Giacomo Fenocchio Dolcetto d’Alba DOC 2016

Estate: The Fenocchio family has been producing wine from their land in the heart of the Bussia in Monforte d’Alba since 1894. In 1964, Giacomo Fenocchio took over for the estate with the goal of crafting the finest wines in Barolo, so he purchased prime parcels in some of the best crus in the Langhe. Today, Giacomo’s son Claudio heads the estate and continues his father’s tradition of crafting character driven wines. Considered as one of the next stars in Barolo, Claudio is known for his minimalist, non-internationalist approach. He makes 11 different wines from 14 hectares of vineyards. His wines are renowned for their “level of terroir clarity that is only found in the top echelon of producers”.

Winemaking: Following agricultural practices passed on for 5 generations, the estate is both organic and sustainable. Grapes are from 30 year old vines in a 1 hectare vineyard in front of the cantina in Bussia. Fermentation and maceration on the skins for 10 days, aged for six months in stainless steel.

Tasting Notes: Red-violet in colour with aromas of cherry, licorice, black pepper and smoky earth. Cherry, cranberry, blackberry, a streak of sour cherry, along with fresh acidity are highlighted by baking spices and subtle earth notes. The finish is dry and fruity, displaying the distinctive refreshing bitterness of the Dolcetto grape. Friendly and well balanced, fantastic with a wide variety of dishes.

100% Dolcetto
Dolcetto d’Alba DOC
Italy
Estate Bottled by Giacomo Fenocchio S.S.A.
13% Alcohol
$14
Enjoy now thru 2019

Rated 91 points by Wine Spectator

Boschis Francesco ‘Vigne in Pianezzo’ Dolcetto di Dogliani DOCG 2015

Estate: The estate’s winemaking history began in 1919 when Francesco Boschis planted the first vines. Located in Dogliani, just south of Barolo, in Piedmont, northern Italy, and headed by Mario and Simona Boschis with their sons Marco, Paolo and Chiara. The estate consists of 11 hectares of vineyards along with beehives for making honey. Outside of the family, there are no other employees. “The family prefers to keep their property small and to concentrate on the vineyards that are most suitable for Dolcetto and for the other varieties that are grown, such as Grignolino, Freisa and Barbera.” The family is known for their complex, powerful, age worthy wines. Gambero Rosso, an Italian food and wine magazine stated: “What sets the wines from this lovely farm estate apart is their consistency, and on occasion rusticity, with intense, vigorously flavoursome fruit”.

The watercolors and engravings on the labels are from local artist Teresita Terreno. Each label depicts a particular season and distinctive feature of the family’s land. The strawberries on the label of Dogliani Vigne in Pianezzo represent its release in Spring [the first wine of the range released].

Winemaking: Grapes are sourced from environmentally friendly farmed vineyards located on Pianezzo hill, planted in 1985 and 1997 with calcareous, clay soils. Fermented on the skins for 6-7 days in stainless steel, aged 8-10 months in fiberglass lined cement and steel tanks, unfiltered.

Tasting Notes: Red-violet in colour with raspberry, cherry, dusty earth, soft spice and floral aromas. Tart, juicy, berry fruit is complimented by fresh acidity and dry tannins. Black cherry fuses with almond skin on the distinctive finish. Fantastic with a wide variety of dishes.

100% Dolcetto
Dogliani DOCG
Italy
Estate Bottled by Azienda Agricola Boschis Francesco
13.5% Alcohol
$13
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Comm. G.B. Burlotto Dolcetto d’Alba DOC 2016

Estate: The Burlotto estate was founded in the mid-1800’s by Giovan Battista Burlotto [called “il Commendatore” by friends and family]. A pioneering winemaker in the region, he was one of the very first in Barolo to sell his wines in bottle [rather than a cask or demijohn]. He was the official provider of wine to the Royal House of Savoy, and put his tiny village of Verduno, in Piedmont, on the map as a region of high quality wines. Following his death in 1927, the estate “faded into obscurity”.

Today, G.B Burlotto’s great-great-grandson Fabio Alessandria has not only revitalized the 15 hectare estate, but has become renowned as an artisanal, traditionalist winemaker. In addition to his stunning Barolo, he is reviving and safeguarding indigenous grapes such as Freisa and Pelaverga. His character driven wines are famous for their purity and elegance.

Winemaking: The estate is organic but not certified. Striving to be as natural as possible, minimal intervention is observed in both the vineyards and cellar.

Tasting Notes: Transparent ruby red in colour with aromas of raspberry, strawberry and soft spice. Fresh wild berries are given a shake of crushed black peppercorn and layered with bright acidity and silky tannins. Red fruits follow thru to the bitter, crunchy finish. Super tasty on its own or with a wide variety of dishes.

