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Dolcetto d'Alba is a dry red wine noted for its juicy fruit character, low levels of acidity and mild tannins.
Dolcetto d'Alba is a dry red wine noted for its juicy fruit character, low levels of acidity and mild tannins. / Julia Opravina/Special to the Sun Times

Today our journey continues to Piedmont, northwestern corner of Italy.

The best known wines for this region are Barolo and Barbaresco made from Nebbilo grape. Other popular grapes used for red wine production are Barbera and Dolcetto, so today my conversation is focused on Dolcetto.

Dolcetto is a black grape widely grown in Piedmont. The Italian word “dolcetto” means “little sweet one,” but it doesn’t refer to its sugar level; it is possible that it derives from the name of the hills where the vine is cultivated. In any case, the wines produced are nearly always dry.

According to the one theory this grape originated in France and was brought to Piedmont sometime in the 11th Century. On the other hand, there is another theory says the grape originated in the Piedmontese village of Dogliani, located about 37 miles south to Turin.

A document of 1,633 records the presence of Dolcetto in the cellars of the Arboreo family of Valenza. In 1700, Barnaba Centurione sent the wine as a gift to King George II of Great Britain.

Dolcetto d’Alba is a dry red wine noted for its juicy fruit character, low levels of acidity and mild tannins. Generally more floral than its Dolcetto counterparts and not quite as bold as the Dogliani Dolcettos, its aromas are lavender and violets with a hint of almonds.

Like its siblings it has a purplish ruby-red color, black cherry fruit flavors with sweet spices and a slightly bitter almond finish. These characteristics make it an excellent match with antipasti and homemade pastas.

I should mention as well about this wine producer. Its winery, Pio Cesare, was founded in 1881 and has been family owned since for five generations. Their wine cellars’ walls date back to Roman Empire times around 50 B.C. and they own more than 130 acres of vineyards in the best wine areas in Piedmont.

As they say about themselves, they are using both modern winemaking techniques in tandem with the most traditional methods of Piedmont region.

As I said before, Dolcetto wines are great with antipasti, pastas with meat sauces or roasted poultry of any kind. We have this wine at DaVinci’s, and actually right now during our happy hours at the bar you can buy this bottle with 25 percent off.

Buon appetito and salute.

Adamo Serravalle is co-owner of DaVinci’s and Marco Prime restaurants at Marco Walk, and is a wine connoisseur. He is a regular contributor to this column.

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