Brett happens

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Dolcetto misterioso

with 4 comments

With the 2011 having garnered a rave from Dolcettoman, I’d had an eye peeled for Silvio Grasso’s 2012 Dolcetto for the better part of a year now. But I’d missed its arrival at the SAQ until the Gazette’s Bill Zacharkiw mentioned it yesterday in his must-read article on the trend toward high sugar levels in red wines (the Grasso was, rightly, listed as a wine that bucked the trend).

Technical information on the wine is in short supply. What are the estate’s farming practices? How are the grapes picked? Are they destemmed? Are the fermentation yeasts indigenous or selected? Is the wine filtered, fined or sulphured? The producer and its distributors apparently don’t think its important for the public to know.

Langhe Dolcetto 2012, Silvio Grasso ($18.90, 12062081)
100% Dolcetto from 15 to 20-year-old vines. Not listed on the producer’s website. According to the Quebec agent, it’s fermented and macerated on the skins for four to five days and matured for seven to eight months, all in stainless steel tanks. 14% ABV per the SAQ, 13.5% per the label. Quebec agent: Rézin.
Popped and poured. Changing nose: at various times mulberry, plum, spice (cinnamon?), turned-over log, sawed wood, graphite, old books and whiffs of alcohol. Medium-bodied and very dry. The fruit takes a back seat here, leaves the driving to fine, tight tannins, tickling acidity and a fleet fluidity. An alcoholic kick – not a burn – lifts the lightly astringent finish. Sleek and savoury in a way that Dolcettos normally aren’t. Zacharkiw says “It has the high and the low end, and whatever you eat will fill out the middle.” Let’s agree it’s better with food than without. But I also found it a bit hollow on its own – until I vigorously swirled it in my mouth, that is, at which point it exploded with fruit. That and the fact that it deepened and smoothed as it breathed suggest it may be passing through a dumb phase and that, if opened now, it should be carafed or double-carafed an hour or two. A fine match for spaghetti with pesto rosso and a plate of sliced prosciutto. (Buy again? A bottle or two to continue investigating WTF is up with this wine.)

Written by carswell

June 22, 2014 at 10:53

Posted in Tasting notes

Tagged with ,

4 Responses

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  1. A couple other WTFs:
    – Thanks for Dolcetto post to mark my birthday. You shouldn’t have!
    – There’s some odd SAQ record keeping going on here. I had the 2011 Langhe reco’ed by Nadia Fournier; Bill reco’s the 2012 Langhe this weekend; your review goes to a 2012 Dolcetto d’Alba that turns into a Langhe when you switch the site language to French. Huh?
    – If you do some weird things in the search box, you can get to produce a Silvio Grasso Dolcetto d’Alba 2010 that no longer is stocked and I doubt ever was stocked.


    June 22, 2014 at 15:54

    • strikes again! That’s what I get for cutting and pasting. I should hire you as a proofreader. Just fished the bottle out of the recycling bin and it is, indeed, the Langhe. I might have clued into the discrepancy if the Alba weren’t the only Dolcetto mentioned on Grasso’s website… Anyhoo, I’ve updated the note though who knows how accurate the minimal production info is. Will try searching for details when I have a minute but not now — I’m in the middle of cooking a birthday dinner for a mutual friend. Didn’t know it was also yours. Hope it’s turning out to be a good one.


      June 22, 2014 at 16:05

  2. Thanks carswell. Wine-wise, it was dubious: I was putting ice in my Soave, and that was the best drink I had all weekend. But my birthday will be observed with a dinner to come soon.


    June 25, 2014 at 13:34

  3. […] inward-looking. Passing through a closed phase? In any case, it’s as inscrutable as the 2012. (Buy again? A bottle or two to cellar for a few […]

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