100% Dolcetto
Dolcetto d’Alba DOC
Italy
Bottled by Burlotto Marina
12.5% Alcohol
$19
Enjoy now thru 2019

 

Marziano Abbona ‘San Luigi’ Dogliani DOCG 2013

Estate: Although officially founded in 1970, Marziano Abbona and his son Celso began the family estate in the first half of the 20th century. Located in the Langhe of northern Italy, Celso was one of the first winemakers in the Dogliani region to match up exposure, soil type and climate with varietals, particularly the Dolcetto grape, essentially establishing “cru” vineyards. He planted the now renowned Bricco Boriolo vineyard in Santa Lucia de Dogliani. The winery’s flagship wine comes from this vineyard and is named Papà Celso in honour of his achievements.

Upon Celso’s death in 1964, his sons Marziano and Enrico transformed the traditional family wine farm into an official winery, and purchased additional lands in the hills of Monforte d’Alba and Novello. Like their father, they sussed out the importance of that area to a particular grape, Nebbiolo, and were at the front of the race for Barolo production.

In 1999, Mara, Marziano’s daughter, entered the business. Following her in 2008 was her sister Chiara. Today, the vineyards stretch over 52 hectares [128 acres] in Dogliani, Monforte d’Alba and Novello, including some of the most renowned crus vineyards in the Langhe. The vineyards are “divided by land quality according to factors of microclimate, position, and geology”.

Philosophy: “We make traditional wines, and we’re not afraid to say so. We’re proud of our identity. Every wine that knows how to inspire must also know how to tell its story, its own history.”

Winemaking: Grapes are sourced from the sustainably farmed, single estate vineyard of San Luigi. Soils are a mix of sandy loam and clay, with an average vine age of 38 years. Fermented with indigenous yeasts. Aged for 6 months in steel tanks, then 1 month in the bottle at a constant temperature of 14 °C [57 °F] before release.

Tasting Notes: Garnet in colour with inviting aromas of fresh cherry, baking spice and a wisp of coffee. A savoury streak accents cherry, blackberry, black currant and a shake of crushed pink peppercorn. Well structured, with dry tannins backing smoky earth, leather and baking spice on the finish. Expressive, with a rustic edge, this is fantastic on its own or with a wide variety of dishes.

Pairing Suggestions from the Winery: A daily wine, easy to match, perfect with cheese. Serve between 16-18°C [60-64°F].

100% Dolcetto
Dogliani DOCG
Italy
Estate Bottled by Azienda Agricola Abbona
13% Alcohol
$14
Enjoy now thru 2018

Rated 90 points by Wine Spectator

Pio Cesare Dolcetto d’Alba DOC 2014

piodolcetto

Estate: Founded in 1881 by Cesare Pio, Pio Cesare has been producing wine consecutively through 5 generations and for over 135 years. Located in the Piedmont region of northwestern Italy, the estate consists of 70 hectares [173 acres] of vineyards. The estate is headed by Pio Boffa, Cesare Pio’s great-grandson, his daughter, Federica Rosy, along with his nephew and cousin.

The estate has vineyards in different locations; 32 hectares in Barolo, 27 hectares in Barbaresco and 10 hectares in other regions, including Alba. These vineyard sites were specifically selected as an expression of the family’s philosophy of crafting wines. Since its establishment, the family has a “strong belief in blending the different characteristics of each vineyard and region in order to produce wines that represent the styles of each appellation terroir as a whole, instead of individual sites. This was the classic method of producing Barolo, Barbaresco and the other classic wines at the end of the 19th century and it still remains our Family’s philosophy, today and in the future.” In addition to his dedication to preserving the individuality of each terroir, Pio is also a pioneer in bringing the Barbera grape to the forefront of Italian winemaking.

Their cellar is one of the few ancient cellars that are still in operation. Located in the historical center of the town of Alba, the cellar was built in the late 1700’s, and is delimited and surrounded by ancient Roman walls that date all the way back to 50 BC. The cellar actually occupies 4 different levels, one of which is lower then the Tanaro River. This unique phenomenon is intrinsic to the character of the wines the family has crafted over the many years: “The naturally constant temperatures and appropriate humidity of our cellars have been crucial for the style and quality of our wines over the years.”

I was very fortunate to meet Pio last year. Gregarious and expressive as his wines, with the belief that upon meeting you, you are considered family and always welcomed at his home and winery.

Winemaking: Grapes were sourced from estate vineyards in Treiso “along with very selected vineyards of “historical suppliers” who have been growing their grapes for our Family for generations. The growers have been working with Pio Cesare for generations and work according to their direction and with strict quality controls.” Vinified and aged in stainless steel tanks.

Tasting Notes: Transparent red-violet in colour with aromas of cherry, white pepper, herbs and a hint of summer earth. An herbaceous streak runs thru tart cherry and raspberry flavours. Bitter almond along with a hint of dark chocolate are given a shake of white pepper on the fantastically dry finish. Silky tannins envelop each sip; the engaging synergy of fruit/spice/savoury elements keeps you reaching for more.

100% Dolcetto
Dolcetto d’Alba DOC
Italy
Estate Bottled by Pio Cesare
12.5% Alcohol
$20 [average price]
Enjoy now