Lovers of Piedmont ‘owe it to themselves to check out the region’s Dolcetto and Barbera bottlings’, writes Antonio Galloni. Whilst Barolo and Barbaresco are among the best and most famous wines in the world, these two reds – Dolcetto and Barbera – are celebrated by the winemakers and people of Piedmont as their everyday food wines.
Both Dolcetto and Barbera‘s strength is their drinkability, and the options with food pairings are almost endless. In Wine Enthusiast’s recent tasting of Dolcettos and Barberas, ‘the best examples were from Alba’. As are these four that we’re offering today, from the legendary GD Vajra and Marengo cellars!
Their beloved Dolcetto, which translates to ‘little sweet one’ because of its lower acidity and fresh and fruity style, makes for superb early drinking. Barbera is normally harvested between the early-maturing Dolcetto and the late-ripening Nebbiolo, and stylistically it lies between the two. It’s a juicy, more muscular wine with amazing acidity and earthy undertones. Though appealing young, the best Barberas age gracefully.
‘The top Barberas especially, and even the best Dolcettos, are finely-crafted, world-class wines that no longer need to stand in the shadow of the more famous Piedmontese reds.’ – Wine Enthusiast
‘The M. Marengo 2019 Barbera d’Alba Vigna Pugnane is a lovely wine showing bright fruit and a nice aromatic intensity that shines from the glass. You get classic Barbera tones of fresh cherry, forest berry and dried blueberry. The quality of those fruit tones is sharp and well defined, and that’s what gives this wine its edge. Vigna Pugnane concludes with bright acidity and a pretty mineral accent that is subtle, but that elegantly frames the fruit. Some 5,500 bottles were released. Drink Date 2021 – 2026.’ – Monica Larner, Wine Advocate, 92/100
‘The 2019 Dolcetto d’Alba is a powerful, pleasantly rustic wine that offers plenty of depth as well as intensity. Blue fruit, game, licorice and earthy notes are all packed into a deceptively mid-weight Dolcetto that is long on personality and character. Drinking window: 2021 – 2029’ – Antonio Galloni, Vinous, 89/100
GD Vajra Barbera d’Alba 2019
‘The steel-fermented G.D. Vajra 2019 Barbera d’Alba shows nicely, with dark fruit, pressed blackberry and dark cherry. This is a lovely and equally refreshing wine with mid-weight texture and bright acidity to tie it all together. Fruit is blended from various sites, and production stands at 36,000 bottles.’ – Monica Larner, Wine Advocate, 89/100
‘The 2020 Dolcetto d’Alba is absolutely gorgeous. Bright red berry fruit, spice and floral accents all grace this energetic, vibrant, mid-weight Dolcetto. The Vajra Dolcetto is done entirely in steel. It is as classic as it gets. There’s lovely freshness here.’ – Antonio Galloni, Vinous, 90/100
Order yours here.