Definition - What does Dolcetto mean?

Dolcetto which translates to “little sweet one” is an Italian grape variety that is mostly grown in northwest Italy in the Piedmont region. Even though the name indicates a sweetness, it does not reflect the grape’s characteristics because the wines it produces are notably dry. The wines made from Dolcetto grapes are meant to age a few years in a bottle and can be fruity, tannic with low acidity levels.

WineFrog explains Dolcetto

Historically, the Dolcetto grape has been a parent grape to the French Chatus grape and the Piedmontese grapes Passus, San Martino and Valentino Nero. Today, most Dolcetto is planted in Piedmont (the largest volume around Ovada and Alba) which manufactures early season wine that is present on the market while other wines/grapes mature. The Dolcetto wines are included in the DOCG designation with typically two variations of standard and superior blends.

When planted in other parts of the world, the Dolcetto grape is called Douce Noire despite the fact that some of these grapes (like Charbono and Savoie) are not actually genetically related to Dolcetto, the synonym is still used in California. Dolcetto grapes produce a red wine with tart, licorice and cherry flavors finishing with a bitter taste. The dark skin of the grape has high levels of anthocyanins which increases the tannins so it ripens faster even in cooler climates. The Dolcetto wine pairs well with pizza and pasta dishes with cream or red sauces.

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