Dinners with friends are one of the things I like the most about university life. At the end of a hard day of lectures, seminars or (even worse) exams there is nothing like a meal with the people you enjoy the most and sharing some good time together.
Simplicity and improvisation create a unique atmosphere, matched with a generous plate of pasta and a good bottle of wine. I am writing this column in this perspective, a column that was born to help to create those nights with friends. A review of a wine made by students and, more important, for students.
The wine that I am recommending today is an Italian red wine called Dolcetto d’Alba from the winery Duchessa Lia. It comes from the region of Piedmont, in the North-West of Italy. The bottle that I tried was from the harvest of 2016, and normally its price should be around 5.5 €. I anticipate you that I suggest this wine for informal dinners, better if matched with first course meals of game.
Dolcetto d’Alba is a wine DOC which production is allowed only in the provinces of Asti and Cuneo.
Traditionally, this wine is the one that people drink the most during meals in Langhe area. It is one of the most widespread wine varieties in Piedmont and goes hand in hand with the traditional plates of the area. Many modern versions of Dolcetto, from all over Piedmont, are developing towards a more New World style of wine: intensely fruity, high in alcohol and generally overpowering.
Dolcetto produces soft-styled, fruity wines with colors varying from deep ruby to purple. They are characterized particularly by their low acidity, which is the source of the variety’s name. Those with a basic grasp of Italian might understandably assume that Dolcetto wines are all sweet, but this is certainly not the case – sweet-styled Dolcetto is something of a rarity.
A typical Dolcetto wine has an intense and bright red color, with some violet glares. It offers intense, gently spicy aromas with earthy undertones of almonds – or walnuts in more tannic examples. As the wines are not generally designed for long-term cellaring, they should be consumed within three or four years of vintage. It should be served at 19º C and it has an alcoholic content of 12.15%.
In conclusion, I would suggest this wine for informal dinners with friends or for tasting on your own. Even if, obviously, it is much better to share a bottle of wine with some friends. As Edmondo De Amicis, a famous Italian poet, used to say “Il vino aggiunge un sorriso all’amicizia, ed una scintilla all’amore.” Which means: “Wine adds a smile to friendship, and a spark to love”.