About this WINE
Few views in Barolo can compete with the one from the terrace in front of the Marcarini winery in La Morra, encompassing most of the region’s communes and vineyards. Look to the east and the south, and you’ll see Barolo’s modest size cradled in the crescent of the Italian Alps. Its complex topography of rounded hills can be absorbed with one sweep of the eye.
It is fitting that Marcarini occupies this prime location; in many ways, the domaine represents both the region’s traditions and its future. Under the watchful eye of owner Manuel Marchetti, these wines are paradigms of traditional Barolo, with long fermentations and macerations, and ageing in ancient large botti. But, with his children Elisa and Andrea now playing an increasing role, the Barolo Classico is now offered as Commune di La Morra, with more wine from La Serra included. The famed Brunate also receives an extra year in bottle before release.
When asked to give his opinion on the 2018 vintage, Manuel was succinct: “Don’t believe the journalists!”. He believes this is a lovely vintage, with the detail of ’16 and the warmth of ’17. With all his vineyards in La Morra, there was no frost damage (barring a few vines at the bottom of the hill), nor mildew pressure, despite the wet spring. The berries were generous, and the wines are supple – accessible but still suave and complete. The most evident markers of the vintage are the open and supportive tannins. There is no toughness; these are among the silkiest tannins that Manuel has ever witnessed.
Dolcetto d'Alba is a DOC zone producing wines exclusively from the Dolcetto grape. D'Alba is one of the seven Dolcetto zones in Piedmont, the others being Acqui, Asti, Diano d' Alba, Ovada and Dogliani, as well as the less significant Langhe Monregalesi. D'Alba is regarded as the finest-quality zone of all for Dolcetto.
Dolcetto is an important Piedmontese grape, and the antithesis of Nebbiolo. It ripens a month earlier and produces wines that are low in acid yet high in tannins. Planted on the sites spurned by Nebbiolo and Barbera, Dolcetto is most suited to the light, white, sandy, calcareous tufa soils that are common in and around Barbaresco. It is generally made in an unoaked style to accentuate its natural violet perfume and juicy, bitter cherry and almond fruit. Dolcetto d’Alba is the grape’s most highly-regarded incarnation and makes the perfect antipasti wine.
Recommended producers: Diano, Dogliani
A native black grape variety of Northern Italy grown almost exclusively in the provinces of Cuneo and Alessandria in Piedmont. It is relatively easy to cultivate, although it is susceptible to fungal diseases. It ripens before Barbera and Nebbiolo and is often grown in high north-facing sites which would be unsuitable for Nebbiolo.
The finest Dolcetto wines come from grapes grown on soils rich with white marls, especially those found on the right bank of the River Tauro. The wines generally are low in tannins and acidity and are usually fruity and fragrant, often with hints of almonds. Most Dolcettos should be drunk within a year or two of the vintage, but the wines from the best producers can last for 5 years and sometimes longer.