The Dolcetto Grape Variety

Dolcetto is a typical red grape variety from Piemonte (Italy). Before phylloxera, Dolcetto was the most extensively grown grape variety in Piemonte.

The name translates as “little sweet one,” alluding not to the wine, which is often dry, but to the level of sweetness that remains in the grape at harvest.

Some believe this grape variety is original to Dogliani, as the first reference of it dates back to the 16th century in that Piemonte commune. Others think that the grape variety originated in the slopes of Monferrato. However, even now, the exact origin of Dolcetto is unknown.

The advantages of Dolcetto for Piemonte wineries

Today, the majority of Dolcetto grape variety plantings are situated in Langhe and the southern section of Monferrato. Growers apprciate this grape variety because it ripens before Nebbiolo and Barbera. Dolcetto also ripens at cooler and higher elevations than Barbera and Nebbiolo.

This enables Dolcetto wines to be released sooner, providing a pleasant source of revenue while other wines remain in the cellar.

Main Characteristics of wines elaborated based on the Dolcetto grape variety

Piemonte’s wines made from the Dolcetto grape variety are typically deep in color with aromatic grapey and black fruit tastes.

The palate is dominated by luscious plum, almond, and licorice flavors. The grapes soft and spherical, and it is usually low in acid. The grape’s pronounced tannins help to create a pleasantly bitter finish.

Traditionally, Dolcetto was made in a basic, easy-drinking style and intended to be enjoyed young.

In recent decades, however, numerous producers have created fuller-bodied, more structured, and sophisticated wines with some ageing potential.

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