The just completed 2019 Vinitaly offered an adequate showcase for the 12 denominations of this incredible excellence. It is perhaps the wine with the deepest roots in the hills of the Piedmont Region and its inhabitants. The “Dolcetto” is the wine of the daily meal, the wine that, with the Barbera, once the “Turinese” and the “Milanese” went to buy in good quantities combining quality and price without too much marketing.
From its grape variety, throughout the Piedmont, twelve different Denominations are born: ranging from the DOCG Dogliani, Diano d’Alba and Ovada to the DOCs scattered on the slopes of the Langhe and Monferrato, of the Colli Tortonesi and of the Asti area, of the Acquese and del Pinerolese. All shades for a product of great personality and for a considerable number of bottles: over 20 million those produced with the 2018 vintage from the vineyards that extend over 3100 hectares and represent almost 10% of the subalpine vineyard surface.
The name of the vine derives from the particular sweetness of the pulp of the grapes, but the wines obtained are exclusively dry and decidedly dry, characterized by a modest acidity and a pleasant bitter aftertaste. And even this discrepancy does not help to clarify, especially among foreign consumers. Depending on the area of cultivation and the type of vinification, the “Dolcetto” gives rise to fresh and drinkable wines that accompany the daily table thanks to their softness, the freshness of taste and the ability to adapt to many different foods. Or to wines of more advanced shape, body and structure, able to age a few years thanks to the wise work in the vineyard and to a correct management in the cellar by the producers.
But the fortune of “Dolcetto”, today, is a bit tarnished. Despite a consolidated tradition and a golden age, between the end of the seventies and the eighties in which the prices of the grapes competed with those of the Nebbiolo from Barolo, prices stabilized downwards and each time risked falling into a increasingly difficult market. Thus, in the last few years this wine has become a sort of “special surveillance” in the Piedmontese wine world dominated by great red wines and by successful whites like Gavi and Arneis. If there is no doubt about the quality of the product, on the front of sales and promotion, help is needed to take the path of re-launch.
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