Our tasters were charmed by the fresh and fruity style of these deliciously affordable, food-friendly reds and urged readers to buy. See their top wines here.

‘It’s the perfect wine to sip when you’re tired, at the end of a long day,’ said Ian D’Agata of Piedmont’s Dolcetto. ‘It’s perfumed, graceful, fruity and friendly – a great everyday table wine which goes with everything: pizza, pasta, barbecued meat. It’s never going to be hugely complex, that that’s not its role – you wouldn’t ask that of a village Burgundy either.’

His fellow tasters agreed, enthusing over the appeal and versatility of Dolcetto, and advising that it’s a wine to drink young and fresh. ‘They’re wines for fairly immediate consumption,’ said Michael Garner. ‘I like to drink them within a year or two,’ added D’Agata. Emily O’Hare said she would always go for the youngest vintage possible.

So what characterises Dolcetto d’Alba in particular? ‘Some people write that Alba Dolcettos are the best – that’s not really true,’ said D’Agata. ‘Certainly you’ll find more perfume in Dogliani. But Alba wines are typically the fleshiest and richest.’

Highly recommended Dolcetto d’Alba wines:


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Ciabot Berton Rutuin 2013

Ciabot Berton, Rutuin 2013

Ciabot Berton, Rutuin 2013 Decanter average score: 17.25/20pts Individual judges’ scores: Ian D’Agata 17.25 Michael Garner 17.5 Emily O’Hare 17.25…

Points 90
Fratelli Grasso 2014

Fratelli Grasso 2014

Fratelli Grasso 2014 Decanter average score: 17.25/20pts Individual judges’ scores: Ian D’Aagata 17.25 Michael Garner 17.5 Emily O’Hare 17 A…

Points 90
Sandrone 2013

Sandrone 2013

Sandrone 2013 Decanter average score: 17.25/20pts Individual judges’ scores: IDA 17 MG 17.5  EOH 17 Full, ripe and scented plum…

Points 90
Azelia Bricco dell'Oriolo 2013

Azelia, Bricco dell’Oriolo 2013

Azelia, Bricco dell’Oriolo 2013 Decanter average score: 17/20pts Individual judges’ scores: Ian D’Agata 16.5 Michael Garner 17 Emily O’Hare 17.5…

Points 90
Batasiolo Bricco di Vergne 2013

Batasiolo, Bricco di Vergne 2013

Batasiolo, Bricco di Vergne 2013 Decanter average score: 17/20pts Individual judges’ scores: Ian D’Aagata 17 Michael Garner 17.25 Emily O’Hare…

Points 90
Castello di Verduno, Campot 2013

Castello di Verduno, Campot 2013

Castello di Verduno, Campot 2013 Decanter average score: 17/20pts Individual judges’ scores: Ian D’Agata 17.25 Michael Garner 18 Emily O’Hare…

Points 90
Damilano 2014

Damilano 2014

Damilano 2014 Decanter average score: 17/20pts Individual judges’ scores: IDA 17 MG 16.75 EOH 17.25 Cool, fresh and elegant nose…

Points 90
Gemma Madonna della Neve 2013

Gemma, Madonna della Neve 2013

Gemma, Madonna della Neve 2013 Decanter average score: 17/20pts Individual judges’ scores: IDA 16.5 MG 17.75 EOH 16.75 Exotic fruit…

Points 90
Marcarini Fontanazza 2014

Marcarini, Fontanazza 2014

Marcarini, Fontanazza 2014 Decanter average score: 17/20pts Individual judges’ scores: Ian D’Agata 17.25 Michael Garner 17 Emily O’Hare 17 Succulent…

Points 90
Michele Chiarlo Le Coste 2014

Michele Chiarlo, Le Coste 2014

Michele Chiarlo, Le Coste 2014 Decanter average score: 17/20pts Individual judges’ scores: Ian D’Agata 17 Michael Garner 17.25 Emily O’Hare…

Points 90
Orlando Abrigo Dell'Erto 2014

Orlando Abrigo, Dell’Erto 2014

Orlando Abrigo, Dell’Erto 2014 Decanter average score: 17/20pts Individual judges’ scores: Ian D’Agata 17.25 Michael Garner 17 Emily O’Hare 17…

Points 90
Principiano Ferdinando Sant' Anna 2013

Principiano Ferdinando, Sant’ Anna 2013

Principiano Ferdinando, Sant’ Anna 2013 Decanter average score: 17/20pts Individual judges’ scores: Ian D’Agata 17 Michael Garner 17 Emily O’Hare…

Points 90
Sottimano Bric del Salto 2013

Sottimano, Bric del Salto 2013

Sottimano, Bric del Salto 2013 Decanter average score: 17/20pts Individual judges’ score: Ian D’Agata 17 Michael Garner 17 Emily O’Hare…

Points 90

The tasters did comment on the use of oak, preferring the unoaked versions. ‘The oak was slightly distracting where present, and it’s nice to see how well the variety can do without it,’ said O’Hare. ‘The appeal of these wines is the freshness, the fruit quality and the immediacy,’ agreed Garner. D’Agata added: ‘Dolcetto will never be a blockbuster. Most wines are unoaked and usually those with oak are less successful as it’s easy to overwhelm the fruit. There are some good oaked examples, but they are a minority.’

Another attraction of the variety is the modest alcohol level of most wines, pointed out O’Hare. But at the same time they are structured wines and have highish tannins. So if you’re chilling the wines before serving, don’t overdo it, advised D’Agata.

‘Yes, it’s the perfect dinner party wine,’ added O’Hare. You can chill it, Beaujolais Nouveau-style, but it can also be smarter. Its structure means you can throw anything at it and it will handle it.’