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Dolcetto, also known as ‘the little one’ in Italian, is a black grape variety native to Piedmont in the northwest region of Italy. This varietal produces a wine that is tannic with a slight fruity taste with relatively low levels of acidity. The dry variety of the wine is generally consumed around two to three years after it has been released. Dolcetto di Dogliani, and di Dogliani Superiore are the two popular Italian red wine varieties of the wine.

Origin of Dolcetto Wine

The wine is believed to have its roots in France and then brought to Monferrato in Italy around the 11th century. However, there is another theory that says that the varietal was first grown in the Piedmontese village in Dogliani. Then by mid 16th century, cultivating the ‘dozzatti’ grape was forbidden by an ordinance, which however did not stop the Arboro family from stocking on the wine in their cellar, around early 17th century. Then in 1700, Barnaba Centurioni gifted this wine to George II the King of Great Britain.

Regions Producing the Wine

Dolcetto is native the Piedmont region of northwest Italy, especially in large amounts in Alba and Ovada towns followed by Dogliani, Diano d’Alba and province of Cuneo. The varietal is also grown in other regions such as Liguria under the name ‘Ormeasco’ and in Oltrepo Pravese as Nebbiolo. The grape is also cultivated in parts of California under the name Dolce Noire for the wine. Since the 1860’s Australia too been cultivating Dolce Noire.

Preparing the Wine

Dolcetto is known to produce dark, almost blackish wine that has black cherry and licorice flavors with slight hints of prunes and the bitterness of almonds. The color of the wine is a result of the maceration, which not only increases the depth of wine color, but also the tannin content, which is also responsible for the bitterness of the wine. Though considered a sweet, this wine is a dry wine and requires very less maceration because of the high amount of anthocyanins in the grape. ‘Wine fault ‘of ‘reduction’ can occur during fermentation of the wine.

Food Pairing of the Dolcetto Wine

This wine is light and easy, red wine that pairs well with Italian foods such as pasta, pizza and other tomato based foods. The wine has a flavor which is a combination of the fruitiness of Zinfandel and the soft tannins of Merlot, making it ideal to pair with foods that are served with these wines. Even pickled foods and spicy foods, especially of the Asian cuisine go well with the wine.

Ageing and Serving of the Wine

Dolcetto can be drunk when released; however, it can develop for another two to three years if left in a cellar.