Italian reds are without a doubt among my favorite wines and I enjoy them on a regular basis. It doesn’t hurt that I love Italian food as well, so pairing is easy. And Piedmont reds are among my favorite Italian reds. Could it be a coincidence that Piedmont has the most DOCs and DOCGs in all of Italy? I usually go for the Barberas though don’t get me wrong I love a nice classy Barolo or Barbaresco. It’s just that such wines illicit a more serious food pairing to match the complexity. All that well-developed tannin and acidity that makes it so wonderfully ageworthy demands a fine meal. So on an everyday-drinking level, the region has many other nice reds that can be quaffed solo and pair well with contemporary fare as well. While my beloved Barbera is light in tannin and more acidic, Dolcetto is more tannic yet still fruit-forward and hence somewhere in the middle. Due to the light acidity, this is a wine best enjoyed young. And like Barbera, its accessible to smaller budgets while not lacking in quality and flavor by any means and are a great value for the money.
While Langhe is most known as the greater de-classified region surrounding Barolo and Barbaresco, it is also home to some tasty Dolcettos. The most common are from one of my favorite Barbera regions – Asti – though Dogliani is the most famous, and is the DOCG of note for the variety. This particular wine is from the greater Langhe appellation.
I tasted and purchased this wine at a charity tasting for a very admirable cause called “Wine into Water” (http://winetowater.org/), a charity now reaching farther and farther, with the purpose of providing clean drinking water for needy people around the world. Approximately 1 in 6 people in the world don’t have access to clean water. The idea was started by a former North Carolina bartender, Doc Hendley. He learned first-hand the effort many communities had to go through just to secure drinking water, that often was not clean enough to drink even if it was accessable. The charity now uses its proceeds to provide water filters and wells in these places. This particular event was hosted by wine merchant Nicholas Roberts.
Ruby in color, on the nose are prune, cherry and soft plum. On the palate the tannins are quite smooth and well-balanced, and tart bold fruit fleshes out the body which is medium but with all that going on feels fuller. It says 13% on the bottle but there’s good alcohol in the back of my throat. There is some floral note as well – rose, perhaps? It is bold but has some of that rustic note you expect in Piedmont wines. I did not pair the wine in this instance but it would be a fine match to some of my favorite Italian cuisine.