Dolcetto & Food Pairings


The Piedmont region of Italy is most famous for both Barolo and Barbaresco. And it’s no wonder as these are two powerful (and expensive) wines. However, Piedmont is all about balance, and the region has created two wonderful counterparts, being Barbera and Dolcetto.

5 bottles of Dolcetto D'Alba

What Food Goes with Dolcetto

Doletto is a straightforward, juicy and light (to medium) weight red that has a bit of tannin (at least more tannin than Barbera, but far less than Barolo or Barbaresco). When I think of Dolcetto, I think of an upbeat red that has a slash of blackberry. It’s a versatile red, as it’s vibrant with acidity and sweet tannin. Furthermore, it has a wonderful deep purple colour!

With that tannin dryness, and splash of acidty, Dolcetto makes a good pair with Spaghetti and Meatballs. The tannin is smoothed out by the meat, whilst the acidity complements the tomato sauce. Lasagna, Antipasto, and chicken also make for lovely pairings. Dolcetto is not a heavy weight red, so you want to pair it with something middle of the road. Salad is much too light for this red, but a vegetable stew, or vegetarian lasagna will pair quite nicely.

A recent trend is spiralizing Zucchini (zoodles) to use instead of pasta. And Dolcetto will go well with tomato based zucchini dishes due to its acidity.

Other qualities of Dolcectto are aromas of violets, black fruits, a touch of licorice, and sometimes a bit of coffee on the palate.

Dolcetto and Consistency

Dolcetto is often fruity, but it can, and often, has a rustic charm, meaning it’s not a smooth red at times. If you want something mainstream and crowdpleasing, this probably isn’t the red you’re looking for. Which isn’t to say it is a bad red, it’s just perhaps best to sample before having it at a dinner party. Dolcetto isn’t consistent, some bottles may be utterly charming like a Beaujolias, and some could end up being bitter or flavourless. When purchasing a Dolcetto, it’s best to ask your wine agent for their recommendation.

Doletto (the grape which means ‘little one’) is grown in different regions which also shakes up the consistency of this red as each will have their own climate and soil profile, as well as differences in winemaking. The regions overlap with several others, so when you See Dolcetta D’Alba, it doesn’t mean Dolcetta is the only grape grown there, it probably shares space with other grapes such as Barbera.

Dolcetto D’Acqui DOC

Uses 100% Dolcetto grapes and is aged for 1 year min for Superiore.

Dolcetto D’Alba DOC

Uses 100% Dolcetto grapes and is aged for 1 year min for Superiore. Generally it is more floral than its Dolcetto counterparts and not quite as bold as the Dogliani Dolcettos.
Taste wise, think of bitter black cherry fruit flavours, with sweet spices and a bitter almond finish.

Dolcetto D’Asti DOC

100% Dolcetto grapes and is aged for 1 year min for Superiore classification. A little lighter than Dolcetto D’Alba.

Dolcetto Delle Langhe Monregalesi DOC

Uses 100% Dolcetto grapes and is aged for 1 year min for Superiore.

Dolcetto Di Siano D’Alba/Diano D’Alba DOC

Uses 100% Dolcetto grapes and is aged for 1 year min for Superiore.

Dolcetto Di Dogliani DOC

Uses 100% Dolcetto grapes and is aged for 1 year min for Superiore. Tends to be a bolder Dolcetto.

Dolcetto Di Ovada DOC

Uses 100% Dolcetto grapes and is aged for 1 year min for Superiore.

You’ll see that bottles need to be aged for 1 year, and that’s due to market demand for wines that can be drunk young. Dolcetto, due to its tannin, has the ability be aged in oak barrels, and some winemakers are experimenting with that. You’ll also find Dolcetto blended with other red wines, but it won’t be classified as Dolcetto. For example There is a blend called Bricco del Drago made by Colla that is 85% Dolcetto and 15% Nebbiolo. It’s a wine worth sampling as it showcases the roundness of Dolcetto and contrasts that with the focus of Nebbiolo.

 
Find More Pairings in our Wine Database
 
 

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