WBW #54 – A Passion for Piedmont

I have to confess that I don’t drink a lot of Italian wine.  It’s not that I dislike it, I just typically look to other places for affordable wine –  Spain, Chile, Argentina, Australia.   The last Italian wine I bought was a quaffable primitivo,  but it’s been a while, and now, thanks to David McDuff who has issued the next Wine Blogging Wednesday challenge – WBW #54:  A Passion for Piedmont over at McDuff’s Food and Wine Trail,  I have a good reason to go back to the Italian isle of my local wine shop.   And I did.

What I know of Piedmont came from reading a book by ethnographer Shirley Brice Heath called Ways With Words.  This seminal work looked at language differences between residents of neighboring communities in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains in the Piedmont Carolinas, an area not esepcially known for winemaking.  However, North Carolina does have a growing wine industry, and one gaining in respect according to visitnc.com.

Knowing nothing about wines from the Piedmont region of Italy, I asked a consultant at the Wilogo1ne Emporium for a suggestion.  He pulled a couple of bottles, described them both and I chose the 2007 Ca’ del Baio Dolcetto d’ Alba because, and here I’ll let you in on a little secret to my wine selection process,  I liked the label.  The gold race horse logo looked like a winner to me.


The attendant said it was definitely a food wine and advised me to let it air out for a while.  When I got home, I uncorked it and as usual, butchered the cork – either I’m an incompetent extractor (most likely and why I prefer screw caps and synthetics) or I need to invest in a decent cork screw.  I let the wine breathe for a bit, but not for long – maybe 45 seconds because I was so excited.  And I was not disappointed.  A little sweetness on the nose which I expected from a a grape named Dolcetto – “little sweet one”.  Aromas of cherries and wild raspberries – fresh and fruity. A sip of this imperial Deep Purple colored light bodied dry Dolcetto revealed no sweetness – hey, what’s going on? Smoke and mirrors? Smoke on the Water? Deceptive to be sure, and lively too with a good bit of acidity, some tangy cherries, terse tannins and a dash of earth.  The finish is quick, clean and refreshing.  We’ll have no trouble finishing this one.

For lunch, we had steak with grilled peppers and onions and a plate load of steak fries.  With such fare, I’d normally go with a weightier wine, but the Dolcetto d’ Alba paired nicely – the tannins combined with the meat and pepper to bring out the fruitiness of the wine and the acidity sliced right through the fat.  Definitely a food wine.

Here’s what the winemaker had to say:

ruby red with violet hues; intense, fine and fruity; dry, good body, smooth, balanced, lightly tannic, sufficiently persistent; good with hors d’oeuvres, cold meats and salami, and first courses

And good with the main course too and maybe even with breakfast, but that was last month’s WBW theme.  This mighty fine wine is nicely balanced and  “sufficiently persistent” in that it seems to say “drink me, drink me”, which is exactly what we did.


4 Responses

  1. Glad to have you aboard, Ribbie. I always think of Dolcetto as a food wine. Definitely try it with salami as suggested by the producer — definitely a tasty match.

  2. I love dolcetto d’Alba, as a matter of fact, it was my choice for WBW although I didn’t get around to blogging about it in time. BrixChix are urging me to post anyway! I hope this successful sojourn into Italian wines gives you the urge to visit again. Cheers!

  3. Thanks for hosting David. I really enjoyed the wine and plan to try more with some good salami.

  4. I’m going to keep Italian in mind next time I go wine shopping. You should post up – there’s no late fee!


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