Over the weekend I attended a grand tasting at a new wine shop I had never been to called Pairings. A cozy wine shop where owners Laurie & Ray travel the world meeting meeting with lesser known wineries whom produce quality wines that they hand select to sell in their shop. They also have a great selection of artisan cheeses and meats as well as fresh breads and many other gifts and products throughout the store.
There were a couple of highlights of the tasting that I enjoyed including a white nebbiolo (that I believe was the first I have ever had as it is pretty rare) and a fantastic dolcetto. The others I will share with you this week include a comparison of a still Arneis wine against an Arneis dessert style wine from the same producer, a Barolo, Super Tuscan, Chianti Classico Riserva and a Franciacorta.
If you go back to my previous post when I discussed Nebbiolo, you will understand that this is a red grape and is the principal grape in producing the prized wines of Italy: Barolo and Barbaresco, but here it is produced as a white wine, obviously not coming in contact with the skins. It was a 2012 Pietro Nera “La Novella” Bianco from the Caven Camuna winery in Lombardy, in particular in the Valtellina area. The Nera winery started back in 1940 by Guido Nera and his son, Pietro, later took it over in the 50's. Now it is owned by two brothers, Stefano and Simone Nera, as of 1982 and is known as the Azienda Agricola Caven. This wine is made up of about 90% nebbiolo and 10% chardonnay, rossola and incrocio manzoni. I found the wine to be very light to medium bodied with nice green apple and some tropical hints. I'm not sure what I was expecting with the nebbiolo grape being present in this wine, but I found it so interesting how different the wine becomes and the flavor profiles it develops when it's not being macerated with the skins. It's a great way to see the true expression of the fruit separate from all the other aspects during the winemaking process.
Next, which was my favorite Italian wine of the day, was the 2011 Dogliani Dolcetto Superiore DOCG from Anna Maria Abbona Maioli. This wine is made of 100% dolcetto aged in steel for 22 months. The Maioli vineyard, where this wine comes from, was planted back in 1936. Anna Maria left her job in 1989 to continue the dream of her great grandfather and father and saved the vineyards that her father was ready to uproot. Both her and her husband with their children made it their goal to take on this endeavor and produce quality wines. This wine was a fine example of a dolcetto and due to it being produced in Dogliani the quality was much higher than some of those of the Dolcetto DOC wines that I have tried in the past that were lighter and didn't have as much complexity. It was dry and very aromatic with great structure, nice dark fruit, black raspberry profiles. It had a good meatiness to the wine with nice tannins that I found very enjoyable.
Dolcetto is one of the top grapes of the Piedmont region behind Nebbiolo and Barbera. It's a grape that grows well in cooler climates, so in the Piedmont region it grows best on the slopes with the grapes can retain their acidity. It's typically an easy grape to grow and it ripens weeks before the nebbiolo grape. The areas that are noted for producing the DOCG wines of Dolcetto that were granted this status in 2005 are Dolgiani, Ovada and Diano d'Alba and you can find some of the DOC Dolcetto's from Asti, Alba and Acqui. These wines are typically soft, fruity wines with low acidity.
I look forward to sharing the other wines from my tasting with you this week.