Based on the characteristics of the grape, like its tannic and aromatic components, as well as on historical farming traditions, a single grape variety can give birth to different types of wines, each capable of exalting different grape characteristics. In our area, Dolcetto can become two very different types of wine whose dissimilarities depend on the vineyards that were chosen and on the winemaking and aging techniques used in the cellar.
Thus, Dogliani DOCG gives us a fresher, more direct interpretation that exalts the primary fruit and is meant for early consumption, while Dogliani Superiore DOCG is often a more concentrated, spicier wine with hints of undergrowth and a longer aging potential.
This is the classic version of Dogliani which focuses on the wine’s fruitiness and directness.
Through appropriate cultivation practices and vinification processes, the more straightforward characteristics of the variety are brought out: an incredible explosion of fruit, low acidity, and a contrasting almond-flavoured finish which make it pleasantly approachable. It is not destined for aging and some wineries bottle their wines as early as six months after the harvest.
Among the different varieties grown, Dolcetto was inevitably considered the quickest source of income for wineries, as it was the earliest to be released on the market. This economic situation was yet another factor that contributed to Dolcetto being interpreted as an easy-drinking, direct wine.
It has traditionally been successfully sold in the northwestern regions of Italy, mainly in Piedmont, Liguria, Lombardia, and Valle d’Aosta, and occasionally in larger Italian cities like Rome and Florence. The more structured Superiore version tends to be especially successful in foreign markets rather than domestic ones.
In the hospitality industry, Dolcetto is normally paired with uncomplicated, straightforward dishes with which an easy-drinking, less alcoholic, and immediately comprehensible wine is preferred. However, even in its classic version, this wine is able to embody all of the characteristics of Piedmont wines, with evident vertical qualities that do not seek universal approval, as is the often the case in other regions.
Its slightly bitter almond finish makes this the perfect wine to drink throughout a meal thanks to its ability to pair with a great variety of dishes and to cleanse the palate.
Representing an alternative interpretation of Dolcetto, this version focuses on its less typical, less evident characteristics, which can disorientate even the most loyal consumers and their expectations.
During the vinification process as well as in the vineyards, we strive to obtain more complex characteristics. By allowing the grapes to reach the perfect level of ripeness and by carefully extracting the polyphenols, deeper and less evident aromas begin to develop, adding balsamic and spicy notes to the fruity scents of maraschino cherries and mulberries. The vinification choices are also influenced by the medium-long ageing period that these wines go through. In some wineries, the wine may be bottled 2 or even 3 years after the harvest, something that particularly benefits the shares held in foreign markets.
This interpretation differs from the more contemporary one, which, since farming began to focus more on quantity beginning in the 1970s, has seen Dolcetto as being straightforward and easy-drinking. On the other hand, Dogliani Superiore Docg has an important historical heritage and presents itself as a way to bring back the traditional low-yield farming practices of the past, producing a structured Dolcetto with great body. This tradition is brought into the 21st century with more modern styles by a few of the more historic wineries. The wine’s features demonstrate the knowledge and awareness of a territory that is capable of expressing more complex, highly structured wines and that has focused all of its efforts and dedication on this particular variety.
The consumption of this wine is both interregional and international. It is particularly appreciated where everyday consumption is satisfied by the local production and where consumers have little knowledge of what this wine has gone through in the past 50 years and.
Typical consumers fall into a medium-high category and are able and willing to evaluate the wine’s quality. The information about this wine, unfortunately, does not yet reach many other potential consumers who might be able to appreciate its distinctive character.
The higher wine markets segments, who consume fine wines because of the prestige of the brand name, perceive a lack of added value when it comes to Dogliani.
Within the Italian restaurant industry, the wine needs to be positioned differently, especially in the minds of consumers. Some higher-end restaurants that had always used it for more informal business lunches, when an elegant wine with low alcohol content was requested, are now unsure of where to place it. Other restaurateurs, however, clearly appreciate the opportunity to offer a high-quality wine without an excessively high price or a cumbersome image that doesn’t necessarily need to be consumed during special occasions. These wines are generally appreciated more by those who are curious and eager to learn rather than by those who prefer being formal and conservative in their wine choices.