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

Azelia di Luigi Scavino ‘Bricco dell’Oriolo’ Dolcetto d’Alba DOC 2013

 

scavinodolcetto

Estate: Azelia di Luigi Scavino was established in 1920 when Cavalier Lorenzo Scavino began to make wine from the grapes in his family’s vineyards. Today, his grandson and 5th generation winemaker Luigi heads the 16 hectare estate, along with his wife and son. Luigi’s wines are renowned for their classical character and superb quality.

Philosophy: A combination of respect for tradition and modern techniques that allow the wine to express itself.

Winemaking: Luigi’s father Lorenzo planted the vineyards in the 1940’s. These old vines are known for “their lower yields and their deeper roots, which produce amazing grapes”. Organic and sustainable farming is practiced; absolutely no chemicals are added to the soil. Natural manure is added only to the poorest soils every 3-4 years; native grasses are left to flourish between the rows. Only wild fermentation is used, the wine is not filtered or clarified and enzymes are not added. Aged in stainless steel “to exalt its attractive freshness”. Bricco dell’Oriolo pays homage to his family history. His mother had a small vineyard in front of the church of the Madonna dell’Oriolo, whilst nearby his father had a small vineyard as well. Scavino combined the two vineyards, crafting this Dolcetto from vines aged 60 years and older.

Tasting Notes: Red-violet in colour with inviting aromas of violets, candied cherry and peppery spice. Gliding atop dry black tea tannins, silky cherry and blackberry flavours are fused with crushed black peppercorn and dried floral elements. The dry, spicy finish displays the distinctive bitter almond note Dolcetto is famous for.

100% Dolcetto
Dolcetto d’Alba DOC
Italy
Estate Bottled by Azienda Agricola Azelia di Luigi Scavino
13% Alcohol
$16

Rated 88 points by Wine Spectator

 

Pecchenino ‘San Luigi’ Dogliani DOCG 2014

peccenino

Estate: Founded in the late 1700’s, Pecchenino is a family estate that has been handed down from father to son for generations. It is currently headed by brothers Orlando and Attilio Pecchenino and comprises 25 hectares.

Winemaking: With Orlando’s belief that “the quality of his wine is strictly related to the natural health of his vineyard, there is a focus of growing grapes with the lowest possible impact on nature. They practice sustainable farming without the use of any chemicals, and only native, natural yeasts are used in order to preserve the characteristics and personality of the grapes. Aged in stainless steel tanks for one year.

Tasting Notes: Dark red-violet in colour with inviting aromas of blackberry, black cherry and honeyed spice. Straightforward with wild berries framed by lively acidity along with spice and earth notes. Flinty minerals linger on the pleasantly bitter finish. A fantastic companion with everyday dishes.

100% Dolcetto
Dogliani DOCG
Italy
Estate Bottled by Pecchenino
13% Alcohol
$13
Enjoy now thru 2017

Boschis Francesco ‘Pianezzo’ Dolcetto di Dogliani DOCG 2012

dolcettobosch

An exuberant Dolcetto with sweet fruit and a desert dry finish [and I mean that in a good way], well structured and wonderfully versatile.

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. The estate 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”.

Winemaking: Pianezzo is crafted using grapes sourced from 2 different vineyard plots, one with 50 year old vines in chalky soil, and the other with 60 year old vines with clay soil. The wine was aged 8-10 months in stainless steel tanks and in glazed cement vats.

Tasting Notes: Brilliant violet-red in colour with aromas of sweet raspberry, strawberry, white pepper and woodsy traces. Raspberry and red currant flavours highlighted by underlying woodsy elements and smooth tannins in the medium body, crushed white peppercorn, cleansing bitter almonds and iron minerals shine on the dry, lengthy finish.

Winery Pairing Suggestions: “Dolcetto is suitable for the whole meal, this type of Dolcetto is particularly recommended for hors d’oeuvres, pasta and rice dishes, and delicate red and white meat.”

100% Dolcetto
Dogliani
Italy
Estate Bottled by Azienda Agricola Boschis Francesco
13% Alcohol
$13
Enjoy now thru 2016