Among the famous Nebbiolo and Barbera vineyards of Italy’s Piedmont grows a humbler grape, Dolcetto. A tricky variety, its firm tannins don’t get a chance to soften as low acidity means the wine doesn’t age well. But ancient growers gave the name Dolcetto or ‘Little Sweet One’ for a reason: it ripens easily and quickly even in the coldest sites - it is ‘sweet’ to grow. The resulting pizza-pasta wines are dry but fruity and drinkable young, allowing Piedmont producers some cashflow while their more ‘serious’ varieties age in barrel. But the best Italian and rare new world Dolcettos make youthfulness a distinct charm with bright colour, clean aromatic berry fruit, silky tannins and nutty and earthy complexity.
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