Our tasting impressions
We tasted quite a few fine Dolcettos but this one stood out as the most distinct for us. We found the fruit ample and so fresh and bright. Most impressive of all is the purity. This is serious Dolcetto with significant length but it remains a fun and easy to drink wine for near-term pleasure.
About this wine
100% Dolcetto from a southwest facing slope 400m up, just west of Azienda Bosco Agostino in La Morra. The vines were planted by Andrea’s grandfather 50 years ago in clay and limestone soil and 70% of those old vines produce this Dolcetto. The rest are from vines re-planted in 2003. Yields are 50 hl/ha.
Vinfication occurs in steel tanks with skins for less than a week at a controlled 28-29°C with a daily pump-over to enhance the color. The malolactic fermentation is done after 40-50 days with a cold ferment. The wine ages in steel until June and is released after 2 months in bottle.
About the grape
Dolcetto, which means “little sweet one,” is a thick-skinned, early-ripening grape, which offers numerous growing challenges. It is most closely associated with the Piedmont region, where despite being viewed as a younger brother to Nebbiolo and Barbera, is most often the wine of choice at meals among the Piedmontese. It has a synergistic relationship with these other varieties because when planted higher on the cooler slopes, where the others struggle, Dolcetto is able to maintain acidity and avoid ripening too quickly.
Dolcetto, despite its name, is always made into dry wine. Further paradoxically, a grape that is low in acid and high in tannins produces (when expertly made) soft, bright and fruity wines that are easy to drink and best in their youth.
About the vintage
Hot and dry were the prevailing climate conditions during the 2017 growing season in Piedmont. Generally cool nights helped the Dolcetto achieve good levels of acidity. Most harvested in August - about two weeks earlier than is typical. So, while production levels were reduced, as is often the case, skilled producers are able to craft wines of great concentration, though Andrea considers this vintage of his Dolcetto atypical - rounder but less fruited.
On your table
Pizza, pasta, charcuterie, popcorn - with Dolcetto the only rule is to enjoy. Can be chilled slightly, but not too much or you will mute the precision of this lovely wine.
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L’Azienda Agricola Bosco Agostino in La Morra is a third generation business started by Pietro Bosco who sold his grapes to wine makers. His son, Agostino, was the first to bottle his own wine, albeit minimally. The 5.5 hectare farm has been in the hands of his son, Andrea since 2000.
Bosco sustainably grows Nebbiolo, Barbera and Dolcetto with minimal use of chemicals and no herbicides. He manually harvests and destems. Annual production is less than 30,000 bottles.
Andrea is contemplative, yet warm and amiable. His dedication to his work is evident. His overriding aim is to produce wines that are the purest expression of his land and its grapes. Somehow, you can taste his sincerity in his wines.