Ahhhh Dolcetto. It’s just one of those varieties we love to drink - a wine for when you don’t quite know what wine you want to drink! It’s an enthralling wine, and it’s easy to see why it’s nicknamed “the little sweet one”. Funnily enough, Dolcetto means “the little sweet one”, no reference to the actual sugary sweetness of the grape - most forms of Dolcetto are most definitely dry - it’s more the actual flavour it produces, cause it’s just so damned juicy!
Native to one of our absolute favourite wine regions in the world - Piemonte - Dolcetto is one of the more overlooked grape varieties in the region. Nebbiolo is affectionately referred to as the “King of Grapes” and produces the most beloved, respected and sought after wines of the region, particularly one of our favourite sub-regions (Barolo), and Barbera plays second fiddle and is the most widely planted variety in the region, and Dolcetto takes third place on the podium - and it’s a bit sad that this is the case.
For the most part, the Dolcetto’s made in Piemonte, particularly in the town of Alba and south where it’s 3 DOCG’s lie, are made in an extremely dry and tannic style, somewhat similar to the Nebbiolo’s that make the region famous - but that’s starting to change.
Over the last few decades, producers are starting to lean towards a more fruit-forward style of Dolcetto, similar to something like Merlot, dialling back tannin to create a far more drinkable style of red wine - and that’s where we like to see Dolcetto!
It’s certainly the way we produce Dolcetto, half-way across the world, from vines grown in Polish Hill River, Clare Valley - one fo the more respected terroirs in Australia. The vines were planted in the 1990s by Penfolds - yep, those Penfolds - on an experimental plot in Riesling country, to find out the potential for Italian and Mediterranean varieties in Australia. While they don’t take from the vineyard now, we’re thankful that they took the punt cause it’s one of the more important vineyards for us - Slate Farm, Truffle Hound, Mallee Gambit and Jungle Jungle all come from this remarkable plot of dirt.
We can’t mention this vineyard without mentioning the legends at CRFT Wines - we wouldn’t know about it if it wasn’t for Frewin mentioning it to Brendan and suggesting we take a look into it. The Dolcetto that comes from it is remarkable - the acid retention balance to fruit ripeness is sublime, basically due to the hot days/cool night temperature shifts that the Clare Valley sees, and the classic Clare herbaceousness adds a beautiful ethereal aromatic element - tying it all together in a neat little bow.
That’s it for the pretence because it’s not what you’re thinking about when you’re drinking it - it’s so ridiculously juicy it’s not funny. This is one of those danger wines because it’ll disappear before you know it - it’s just so damned drinkable! We’re big fans of our Jungle Jungle Dolcetto as it’s one of those reds for when you can’t decide what red you want - you’ll catch yourself saying “ahh I’ll just have some Jungle Jungle”. If you ask us, it’s the best example of Dolcetto we’ve made yet! Happy drinking gang!