Last month after stop overs in Asti, Roero, Barolo and Barbaresco, I decided to spend my final day in Piedmont visiting Dogliani. Never heard of Dogliani? You’re not alone so allow me to introduce you.
Dogliani is a beautiful, historic town and wine growing region just south of Barolo and Barbaresco. While not nearly as well-known as its more famous siblings, Dogliani has a fascinating and ancient story to tell. Vines have been grown in this area since the 4th century B.C. by Celtic populations and in the 2nd century B.C. the Romans increased production. The first historical documents on the wine trade are dated around 1000 A.D. but it was in 1593 that the Dolcetto grape variety is first mentioned for producing superior wines in the Dogliani municipality. This is what I love so much about old world wines – the people of Dogliani discovered more than 500 years ago that Dolcetto should be planted on the best vineyard sites. Why is this important? Because unlike in Barolo or Barbaresco where the best vineyards are planted with the Nebbiolo grape variety, in Dogliani Dolcetto is king and gets the prime vineyards with the best exposure.
If we fast-forward to the year 1912, a gentleman named Giuseppe Chionetti realized the potential of this area for producing great Dolcetto and started his family winery. For more than 50 years the winery has been run by Giuseppe’s grandson, Quinto. Quinto is now 90 years old and still works in the winery every day.
When I arrived at the winery I was greeted by Quinto’s grandson, Nicola, who is now taking over as the 5th generation at the winery. Nicola was beaming with pride and enthusiasm as he told me the story of Dogliani and his family winery.
Dolcetto grown in the Dogliani area can produce wonderfully complex, food friendly wines at a fraction of the cost of its more famous neighbors. But don’t just take my word for it; Antonio Galloni gave the wine 91 points and had this to say: “The 2012 Dogliani San Luigi wraps around the palate with dark raspberries, crushed flowers, licorice, and cinnamon. Racy, perfumed and beautifully expressive for Dogliani, the 2012 delivers all the richness Dolcetto is renowned for here but in a decidedly feminine, gracious style that is impossible not to love.”
Paul Quaglini, ABC Fine Wine & Spirits Wine & Spirits Supervisor
Follow me on Twitter @abcwinePaulQ