Foodie Faves: Pinot Alternative

March 18 2015 - 8:07 AM

The delicate, but intense Pinot Noir grape allows for the production of some of the best wines in the world. Everybody knows Pinot Noir, but there is another grape out there that can bring the same joys at a friendlier price: the Dolcetto grape of Piemonte, Italy.

Less finnicky than its cousins, Nebbiolo and Barbera,the Dolcetto grape enjoys cooler vineyard sites in higher elevations where it can ripen and still retain acidity. Depending on the site, a winemaker can turn this versatile grape into a soft-style fruity wine that you would see in the towns of Asti and Alba, or something that is bolder with more depth, which the town of Dogliani is famous for.

The Pecchenino estate holds twenty-five hectares of land and has been a family-owned operation for over two hundred years. Seventy percent of Pecchenino’s vineyards are devoted entirely to growing Dolcetto; and almost all of their land is in the Commune of Dogliani, a place especially suited for this grape. Safe to say, this family knows how to grow the Dolcetto grape. The family also uses no insecticides, herbicides, or chemicals in their vineyards, and the grapes are hand-picked and fermented with natural yeast. This is one of the truest expressions of terroir that you will find in a wine.

So let’s talk about the 2013 Pecchenino “San Luigi”, a wine that receives its name from the San Luigi vineyard. This ruby red wine boost a dry, medium body with an excellent balance of acidity to counter the low tannins and fruit flavors. The aroma is intense with a slightly woody bouquet of violets and black fruits. On the palate, there are strong notes of blackberries and bitter dark chocolate with a slightly nutty aftertaste.

  It is a wine that is versatile enough to go with charcuterie, sharp cheeses, light to rich meats, and even vegetarian dishes that don’t have too much heat. Dolcettos are magnificent wines that walk the fine line of delicate intensity like their more famous brethren, Pinot Noir. Pecchenino “San Luigi” is a perfect example of that.
This wine can be purchased at Liquor Park, 1937 W. North Ave, for $19.99.
Photo courtesy of Noble Wines Ltd