Looking for something different? Try Dolcetto

Dolcetto originates in the Piedmont region of Italy, where it is overshadowed by the more powerful and concentrated Nebbiolo and even Barbera. In California, there are less than 100 acres under vine, typically grown by expatriate Italians. The grape produces deeply-pigmented wines, thick with fruit character, high in natural acidity and having only mild tannins. Dolcetto is best consumed young, as its youthful fruit character fades quicker than its acidity.

Lake County can produce phenomenal wines and the 2005 Rosa D’ Oro Dolcetto is one of them. Sticking to old-school winemaking techniques, this winemaker has brought out the best in this grape.

Rosa D' OroWith three years in the bottle, this wine is just where you want it to be; bright, lively, smooth and polished. It will probably keep those characteristics for a few years to come. I am not usually one to comment on color but this wine merit’s recognition. This is probably the deepest purple I have ever seen (other than that purple haze episode in 71 but that’s another story).


The smell does not glorify the flavors in a way that shows respect and that’s too bad but maybe the flavors are so huge it would be impossible to show respect with aromas that parallel the flavor; in fact aromas that huge would scare an ordinary person. This Dolcetto has deep dark berry flavors; almost like raspberry chocolate ganache, accented with spice and herbs. The depth of flavor and finesse from an under utilized varietal makes this Dolcetto from Rosa D’ Oro a standout wine and an incredible find considering its relative value. Lake County is definately representing this varietal well where others fall short.

Rosa D’ Oro Dolcetto 2005
Region: California – Lake County
ABV: 13.5%
Score: 91
Value: $22.00


About the Author:

Marc has held almost every position in the food & wine industry and is committed to Celebrating Hospitality with Pride. In addition to being the co-founder and editor-at-large for Enobytes, Marc is a wine blogger contributor to OregonLive.com (Wine Bytes) and writes the Wine Knowledge column in the print magazine About Face. The Contra Costa County Times, San Jose Mercury News, Tacoma Times Tribune and Washington Post have either interviewed or quoted Marc on his viniferous and culinary opinions. Marc has also appeared on Portland's "Vine Time" on News Radio 750 KXL and on California's Central Coast "From the Growing of the Grape to the Glass" on KUHL-AM 1410. He is also the author of A History of Pacific Northwest Cuisine: Mastodons to Molecular Gastronomy. While continuing to tenaciously search for what he may finally proclaim as his favorite wine Marc is relentless in his quest for the ultimate food and wine experience.


  1. Carrie May 26, 2008 at 12:02 AM - Reply

    This list looks like spam, but it’s a list of Dolcetto synonyms. Who would imagine this grape had so many synonyms!

    Acqui, Barbirono, Bathiolin, Batialin, Beina, Bignola, Bignona, Bignonia, Bignonina, Bourdon Noir, Cassolo, Charbonneau, Charbono, Chasselas Noir, Cote Rouge Merille, Crete de Coq, Debili Rifosk, Dolcedo Rotstieliger, Dolceto, Dolcetta Nera, Dolcetto A Raspe Verde, Dolcetto A Raspo Rosso, Dolcetto Nero, Dolcetto Piemontese, Dolchetto, Dolcino Nero, Dolciut, Dolsin, Dolsin Raro, Dolzin, Dolzino, Dosset, Gros Noir de Montelimar, Gros Plant, Maennlicher Refosco, Mauvais Noir, Montelimar, Monteuse, Montmelian, Mosciolino, Nera Dolce, Nibio, Noirin D’Espagne, Nord Du Lot Et Garonne, Ocanette, Orincasca, Ormeasca, Ormeasco (Liguria), Picot Rouge, Plant de Calarin, Plant de Chapareillan, Plant de Moirans, Plant de Montmelian, Plant de Provence, Plant de Savoie, Plant de Turin, Plant du Roi, Premasto, Primaticcio, Primativo, Primitivo Nero, Promotico, Provencal, Ravanellino, Refork, Refork Debeli, Refork Male, Refosk Debeli, Rotstieliger Dolcedo, Savoyard, Turin, Turino, Uva d’Acqui, Uva d’Acquia, Uva del Monferrato, Uva di Ovada, Uva di Roccagrimalda, and Dolsin Nero.

  2. lisa October 29, 2008 at 10:04 PM - Reply

    Your list of Dolcetto synonyms is exaggerated. Primitivo, Refosco and Charbono (to name a few) are different varieties entirely.

  3. Carrie October 30, 2008 at 8:41 AM - Reply

    I thought it was extensive as well – if that is the case, maybe someone should update the list here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dolcetto#Synonyms

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