Unpolished Grape Series: Dolcetto


Dolcetto, meaning “Sweet Little One,” is a black grape from the Piemonte region of Northwest Italy. Although commonly mistaken as a sweet wine, Dolcetto is made into a concentrated, dry wine with pronounced fruit and spicy flavor characteristics. Premium expressions are found in the Dolcetto d’Alba DOC, Dolcetto di Dogliani DOC, and Dolcetto di Dogliani Superiore DOCG regions.

This grape has medium acidity, medium alcohol, and medium to high tannin. It is known for its red and black fruit flavors, including strawberry, red cherry, plum, blueberry, blackberry, and prune. Dolcetto also has subtle hints of white pepper, herbs, violet and almond notes. Barrel-aged Dolcettos pick up secondary flavors from the barrels like cocoa and baking spice. Premium expressions can age for many years in the bottle.

Piemonte, Italy

Dolcetto is most commonly planted in Italy’s Piemonte region, close to the famed wine villages of Barolo and Barbaresco. However, the Nebbiolo grape that grows in those towns require extensive aging by law. Dolcetto, on the other hand, does not have to meet those same minimum aging requirements and can get into the hands of consumers faster. With the grape being grown on similar terroir as the highly esteemed Barolo and Barbaresco, the wines often have exceptional quality for a fraction of the price.

Food Pairings

Dolcetto pairs well with an array of meats, such as BBQ ribs, burgers, roasted chicken, Prosciutto and sausages. It also compliments tomato-based entrees like spaghetti, lasagna, and pizza. It is often enjoyed along savory dishes such as mushroom pasta, roasted eggplant and enchiladas.


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