Dolcetto Regret? No! 07/22/11
I read an article in the Wine Spectator recently about drinking red wines (chilled) in summertime, and how we should all start doing it. Certainly I’ve got a thing for reds, but the societal trend has always been to seek out whites and roses when the heat gets…hot. And if my 23 years of life have taught me anything, it’s that you should always – ALWAYS – cave to peer pressure, no matter how slight it may be.
But the Wine Spectator has a whole lot of subscribers, way more even than I do, possibly owing to its innovative format as a “magazine” – a sort of extra-glossy printout bound together at one end, and delivered to people through something called the “mail.” In any case, it’s a pretty safe bet that when Matt Kramer broadcasts to his readership that they should chill their reds, more than a few people are going to do it. So I think I’m still safe.
One of his recommended red varietals that struck me as a good, yet thitherto unthought of idea was Dolcetto, one of the Piedmont region’s mellower offerings. Piedmont is, of course, home to my all-time favorite grape, the king of Italian wines, Nebbiolo; as well as the assertive Barbera, whom I haven’t really gotten to know very well yet, admittedly. But Dolcetto is often referred to as Piedmont’s little sweetie, perhaps because its name translates literally as “little sweet one” in Italian.
The Dolcetto I chose for the day – in part because of the article, and in part because of the #Bteam schedule (there’s that peer pressure again!) was the Cantine Bava Controvento 2008 Dolcetto D’Alba, available for $12 at a PA state store, and in fact the only one I could find for under $15. Having popped it in the fridge immediately upon purchase, I managed to resist the urge to drink it for at least a couple of hours.
In the glass it poured a light, only slightly murky maroon, with aromas of cherry, strawberry and a hint of almond. The palate was full of acidity, giving an impression more akin to boysenberry than either of the fruits from before. Almond notes, on the other hand, were more pronounced here than they had been, so it was a pretty fair exchange. Tannins were minimal – in contrast to the powerful (some might even say authoritarian) tannins that so characterize young Nebbiolo, Dolcetto’s neighbor in Piedmont.
Simple but pure, I give this wine a respectable thumbs up. And stay tuned for my next review, which will feature a whole bunch of #Bteam grapes you’ve never heard of!