Dolcetto is the New Gateway

Dolcetto is the New Gateway the region of Piedmont, Italy.


During this unprecedented time, wine tasting, like many other activities, has taken on a new form—one that is based on taking off your mask, opening up your senses, and letting the wine transport you. I find myself relying on my memory: of grapes, of places, and of times when one could travel and fall in love with wine in the moment.


At this week’s virtual tasting, we visited two lesser known red grapes of the Piedmont region of Italy: Dolcetto, the early ripening grape, and Barbera, the most widely planted grape in the region. As we sipped, these wines led to our recounting many fond wine-related memories we had collected over the years.


For me it was a moment visiting the Pecchenino winery in the cold of winter, surrounded by snow covered mountains, tasting Dolcetto di Dogliani and discovering how this complex, purple-hued grape captures your senses; cracking a smile because you have some little secret—that the value way over-delivers.


Flash forward to last week’s tasting with the illustrious LBV wine club—our fearless leader Joss Sackler makes a statement by showing us, spontaneously, that if you don’t have a glass, no problem. In one of the most rock star moments in wine: straight from the Roagna Dolcetto d’ Alba bottle she sips, and the secret is out. 


We sip and taste, learning about the Italian wine laws and again reveling in how this one grape, which you don’t see a huge presence of in the US, can bring a Zoom tasting group together. Compliments flow, like ‘it tastes like Chambolle-Musigny fruit’, the little bit of neutral French oak giving roundness and availability to the slight floral, earthy notes with accessible dark fruit. We recount memories of truffles, grappa, agnolotti pasta stuffed so tenderly with veal, porcini mushrooms, and protected areas for producing top wine and food. We are no longer just Zoom tasting—we have moved through the portal to the hills of the Piedmonte Region. We admit to ourselves that diving into truffle hunting should be on our curriculum, then transition into our next grape: Barbera d’ Asti. My memory takes me to Vietti winery, where I’m sitting with Luca Currado, tasting a 1990 Barbera—proof of how the wonders of yet another lesser known red grape makes a stamp in time, which I can easily recall eighteen years later. 


The tasting has ended but I am still feeling so much joy, as if I have left the Lower East Side and my small apartment, and have reconnected to the nature from which these wines were crafted. Later, reading Eric Asimov’s article in The New York Times ‘From Good Wine A Direct Path To The Wonders Of Nature’, I think YES, this is what I am talking about. As Mr. Asimov puts it so eloquently, it’s the connection to agriculture that wine brings that ties it all together.  


Roagna Dolcetto d’Alba 2018: This was the portal-opener. Purple hued grape that gives way to floral notes, the red cherry fruit meets the acidity in the mid palate, and the use of used oak gives a velvet texture. Soft and elegant, it was the favorite of the tasting.


Vittorio Bera e Figli, Barbera d’Asti ‘Ronco Malo’ 2016: An exciting more, natural Barbera. On the palate, very lively acidity and tart fruit with a balanced earthy character. No oak used here—very pure and clean, coming from a winery focusing on Moscato d’Asti. 




Truffles from a truffle tasting that I had the joy of attending.


This week's wines: Roagna, Dolcetto d'Alba (2018); Vittorio Bera e Figli, Barbera d'Asti Ronco Malo (2016)



If you would like to buy these two wines please contact Shiraz Noor at Acker Wines. LBV Social Club members get a discount through our partnership!


Claire Paparazzo is an LBV Social Club member who also leads some of the Club's wine tastings. This is her reflection on the tasting that took place on July 15th, 2020. Find her on Instagram at @clairepaparazzo and @wineifyouwantto.



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