Dolcetto gets its name from the delicate nature of the grape, a delicacy that is difficult to manage both in the vineyard and in the cellar. The pleasant and balanced almond taste that is found in the wine comes from the tannins enclosed in the grape seeds, which is not perceptible when you taste the grapes, unlike nebbiolo where the tannins are in the skins. Not even the acidity will disturb you, unlike the barbera grape where it is so evident. On the contrary Dolcetto is a delicious grape to eat, extremely delicate in flavor. If we wish to enhance these aspects of fragrance and lightness, we must vinify it with the intention to make a wine that plays on fruit and immediate enjoyability.
This Idea is a difficult one for me to accept because it's in contrast to my character. The idea of a wine conceived simply as a moment of pleasure dedicated to the drinker, as opposed to a pure expression of the winemaker's research. But, on the other hand, there is also the joy of sharing a classic version of Dolcetto, a gift to our wine appellation as an example of the natural winemaking methods of our winery. This is not a low key San Fereolo wine, but a different wine that seeks the path of a simplicity that is not necessarily trivial.
The valdiba' is produced exclusively with dolcetto grapes from vineyards that are between ten and thirty years of age. The land is located in the commune of Dogliani, in the vineyards known as Baraccone and San Fereolo, ranging from 400 to 500 meters above sea level. Exposed from the southeast to the northwest, these vineyards have medium texture, limestone dominated soil. They are based in the sub zone of Valdiba', capable of giving life to wines, which are both tannic and elegant. The vines are cultivated using a simple Guyot with different plant densities depending on the age of the vines, ranging from 4000 to 5000 vines per hectare. Plots are cultivated according to the principles of biodynamic agriculture that foresee a different approach to soil fertility and the use of copper and sulphur in very small quantities. The yield of wine per hectare varies according to the year from 40 to 50 hectoliters.
Hand-picked and brought to the cellar in fifty-pound boxes in the second decade of September, the grapes are de-stemmed and crushed and Valdiba' is fermented in stainless steel tanks, leaving fermentation temperature free to run up to 29°C. The wine is made without the use of selected yeasts or additives that could alter the delicate expression of the terroir and the work of metamorphosis operated by indigenous yeasts. The length of maceration and fermentation is approximately eight days. The wine is then racked before the complete transformation of sugars is achieved.
After the alcoholic fermentation, a spontaneous malolactic fermentation follows, favored only through the control of the cellar temperature and without inoculation of bacteria. At the end of this second fermentation, the wine is aged on its fine lees for four months. After this the Valdiba' undergoes a light clarification, which is necessary before bottling a wine such as this Dolcetto, which is so unstable due to its rich color content. Bottled in the summer after harvest, Valdiba' is then aged in bottle for 6 to 12 months.
2007 was a wonderful year in the vineyards. Very easy to deal with, it concluded with a harvest that was ten days early, thanks to an unexpected period of good weather between August and September, providing the optimum temperature for ripening throughout the whole summer, without excessive heat. Grapes were harvested in the second decade of September, with high sugar levels, but with a enormously fresh fruity aromas, giving us wines with exemplary linearity. Alcohol content is high at more than 14 degrees, but the wine is balanced with a pleasant acidity and is never heavy.
A classic version of Dolcetto di Dogliani where you'll find all the usual features: the primary fruit in evidence, the vinous character, the immediate drinkability, the pleasant almond aftertaste. In particular in 2007 the wine is deep purple with ruby- edges, intense and important, ripe cherry, blueberry, blackberry and violet with vegetal notes. Satisfying to the palate for the pulp and juice, balanced with discreet and fine tannins in the background. Juicy and long finish.
Primary aromas, which are only now beginning to veer into more evolved tertiary notes. Elegant tannic structure, long and never bulky, clean and driven by good acidity. 2004 was another classic vintage, where the word classic exemplifies the quintessential sober and straightforward Piedmontese character. In some respects comparable to 2001, but with more regular trends in fruit maturation and without excess. Harvest took place in the third decade of September. Higher alcohol content thanks to intense sunny days in late summer, which favoured drying in some grape clusters. This is the first vintage where the wine was left in suspension on its fine lees.
Simple yet forceful, with red forest fruits. On the palate it's sincere, long, and linear with shy tannins that end firmly. 2005 was, in the midst of a series of hot years, perhaps the coolest summer. Cool but not rainy, giving us perfectly healthy grapes that were gifted with a longer ripening season. The harvest took place in the last decade of September. This season gave birth to wines whose aromas are perfectly expressed and never dominated by those anomalies caused by excessive heat. The vein of acidity is more apparent and the alcohol content is half a degree lower than the previous and following vintages.
An introvert that opens after some time with fresh and floral aromas. Rough tannins endowed with a thin, long, persistent and straightforward matrix. 2006 was a very regular vintage that gave no indication that there would be such a whirlwind ending. In late August and early September, intense heat accompanied by proper allocation of water in the soil enabled an unexpected ripening of the fruit. The harvest started quickly between the 6th and 8th of September, but the vintage is not comparable to 2003 because of the different timing and duration of the high temperatures during the summer. It was difficult to interpret a classic and fruity Dolcetto in this hot vintage.