Finds from the Vine: Don’t overlook this Dolcetto
Vail CO, Colorado
VAIL, Colorado ” Dolcetto is considered the third best grape in the Piedmont region in northwest Italy. Nebbiolo is King, the grape of Barolo and Barbaresco. Next in line, Barbera, can be lush and earthy, without the tannins of Nebbiolo. But Dolcetto is often overlooked as fruity, easy-drinkin’, and simple. Oh, how can you say that, are you crazy? (This statement should be accompanied by your fingertips together in front of your chin, pleading like Alessandro Del Piero after a foul has been called on him.) Try the 2006 Aldo Conterno “Masante” Dolcetto to see otherwise.
The Aldo Conterno Masante is dark and lush, with dark berry, almost cassis-like flavors. The body and smoky-earth make one think the wine has been aged in oak, but winemaker Stefano Conterno ferments and ages in stainless steel tanks only. It is a testament to the terroir, the vineyards sites, that this wine achieves such depth without oak barrel ageing. A lovely game meat streak runs through the wine, adding even more complexity to this fruity and lush beast. Like most Italian wines, the Masante really needs food to reach its peak, so drink this with grilled lamb or elk, spicy tomato and meat sauce pasta, and beef stew.
The Conterno family was making wine in the 1800s, with many permutations and places, including Piedmont, California and Argentina. In 1961, Aldo and Giovanni Conterno took the reins of the family winery, but Aldo’s travels and independence finally prompted him to set out on his own. He formed Poderi Aldo Conterno in 1969, an estate that now encompasses just more than 60 acres. Alongside winemaker Stefano, Franco Conterno handles marketing, and Giacomo oversees the vineyards and the whole operation. The 2006 Aldo Conterno “Masante” Dolcetto is $28.