It was late October 2016 and the Nebbiolo grapes were being harvested across Piemonte. At the time, I had discussions with many producers in the Langhe from Elisa Scavino to Chiara Boschis and they could hardly contain their excitement for the wonderful grapes they were bringing into their wineries. Yes, there will be some amazing Barolo and Barbaresco from 2016, but as our discussion deepened, it was obvious they were also excited about another portion of the harvest; Dolcetto!
Dolcetto is a wine that I really enjoy. While it can sometimes be too “grapey” or unsubstantial like Beaujolais Nouveau, when it is well made in excellent vintages, it can be complex and a wonderful early harbinger of the vendemmia. Somewhat of a misnomer, as the name loosely translates to “sweet one”, like many things in the Italian language the literal translation isn’t always applicable. Dolcetto is a typically a dry, fragrant wine and the 2016’s certainly seem to be rather interesting.
The Pecchenino estate dates to the end of the 1700’s and has always been a family run operation with the holdings handed down from father to son across generations. Records from the early 1900’s show that the farm, owned and run by the current generation’s grandfather Attilio, originally consisted of just over 8 hectares. Since the beginning of the 1970’s, the estate has been run by Attilio’s son Marino and then in 1987 to grandsons Orlando and Attilio. New land and vineyards have been acquired and the estate now comprises 25 hectares, of which 22 are located in the Commune of Dogliani and 3 in Monforte d’Alba. The area of Dogliani is especially suited to the cultivation of the Dolcetto grape, whose presence here is documented in manuscripts from 1432.
The 2016 Pecchenino San Luigi Dolcetto di Dogliani is the product of organic viticulture and vineyards that sit approximately 500 meters above sea level. Vinified in stainless steel, a brief bottle rest is completed before release. In the glass, the wine is a shimmering medium violet color. The aromatics are easily coaxed from the glass and feature zesty black plums, Christmas spices, hints of blue flowers and toasted almonds. On the palate, the wine is fresh, lively and punctuated by cheery black plum flavors. Spicy, with cracked black pepper, hints of mineral/limestone and a perfumed licorice finish. It’s hard to complain about anything here given the versatility to pair with food and the price. This is an outstanding value. Widely available too from $12-$17. 88 points. Shop around. Find this wine.
We’ve got lots of new releases coming this week and they are values that are widely available and ready to sit on your Christmas table. Stay tuned!