Wine of the Day January 31, 2015

2013AltareDolcetto2013 Elio Altare, Dolcetto d’ Alba DOC, Piedmonte, Italy.
The Altare 2013 Dolcetto is a marvelous success in what is easily the toughest vintage since 2002 in Piedmonte, and it shows all the right stuff to be an excellent and friendly food wine and no pretense quaffer. This La Morra Dolcetto, grown in Barolo vineyards starts with dark berry, minty herbs, dark flowers and earthy spices lifting from the glass in this deep colored wine, on the palate it feels a touch light and brittle, but picks itself up with air and there is plenty of joy in the mouth with good fruit intensity. While just about medium weight, admirable clarity of fruit comes through with blackberry, tangy cherry, plum and blueberry fruits showing nicely along with red peach, orange rind, licorice, mineral and rustic earth/loamy notes. There is a crisp nature in this Dolcetto d’ Alba and while impressive and enjoyable, it is a pure reflection of year and place, not altogether hiding the difficult growing conditions, it is certainly not perfect or a great wine, but it does deserve merit and praise for as good as it is, and I would love to have a case to pop open with dinner over the course of the next year or so. This is a fun, well made and true to it’s terroir wine, it might be the best Dolcetto, or Barbera I’ve tried from the 2013 vintage so far, and I kinda like it, it will be great with Pizza, Pasta and or picnics, drink from 2015 to 2017. Altare is a super star producer and all his wines are worthy, but there is no question his Barolo is the main attention and they are some of Italy’s finest examples, especially his 2010’s which are hitting the shelves now, but for now and for any Tuesday night, the Dolcetto will do just fine by me.
($23 Est.) 87-90 Points, grapelive