We’ve been championing Piedmont’s “little grapes”–Dolcetto, Freisa, Pelaverga, etc.–for years now, both in our newsletters and in the shop. So we were psyched when Eric Asimov turned to Dolcetto for November’s New York Times Wine School. It was a great piece, as always. But it did include one wine that was a bit of a tease: Bartolo Mascarello’s Dolcetto.
Like all of Bartolo’s wines, the Dolcetto is amazing. It both exemplifies and transcends the type. Like all great Dolcetto it’s a delicious, fruit-focused taste of Piedmontese terroir when it’s young. But unlike most Dolcetto (which you should drink, as Hugh Johnson says, youngest available), it ages magically. With a few months or even a couple of years, the flavors harmonizes and integrate beautifully. And with a few more years it starts to pick up complexity without losing its fresh and fruity. We know this because we’ve been laying a few bottles down every year since we started buying the stuff from Robert Chadderdon back in the day.
But what we only learned more recently (thanks to a bottle on the list at our neighbor, Maialino) is that, if you give it twenty years or more of good storage, it transmogrifies into something altogether different, and yet still profoundly itself. Like Beaujolais, which is said to Pinot with enough age (i.e. begin to taste more like Pinot-based Burgundy) the Dolcetto had truffle and other mature notes that echoed first rate Barolo or Barbaresco. But it still had the underpinning of approachable fruit that marked it as Dolcetto.
Unfortunately, also like Bartolo’s other wines, the Dolcetto is very hard to get. So hard to get that we weren’t able to include any in our usual Wine School email offer.
But in good news, we just picked up a little stash of the 2015 Bartolo Mascarello Dolcetto and are thrilled to be able to offer it to our more regular blog readers!
And if you want to learn more about our special email offers (Rare wines! Fascinating Stories! Special Discounts!) drop us a note here