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Pecchenino, exceptional Dolcetto di Dogliani

2 July 2011

Orlando Pecchenino

Dolcetto is the everyday wine of the Langhe and it is usually light and fruity and drunk young. At most of the tastings I attend I usually think “OK, pleasant but not for me”. Occasionally that indifference is shattered and our visit to the family-run Pecchenino winery (recently featured in Wine Spectator)was just such an occasion. The winery has been handed down from father to son since the end of the 18th century and since 1987 has been managed by Orlando and Attilio. The current cantina was completed in 2000 and further reconstruction has been taking place culminating in the opening of an Agriturismo in October (2011).  There will be 5 rooms and the location is stunning, perched on a hilltop with 360° degree views of the surrounding countryside. Unfortunately the day we visited it was misty and pouring with rain so we were unable to fully appreciate the views. Not entirely representative of Orlando ‘s view that “you can only make a great wine in cooler climates with lots of sun”, but I know he’s right.

Subsequent to our visit our friend Kerrie has been back with a touring cycling group and they provided a great lunch inexpensively. They work around 25 hectares that produce about 100k bottles with the majority planted to Dolcetto. Here in Dogliani the countryside is hilly, with rather more clay than sand than around Alba, but more open providing more air circulation. Perfect conditions for Dolcetto and the best South facing slopes are reserved for it. They have several other smaller sites and production also includes Barolo, Langhe Nebbiolo and Barbera and some white that we kicked off with. All prices are ex cantina:

Vigna Maestro 2009 (€9), a Langhe Bianco blend of Chardonnay (60%)Sauvignon Blanc (40% that dominated the nose. Nice citrus acidity with a grapefruit finish

San Luigi Dolcetto di Dogliani 2009 (€8) – their most classic traditional wine that spends around 12 months in stainless steel. An appealing violet/rose nose. Straightforward with good acidity and perfect for lunch. 13%

Sirì d’Jermu Dolcetto di Dogliani 2008(€11) – an altogether more serious wine made from 25 year old vines. The nose reminded me of stewed rhubarb.  I year in botte grande delivers more tannin but a softness, elegance and complexity of dark cherries and tar. 14%

Bricco Botti Dolcetto di Dogliani 2007 (€13) – a lovely plummy nose and an extra year in wood elevates this simple grape to soft, mellow perfection

Quass Barbera d’Alba 2008 (€13) – simple, fruity

Vigna Botti Langhe Nebbiolo (€13) -1 year in botte grande. Orange marmalade is the predominant nose and flavour. Easy soft tannins

San Giuseppe Barolo 2007 (€25) – 2 years in botte grande and a year in cement vats. Toffee/caramel nose, soft tannins and creamy vanilla length.

Le Coste Barolo 2005 (€35) – potentially a very good Barolo but still closed and tannic.

Part of the Pecchenino cellar

I will never look down my nose at Dolcetto again!

 

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