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MWG February 13th tasting (3/5): Three Dolcettos and an impostor

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Barbera d’Alba 2008, Bric du Luv, Ca’Viola ($37.75, 11863080)
100% Barbera from vines averaging 65 years old and grown in the Bric du Luv vineyard (the SAQ says 5% of the wine is Nebbiolo but Barbera is the sole variety mentioned on the producer’s spec sheet). Macerated and fermented with indigenous yeasts in temperature-controlled tanks for 25 days. Matured 16 months in oak barriques and tonneaux (since 2011, 80% of the wine has been matured in large casks and the remainder in second-fill tonneaux to reduce interference from the oak and allow a better expression of terroir). Unfiltered. Around 6,600 bottles made. 14.5% ABV.
Candied plum and black currant, tarry slate and a haze of vanilla. Dense and weighty with a velvety texture, very ripe, very clean fruit, smooth acidity, polished tannins, an inky streak and a long, oak-sweetened finish. Impressive in its concentrated way but not very soulful or refreshing. More is less. (Buy again? Unlikely.)

Dolcetto d’Alba 2012, Augenta, Pelissero ($21.75, 10856793)
100% Dolcetto from 35-year-old vines in the Augenta vineyard. The grapes are macerated and fermented ten to 12 days in temperature-controlled casks with cold-decantation into stainless steel vats. Maturation in 50-hectolitre oak barrels lasts six to seven months. 13.5% ABV.
Brett, then cherry and plum, earth and old wood. In the mouth it’s a very dry middleweight showing dark fruit, sleek acidity and supple tannins. The bitter-edged finish is spoiled by an intrusion of oak, not heavy like the Ca’Viola’s but unintegrated, artificial and out of place for such an otherwise straightforward wine. Could use more depth and personality. (Buy again? Meh.)

Dolcetto d’Alba 2012, Fratelli Alessandria ($20.30, 11580186)
100% Dolcetto from vines averaging 18 years old and grown in various vineyards in the Verduno commune. Manually harvested. Fermented in temperature-controlled (26-28°C) stainless steel tanks for six to eight days. Matured six to eight months in stainless steel and cement tanks and another two months in bottle. Around 8,000 bottles made. 13% ABV.
Graphite dust, red berries, black tea and a floral note. Medium-bodied. Very dry yet intensely fruity. Carried along on a smooth-flowing, slate-bottomed stream of acidity with airframe tannins lightly rasping the finish and a taste of anise lingering long after you swallow. A classic Dolcetto d’Alba and the best vintage of this wine I’ve tasted. (Buy again? Yes.)

Dolcetto di Dogliani 2011, Briccolero, Quinto Chionetti ($22.15, 12131112)
100% Dolcetto from the Dogliani DOCG. Manually harvested. Temperature-controlled (28-30°C) fermentation on the skins with indigenous yeasts and daily pump-overs lasts 14 days. The wine is racked into new tanks for malolactic fermentation and 11 months’ maturation. Sees only stainless steel until bottling. Cold stabilized but unfiltered. Around 38,000 bottles made. 14% ABV.
Fresh, fragrant nose of dark berries, earth and hints of kirsch, flowers, horse sweat, spice. Mouth-filling but fleet. The fruit is up-front, pure and very intense at its core. Rustic tannins add textural interest, while acidity sharpens the long finish. Young, vigorous, even a little feisty, and lots of fun to drink. (Buy again? Done!)

The Barbera was supposed to be Ca’Viola’s 2010 Dolcetto d’Alba “Barturot” ($24.95, 11838431), but I distractedly grabbed the Bric du Luv, which has an identical capsule and a very similar label and was in the cubbyhole under the display bottle of the Barturot. Only when the bottle was unbagged at the end of the flight was the mistake revealed, though it was clear from the first sniff and taste that the Bric du Luv was a different animal from the three other wines.

Written by carswell

March 23, 2014 at 13:13

Posted in Tasting notes

Tagged with ,

2 Responses

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  1. Great to read this and finally get caught up.
    Shocked I tell you! (Imagine if I drove in for a 3 out of 4.) But seriously, sounds like an eye-opening flight. Ca’Viola in the pole position? I am just curious why you would want to do that, Dolcetto or no…


    March 23, 2014 at 14:04

    • At MWG tastings, the wines are usually served double-blind to participants and blind to me. After I slip the bottles into bags, someone else mixes up and numbers them. The wines are then poured and tasted, with the bottles being revealed only at the end. So, in this case it was luck of the draw that put the Ca’Viola in the number one spot, which would have been bad enough even if it had been the Barturot and not the Bric du Luv. That said, it was so obviously different, so much richer and oakier, that I and several others tasted the wines out of order, saving it for last.

      Was kicking myself for days about the mix-up, since this was to have been the MWG’s first ever all-Dolcetto flight. That’s still a goal to be reached — maybe with some *importations valise* from the LCBO should you ever return for a visit?


      March 23, 2014 at 14:21

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