The little sweet one

Typical grape from Piedmont, containing a lighter texture than Nebbiolo and Barbara, that produces a dry wine, which is usually drunk very young. Its nickname is the 'little sweetness' but this actually has nothing to do with the grape. It’s not sweet, nor is it a small grape. The grape has a relatively low acidity (making it difficult to 'create' fresh wines) and soft tannins.

Dolcetto grapes have highly colored skin, so that even a short maceration even results in purple wines. Sometimes farmers use carbonic maceration to create their wines, like they do in the Beaujolais in France. The harvest is usually done two weeks before Barbera and four before Nebiollo, so the winemaker has some spread. Often Dolcetto is not so popular as Nebiollo and Barbera. Nevertheless, winemakers tend to use them to make daily drinking wine for themselves. Which is why in reality, the quality of Dolcetto wines is not so bad at all. 

Aromas: what kind of things can you smell in a wine made with Dolcetto grapes?

  • black fruit 
  • pepper 
  • typical Italian bitters (cherry seeds and almonds) 

Pairing: what kind of food combines well with a wine made with Barbera grapes?

  • mild fish with some pancetta and olives added
  • antipasti with salami or prosciutto (cured ham) 
  • hard aged cheeses like Pecorino 


Wineries that focus on dolcetto: