Summer Reds You Need to Know: Dolcetto

The next series of blog posts will focus on light reds suitable to take the distinguished position as your summer 'house red'.

Image of Bruno Giacosa, from Folio Wine

Oh, Dolcetto. What can I say about thee? Call me weird or raise a brow, but I love this Piedmontese grape. I know others would tout the praise of Barolo, and I love that too, but there is something about the fun and whimsical side of Dolcetto that has given it a special place in my heart!


Though the name Dolcetto means 'little sweet one,' that by no means is a reflection of what you find in your glass. Dolcetto is a medium+ bodied red wine that is almost always dry, luscious ripe, and tart fruit with medium tannins and acidity. Black fruit dominates (blackberry, black currant, plum) with spice and almond noted as common traits.


Dolcetto ripens early, and its minimum aging requirements make it the 'other' wine producers make in addition to Barolo, Barbaresco, and Barbera, the more notable wines in the region. However, Dolcetto's early readiness allows producers to monetize immediately while waiting for the finer grapes and wines to be ready for market.


It could be the short maceration time that allows the fruit to shine on this wine and relative acidity to be noted; whatever it is, I am all about it.


Dolcetto is my patio go-to for steak and burgers fresh off of the grill. Served at 15°C (I actually did an extensive geek thing with a thermometer to find the exact and right temperature), you'll find it refreshing while still showing sturdy tannins, noticeable fruit, and acidity. Given the thick black skin of Dolcetto, you will get more rustic flavours. A bit of a chill does allow that fruit to shine, a step above the tannins and non-fruit notes, and this is the refreshing edge you are looking for on a hot summer patio.


Is your mouth watering yet?