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92 pts Antonio Galloni
"The 2015 Dogliani San Luigi packs a serious punch, with a huge core of dark red cherry and plum fruit, matched by intense tannins that need time to soften. Raspberry jam, smoke, leather, cedar and incense meld into the creamy, expressive finish. This is impressive stuff."
Recently we wrote about Dolcetto, a grape we love, that produces some of the best values in Italian wine. We purposely left out the most important appellation for the wine, Dogliani. Formerly known as Dolcetto di Dogliani, this small town in Piemonte made the bold move to remove Dolcetto from the name of the appellation. This shows how serious they are about the terroir, the sense of place, in these 100% Dolcetto wines. Dogliani doesn’t grow Nebbiolo to make Barolo but instead believes that Dolcetto can make world class wines. Dolcetto requires cooler temperatures than Nebbiolo so the location of Dogliani at higher elevations than the Barolo communes just south of Monforte d'Alba makes all the difference. Today’s example, Chionetti Dogliani San Luigi 2015 is proof that they know what they’re talking about. Chionetti is a benchmark estate in Dogliani founded in 1912 by Giuseppe Chionetti and run today by Great Great Grandson Nicola Chionetti. Nicola learned from his grandfather Quinto Chionetti and now makes reference point Dolcetto from three sites. The San Luigi site sits at about 400 meters over sea level and has limestone/clay soils with a vine age of about 20 years. San Luigi is planted with less productive Dolcetto clones as water can be an issue. Having tasted older examples I can attest to the wines ability to gain complexity in bottle over ten years or more. This is a great chance to buy 6 or 12 bottles and forget a few in the cellar. But they are also immensely enjoyable now, just decant for about an hour to soften the tannins and allow the aromatics to come through. Perfect for the grill season ahead!