When thinking of Italian wine, Amarone, Barolo and Chianti may be what most readily springs to mind, but Richard Baudains reveals a treasure trove of original yet overlooked wines just waiting to be discovered. See his pick of 10 wines from the most exciting Italian terroirs here...
Unchartered Italy: Dolcetto di Dogliani DOCG, Piedmont
3. Dolcetto di Dogliani DOCG, Piedmont
Dolcetto generally ranks bottom in Langhe producers’ hierarchy of grapes. Nebbiolo reigns supreme, the highly remunerative Barbera is second and Dolcetto brings up the rear as the mid-bodied, fruity wine the locals drink at home. But in Dogliani, Dolcetto rules, elevated to DOCG status and grown to the virtual exclusion of other varieties. Dolcetto di Dogliani (also labelled simply ‘Dogliani’) is dark, serious, low-yielding, latepicked, super-selected, concentrated, almost always barrel-aged stuff with a weight and structure foreign to other Dolcettos. Its dry austerity can often be mouth puckering. In these cases the only remedy is to add cellar time to the two or three years the wine is typically aged at the winery. The result is a satisfying, rich, chunky, vigorous wine that opens a new and unsuspected window on the Langhe.
Chionetti, Briccolero 2010
Nose of ripe plums and violets with a hint of sage. Big, warm entry, richly textured mid-palate with bags of energy and concentration, excellent grip in the finish, with a return of plummy fruit and a hint of almonds. 18.5pts/20
Price: £15 Profumo di Vino, Wine Tasting Shop, Vinum
Pecchenino, Sirì d’Jermu 2009
Ripe plum and cherry brandy nose with hints of dark flowers and a touch of white pepper. Smooth, glossy mouthful with weighty mid-palate and lots of substance in the dense, chocolatey finish. 18pts/20
Price: £16.99 (2008) Connolly’s
Other recommended producers:
Anna Maria Abbona, Marziano Abbona, Cà Viola, Cascina Corte, Podere Einaudi, San Fereolo