NYTimes: Asimov Talks Dolcetto

Eric’s article in today’s NYTimes is on Dolcetto:

He (rightfully so) heaps scorn on people who must drink only the classic iconic wines and foreswear more plebian wines like Dolcetto.
Interesting that their two top Dolcettos are Dolcetto di Dogliani…may favorite area for Dolcetto.

I can understand the story he wants to write (as Tom puts it, “He (rightfully so) heaps scorn on people who must drink only the classic iconic wines and foreswear more plebian wines like Dolcetto”), and I often find myself loving the little-known underdog grapes in major wine regions.

But, while I love Piedmont and Piedmontese wines, I’ve rarely cared for Dolcetto. I’m not sure why – its profile on paper seems like one that I would like – but I guess I find it too bitter and raw most of the time. I’ve had a few that stood out for being decent, but nothing that excited me, and I am capable of being excited by inexpensive and unheralded wines.

Oh well, not everything is for everyone.

I’ve loved Dolcetto in the past. I used to regularly buy a 6-pack of Giacosa’s Dolcetto every year. However, and this might just be my personal tastes, Dolcetto hasn’t really been doing it for me lately (meaning the last few years). I think that I’m finding that the middle-ground has been lost. Either producers are shooting for ultra traditional country wine, or ultra extracted, super-sexed wine. I don’t really like either style.

I do give Asimov credit for pushing a lesser known grape, like Dolcetto… However, I can’t help but feel that its qualities would be lost on the average NYTimes reader.

Dolcetto has a weird place. It’s not fancy like the big Nebbiolo-based ‘B’ wines, nor is it as obviously food pair-able as the lesser ‘B’ (Barbera) - though I tend to steer clear of more tricked-out versions. I like Asimov’s list (and sell/have sold a few of them), but it takes a little more TLC to sell, for sure.

I usually prefer Barbera, as I tend to like a little more acidity in my wine. But, lately I’ve been enjoying the 2009 Poderi Colla Dolcetto d’Alba “Pian Balbo”, which I picked up locally for ~$14. I gave a few bottles to casual wine drinker friends for the holidays, as well, and they seemed to be well received.

Tom, you have hit the nail on the head. Dogliani is the premier zone for Dolcetto. Most that don’t like it simply have not had a good one (including me for a long time, but my excuse was ready and frequent access to Nebbiolos and Barberas). It can be a terrific and versatile food wine.

In Dogliani, Abbona’s Papa Celso, Francesco Boschis’s Sori San Martino and Vigne dei Prey, Chionetti’s Briccolero, Einaudi’s I Filari and Vigna Tecc, Pecchenino’s Bricco Botti Superiore, San Luigi and Siri d’ Jermu and San Romano’s Vigna del Pilone are the ones to try. Only three of these RETAIL for more than $25. There are some good Dolcetti d’ Alba, too, but finding one is far riskier business, as Dolcetto is to Dogliani as Nebbiolo is to Barolo and Barbaresco…