Tim York wrote: In the "fun" category fall typically, to name only reds, Beaujolais, Dolcetto, young Loire CabFranc from sandy soils, SW French delights like Fronton and Marcillac, lighter examples from the Rhône, Languedoc, Roussilon, Tuscany, Montepulciano d'A and so on.
Mark Lipton wrote:Tim York wrote: In the "fun" category fall typically, to name only reds, Beaujolais, Dolcetto, young Loire CabFranc from sandy soils, SW French delights like Fronton and Marcillac, lighter examples from the Rhône, Languedoc, Roussilon, Tuscany, Montepulciano d'A and so on.
Tim, I also have increasingly dipped into such wines, labeled by an importer acquaintance as "glou-glou" wines. Do you feel that even the best examples of Marcillac can be labeled as vins de soif? I love Marcillac, but my bottles of Causse Marines (now, sadly, no longer made) and Dom. du Cros are pretty big and seem to demand time in the cellar. And do tell about Fronton. Whose do you like?
Andrew Bair wrote:Hi Tom - Thank you for the article. I actually read it last week, but was so busy then that I never got to comment on it until now.
As someone who really enjoys Dolcetto - after Nebbiolo, of course, it's my second favorite Piedmontese grape, even above Barbera - I've read the hype for Dogliani for a number of years now, and have yet to be convinced of its superiority over Alba for Dolcetto. Are there some very good producers in Dogliani? - Absolutely - see Anna Maria (not Marziano) Abbona, Chionetti, and Einaudi. Chionetti would make my top 5 Dolcetto producers; Einaudi and Cascina Corte would both be close behind. Then again, I also wonder if Dogliani producers simply take the Dolcetto grape more seriously than a lot of producers do in other DOC(G)s. Unlike much of Piedmont, Dogliani doesn't have any particular reputation for Nebbiolo, so its better producers are putting their best efforts into their Dolcetti.
There are certainly some impressive Dolcettos from Alba as well, however. I was really surprised that Eric Asimov didn't like the Roagna more, for example, because I think that it is one of the best.Besides, it only costs in the mid-teens -how can you go wrong? A number of others like Cappellano, Giacosa, and Massolino make excellent Dolcetti d'Alba. The best that I have had from anywhere is Brovia's Solatio Brovia, although one could just as easily say that it is atypical since it is a late harvested version. It's certainly not a Dolcetto that you rush out and drink within a couple of years of the vintage. I had a 2000 Solatio last year that was showing great, yet had the stuff to last for another decade or maybe two. (I've yet to try Poderi Colla's Bricco del Drago, which actually has some Nebbiolo in it; apparently, it is every as serious and ageworthy as the Solatio Brovia.)
Diano d'Alba is another DOCG trying to make a name for its Dolcetti, but they are hard to find in the US. The only one that I've had, from Bricco Maiolica, was very nice. I have also read that Ovada used to be more highly regarded for Dolcetto, but the one Dolcetto d’Ovada that I have encountered was quite mediocre. The Aldo Contero Dolcetto Masante that Eric mentions is labeled as Langhe DOC.
One Dolcetto that I actually happen to think is overrated is that of Roberto Voerzio. Then again, I find Voerzio's wines to be generally too ripe and internationally styled for my liking.
Tim York wrote:Mark, the Fronton estate whose wines I love quaffing is Château la Colombière and specifically its cuvée Vinum. Here are my notes on its range from a tasting in November 2011 -
Château La Colombière, Fronton, near Toulouse
This estate, run by the pleasant young Cauvin couple, uses biodynamic methods http://www.chateaulacolombiere.com/english/ . The principle grape variety in Fronton is Négrette but other varieties including Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah are authorised in a blend. Of the wines shown here, all AOC Fronton, only Réserve included 20% of Cabernets, both Sauvignon and franc.
I loved Vinum 2010 (€6) for its exuberant savoury and tangy fruit, earthiness, lively acidity and hints of old lace; I bought some; 15.5/20+++. Réserve 2010 (€7) was smoother and more civilised but still showed a lot of Négrette character; 15.5/20++. Coste Rouge 2009 (€10) was deeper and more structured and complex showing attractive fruit impregnated with cassis and leather notes; this one should improve with ageing; 16/20 now.
I recently had the Vinum 2011 and thought it showed less grip than the 2010, though the fruit was delicious.
Marcillac Lo Sang de Païs 2009 – Domaine du Cros, Philippe Teulier was the wine which opened my eyes to that appellation about 18 months ago. I didn't think that it needed any more time but perhaps like Colombière he makes other tougher cuvées.
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