Dolcetto d’Alba Tre Vigne Vietti (Piedmont, Italy)

Vietti wine

Once upon a time budget-conscious lovers of Piedmontese wines would scan restaurant wine lists for a Barbera from a top grower rather than a super-expensive Barolo or Barbaresco. Nowadays – if they are anything like me, at any rate – they skip the Barbera and seek out the Dolcetto.

It seems Barbera has become fashionable and prices have crept upwards. It is left to Dolcetto for offering value for money.

Dolcetto d’Alba Tre Vigne ViettiThe name of the grape translates as ‘little sweet one’ and I can imagine a just-harvested grape is just that, full of bright, fresh flavours. Once transformed into wine, with all that lovely sugar turned into alcohol, Dolcetto produces light, fruity wines with a vibrant ruby colour, plenty of tannins and pasta-friendly acidity.

Vietti’s Tre Vigne Dolcetto is a fantastic example of this underrated grape. A recent bottle was damn near perfect. It was perfumed, complex and full of rose petal and cherry fruit.

The firm, dry tannins and mouth watering acidity, had me reaching for my battered copy of Marcella Hazan’s Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking.

It may not have the grandeur and capacity to age of its stablemates from Barolo, or be quite as smart as Vietti’s fantastic Barbera but it is a bottle I will return to again and again whenever the urge for a big bowl of spaghetti and slow cooked ragu gets the better of me.

Gareth Groves
11th August 2011

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