines can certainly tolerate a longer aging period and develop with age. The exact length of time depends on various factors such as vintage, style, storage conditions, and personal taste.
What dishes go well with Dolcetto?
Dolcetto is a versatile red wine that you can enjoy with many dishes. Because of its fruity aromas and high tannin content, it is particularly well suited to fatty and medium-heavy dishes. Here are some dishes that go well with Dolcetto:
- Antipasti of all kinds
- Pasta, rice and soup dishes
- pizza with tomatoes, mushrooms and spicy meats such as salami or ham
- Grilled food such as sausages or poultry
- Fresh cheese or moderately matured cheeses with a firm texture