Humph! Wine lovers often give Dolcetto the cold shoulder in Piemonte. This rather maligned grape perpetually seems to play second fiddle (along with Barbera) to the exalted Nebbiolo. But in Dogliani, just south of Barolo, Dolcetto has had DOCG status since 2005. Maybe that’s as much to do with political savvy as anything else. Be that as it may, try this wine from Cascina Corte, and you might think twice the next time before you turn your nose up.
Cascina Corte was bought in 2001 by Amalia Battaglia and Sandro Barosi, who both left their non-wine jobs in Turin. The property dates back to the 17th century, and had been abandoned for more than 30 years. Sandro and Amalia faced the threefold challenge of restoring the farmhouse, restoring the old vines, and constructing a cellar. They produced their first vintage in 2003, with the help of agronomist Gian Piero Romana, and enologist Beppe Caviola. Today they work with 6 hectares of vineyards: 40% Dolcetto, 40% Barbera, and 20% Nebbiolo.
Pirochetta Vecchie Vigne is made from 60-year-old Dolcetto vines planted on clay, blue tufa, and limestone at 480m. Hand harvested. Natural fermentation in stainless steel vats, followed by 18 months of ageing. The wine sees another 2 months in the bottle before release. 13.5% ABV.
Savoury earthy notes and pencil shavings cover up the fruit. There is a denseness that I associate with Mourvèdre. Sweetness comes through towards the end in the form of faint tobacco and violet. More floral than fruity. No oak.
Despite Dolcetto’s reputation for low acidity, this wine is bursting with it. There is an initial explosion of mouth-puckering red currant. The mid-palate gives some reprieve, with sweeter fruit notes of cherry and peach. Smokey tar savouriness from the old vines adds an extra layer of pleasure. The medium body and slightly grainy tannins is noticeable. But the acidity returns towards the end, giving the wine an overall elegant impression. Definitely a food wine!
Frank Corsten has made a video of the 2008 harvest.
Integrity Wines import the wines to the US.
Within the EU, you can order the wine from Tannico.