This Year’s Favorite Fall Wine is Dolcetto.
Truth be told my favorite fall wine certainly changes from year to year, but this year I am loving a wine I think is perfect for this season.
Fall is a beautiful transitional time, where we cherish lingering summer days and excitedly anticipate the late crops of the season at our farmers market. At the same time we are stoking ourselves up to endure the coming winter months. This year I am really enjoying a wine very well suited to foster this annual transition, Dolcetto.
It is a perfect wine for dishes of roasted fall root vegetables, and warming stews, an apple stuffed pork roast and the other delicious fall comfort foods we so relish this time of year.
An unsung gem of the epic Piemonte wine region it quietly delivers great pleasure, despite living in the shadow of its more famous kin Nebiolla and Barbara. It has bright warming flavors with depth and explicit yet composed structure. It has intense ruby-red color with dark lilac tones. Depending on the region and producer you will find that some Dolcetta wines will have fragrant but restrained aromas and flavors of plum and red berry, others with more pronounced fruit leaning toward cherry and some with touches of violet and almond. One thing I will tell you let this wine open for at least an hour or decant. Let the beautiful flavors it offers emerge.
Dolcetta, "little sweet one", is made into “standard” table wine but look for the “Superiore” from regions like Dolcetto di Dogliani, Dolcetto d'Alba, Dolcetto d'Asti, and Dolcetto di Diano d'Alba for more pleasure. The wine is not meant to be aged, so drink it young, although I just enjoyed a 2011 Giacomo Grimaldi and after decanting was fabulous.
If you search you can find renowned Pieomte producers like Pio Cesare, Marchesi Di Barola, Claudio Alario, or Domenico Clerico who apply the same skill and finesse they use for making high priced Barolos to Dolcettos that you can enjoy for a fraction of that cost.
I have even served Dolcetto at Thanksgiving with great success, you can’t get any more fall than that.