Dolcetto is a black grape* from northern Italy, cultivated almost exclusively in the north-western Piedmont region.

Dolcetto is a bit of a troublesome grape. The aromas are fruity but will easily display a touch of bitterness as well. It also has problems in retaining reasonable lev­els of acid­i­ty, while at the same time being fairly rich in tan­nins.

It can nev­er­the­less pro­duce very nice wines, even though it is a good piece of ad­vice to con­sume them with­in two to three years after the grapes were har­vested as many of the wines tend to peak at this point in time.

Typical aromas in a Dolcetto varietal wine are black cherry, liquorice together with some notes of prunes. It is not unlikely that you also will find a kind of nutty, bitter finish in them. Dolcetto wines are produced as varietals or blended with Barbera Nera.

Among the best expressions of Dolcetto you find the Dolcetto di Dogliani, and Dolcetto di Dogliani Superiore, from the Piedmont sub-region Langhe. The DOC was established in 1975 and was promoted to DOCG in 2005. The Dogliani wines can be expected to peak after four to five years, especially the Superiore.

Food pairing
In spite of the tannin levels, a Dolcetto varietal wine is considered to be a fairly light wine. Subsequently it will pair nicely with seasoned chicken dishes, or turkey, or light pork dishes.

It is also a very nice companion to many pasta dishes. The wine is best served at 12-14°C/54-57°F.

Where is it grown?
Most of Dolcetto plantings are found in Italy. With 6.128 ha/15.,143 ac, it is the twenty-eighth most planted grape in the country.

Ninety-eight percent of the area planted with Dolcetto is in Piedmont, especially in the provinces of Cuneo and Alessandria.

There are plantings of Dolcetto outside Italy. Australia holds some 154 ha/381 ac, mostly in Victoria. In California in USA there are some 42 ha/104 ac spread among several sub regions.

In Argentina and New Zealand there are some very small, what appear to be experimental plantings.

There are two suggestions as to where Dolcetto comes from. One argues that it was brought to the Monferrato (corresponding roughly to the municipalities of Alessandria and Asti) in Piedmont.

The other one argues that it is native to the area around Dogliani in the Langhe sub-region of Piedmont. There are at this point in time not enough of evidence to decide which of the stories that is the correct one.

*The name Dolcetto is also used as a synonym for another grape (the French variety Corbeau), which has no known connection to the grape presented here.