This is the first in a small series of reviews that will be forthcoming over the next few weeks on current release Dolcetto. 

I’ve spoken of my fondness for these wines in the past; from their exuberant nature, to their under appreciated ability to age and their striking change of pace from the Sangiovese based wines of Tuscany. Over the last few years, prices in the United States for Italian wine have been gradually dropping and Dolcetto too has benefited from this easing as average prices for good examples have slid well below the $20 level. It’s a great time to stock up on these wines.

Domenico Clerico is a fixture in Piemonte. He crafts several masterful Barolo and is one of few producers I know that crafts a single vineyard Dolcetto.  Indeed, his 2011 Dolcetto “Visadi” is the perfect example with which to begin this short series.  

In the glass, the wine is bright, ultra vibrant purple, with brilliant deep violet reflections. It’s a stunning color. The taster is immediately greeted by a complex nose of flowers, anise, menthol, and smokey plums.  The anise licorice component almost presents itself like a whiff of Sambuca, yet on the palate, there is no trace of that sort of heat.  In the mouth, the wine is equally as vibrant.  Smokey plum fruit is accented by lavender and black olive.  The wine is fairly tannic and medium bodied, and although enjoyable now, can benefit from a year in the cellar. It’s got mouth watering acidity and paired wonderfully with pan fried chicken cutlets and roasted brussel sprouts.

It’s a solid, balanced wine with character, very different from any other red in this price category and affordable enough to stock up on.  Drink now and over the next 2 years.  90 points.   About $13.  

2011 Domenico Clerico Dolcetto “Visadi”

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