Wine Pages

Mike Steinberger's Wine Diarist


Me Loves Dolcetto

While many of my wine-loving friends (and clients) continue to subscribe to the notion that "bigger is better," I'm perfectly happy with flavors that I can enjoy with the more subtle foods I tend to eat. That's one reason I find Dolcetto so appealing. I recently had a bottle of 2005 Siri D'Jermu Dolcetto di Dogliani from the Pecchenino brothers, Orlando and Attilio. While a bit riper than other Dolcettos (especially those from Alba), this wine is simply delicious.

Dolcetto is one of the less obscure varieties found in Italy's Piedmonte region. It is often said that in Piedmont, they MAKE Barolo & Barbaresco, but DRINK Barbera and Dolcetto. I certainly understand why - first, both Barbera and Dolcetto can be enjoyed much earlier in life than Nebbiolo (the grape of both Barolo & Barbaresco), and, second, they both offer a wide range of food accessibility, a trait I value in quality wine.

For years, I've considered Barbera my go-to grape for all tomato-based sauces. Dolcetto came into the picture more recently for me, and has been welcomed to my table all four months of the year with a wide range of foods. Variations of the grape have expressed everything from blueberries to sweet baking spices, and have been winning wines and great values far more often than not. My advice: find a Dolcetto, chill it down a bit, and slup it up with your next dinner.