Dolcetto di Dogliani: A Old Favorite

My first wine from Piedmont was a Dolcetto di Dogliani from the Podere Luigi Einaudi winery. I remember the wine because it was delicious but also because it came from the winery owned by the family that gave Italy it’s first prime minister, Luigi Einaudi.

Einaudi led Italy from 1948-1955, a difficult time for the country that was trying to recover from the war, the German occupation, internal fighting between different factions of the communist party and of course, economic devastation and poverty.

Years later I met one of his relatives. I never forgot the wine and had it recently in New York. I was reminded of this wine because it was on the list at a restaurant I went to this week but also because of the extraordinary events that are going on now in Italy.

I also received information this week from another winery in the same area, Clavesana. I had participated in a tasting they held at Del Posto earlier this year but never had the chance to write about the wines.

Clavesana is a winery with 350 co-vintners. What does that mean? There are 350 owners of 350 estates. Each family owns about 4 acres, called “giornate” in this neck of the woods. There are 1400 acres in total. Some 90% of this is the Dolcetto grape. The remaining 10% are other grapes such as Nebbiolo, Barbera, and Chardonnay.

Dolcetto is largely grown in the province of Cuneo. I have never visited Cuneo, a city that I have wanted to visit for 20 years. The woman whom I consider my ex-mother-in-law, hails from Cuneo and she is without a doubt the best cook I have ever met. Her native city beckons me as do the Cuneei al rhum that make the city famous.

This is the 52nd harvest of the wines. According to their materials, the 2011 harvest took place 10 days earlier than usual. High temperatures were seen in the Spring which led to early budding but the vines had ample water because of rains in February and March and a terroir that retains water. Summer saw mild temperatures with great thermal excursions which allow for phenolic development of the grapes.

According to Roberto Boeri, Clavesana’s wine maker, “Great first impression, in terms of color and perfume. It will live up to our highest expectations – and rightfully so!”

I can’t wait to try some. Maybe this will be the year I will set off on that pilgrimage I was talking about earlier.

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