We go back to Piedmont for this wine, with our first look at the third grape in the holy trinity of Piedmontese red grapes: Dolcetto. The characteristics of Dolcetto, along with it’s place in Piedmontese culture, are very similar to that of Barbera. It is an easy drinking, every day (or night) wine. It is typically very fruit forward, with not a lot of acidity (which is one way it differs from Barbera) and subtle tannins. Dolcetto wines are almost always made to drink young and are perfect for a casual weekday meal. There are seven DOC/DOCG regions in Piedmont for the Dolcetto grape, though only a couple are well known in the US. Of those, this region, the Dolcetto d’Alba DOC, is probably the most well known. As you might guess, this region overlaps with the Barbera d’Alba DOC and the Nebbiolo d’Alba DOC, as well as many of the other regions in the Langhe area.
Because of it’s easy drinking nature and fruit forward profile, Dolcetto wines often draw comparisons to Beaujolais wines, which come from just south of Burgundy in France and are made from the Gamay grape. The comparison, while understandable, isn’t quite fair. Beaujolais is often so soft and fruit forward it can taste almost like grape juice, and while Dolcetto can have some of these same qualities, it is usually offset by more spicy and bitter notes, giving the wine a little more depth and complexity.
This wine comes from the producer Elio Filippino, made from grapes grown in their Sorì Capelli vineyard, on the Serra Capelli hill in Neive. It has a deep, clear appearance with dark ruby coloring. The nose has a medium intensity to it, with notes of plum, cherry, raspberry, spice, and a bit of earthiness. On the palate this wine is dry, with medium acidity, smooth but very subtle tannins, and a medium/light body. There are notes of red cherry and other red fruits, spice and a bit of black pepper, raspberry, and plum. Compared with other Dolcetto wines I’ve had, this one has nice complexity and is a little more full-bodied than the others (though it is still far from being a full-bodied wine). There is a nice finish, relatively long and smooth.