So I never gave you my guess for Wine 31.
We've already established that I think it is something from Italy - basically just because my gut tells me so.
But this wine is pretty middle of the road - as far as structure goes - and has mostly plummy fruits, a little bit of fresh red berries, even some blackberry, but definitely more "purple" in flavor. Its a little bitter, and does have some elevated tannin. No oak aging that I can tell, and it feels like a cool/moderate climate. A lot of earth. so I'm going Old World.
SO, my guess:
And it would need to be a GOOD Dolcetto - it just rocked. So, that means it probably comes from a good sub-region like DOLGLAINI, in PIEMONTE, Northern Italy. I'm thinking a cooler year where the grapes didn't get too ripe? Maybe 2008 as there was quite a bit of rim variation...
Do you agree? Disagree?
Have no clue? No worries - here goes nothing...
DOLCETTO DOGLIAGNI SUPERIORE DOCG 2011
(Dole-CHet-Toe -- Dole-yee-AH-Nee) - note the "CH" sound! OH Italiano!!
Now, that you can pronounce it, WHAT does this mean?
Let's break it down.
Italy does a funny thing were they combine names of the grapes with places sometimes. Like Moscato d'Asti = The Moscato grape (there are are different versions of the "Muscat" grape, but for now, whatever) that is from the town of Asti. Normally, when there is a place name attached, there are also other requirements.
(We will go down this rabbit hole of DOC/DOCG at a later date.)
Interestingly, Dogliani specializes in the Dolcetto variety, unlike some of the surrounding areas that also focus on the other two members of the Piemonte Wine Grape Trio, Barbera and NEBBIOLO (the grape that makes my favorite Red wine: Barolo). For example, in ASTI, they can make Barbera d'Asti, Mostcato d'Asti. Dolcetto d'Asti.
BUT if you ever see DOGLIANI on a label, you know the grape has to be DOLCETTO.
SUPERIORE: What does this mean? Ripeness and/or Aging!
This is tricky too, because "Superiore" means different things in different regions. Just know it indicates higher alcohol (more ripe grapes, min 13% ABV) than the "standard" Dolcetto or Dogliani (11.5%, 12%). Also, there are laws that say the yield has to be lower if it is SUPERIORE! (Lower yield = more flavor, but fewer grapes). These Superiore wines are required to be aged ONE year.
As far as VINTAGE (year the grapes were harvested) I was a bit off (I thought it was older). I should have known better, since almost all Dolcetti SHOULD BE DRUNK YOUNG (2-3 yrs)!! Fail on theory for me. BUT I believe 2011 was somewhat of a cooler year? I tried looking up the Vintage report on Decanter.com but the 2011 link kept bringing me to the 1960s.. hmm...
Anyway, I was pumped because I used my GUT to bring me to ITALY, but theory of the structure of the wine to bring me to DOLCETTO.
It couldn't be BARBERA, which is a grape from the same region. Barbera normally has really high acid. With the Dolcetto, my mouth wasn't watering enough and the flavors were a little too dark, and critically, the tannins in the Dolcetto were too high.
It definitely was not Nebbiolo either...The color would have been more brick red and transparent, the tannins would have been even higher, and I would have gotten cherry, roses and tar. Not a match.
Someone made a great guess based on my description and said "Pinot Noir"... I could see this based on my transcription of what the wine tasted like... BUT the color and flavors were too dark. In addition, it was not acidic enough to be a Pinot Noir (or Pinot Nero if I was sticking in Italy). The bitterness might have lead to me to a French Pinot Noir, but there were other things that kept me from Pinot.
All-in-all, I really enjoyed this wine and it might be one of the best Dolcetti I've had...
It will be up on VINPORT.COM soon!
Actually, that is part of the reason why it was poured blind... to see if I liked it...
and I loved it!
Looking for some pairing advice with food? Well, what grows together, goes together.
BUT we had some sliders with this wine and it was an AWESOME pairing. The deep, darker flavors, with the char on the mini-burgers... yum. Roasted root vegetables could also rock.
Since the wine is not too high in acidity, I'd stay away from really high acid dishes (such as tomato based dishes or salads because of the vinegar).
Here's some more pairing suggestions: http://www.wineinquirer.com/2011/08/pairing-food-with-the-sweet-one-dolcetto/