Tag Archives: dolcetto

Fun with Wine and Google, Abbona Edition

So the other night we had the pleasure of savoring our dinner with Anna Maria Abbona’s lovely “Sori dij But” Dolcetto (that’s Piemontese dialect for sunny hills near Butti, the hamlet near Dogliani where they live and produce).  Fantastic stuff; we love pairing Dolcetto with savory dishes.  Break out the truffles, folks!  So where does this wine hail from? We of course take to Google and investigate…

From high altitude Google Maps orients us slightly east of south from Torino in the more southerly part of the Langhe; the Abbona azienda forms an isosceles triangle with Bra and Alba.

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Descending with a couple clicks shows us Azienda Agricola Abbona just south of Dogliani (as in the appellation, Dolcetto di Dogliani), close to Monforte D’Alba, and about 20mi south of Barolo proper.  I see also the name of the impressive Grinzane Cavour castello appearing further north.  Getting a feel for where this is.

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Another click lower and the contours of the colline undulate (rolling hills) the Langhe is synonymous with start coming into focus.  You can see what efficient viticulture use is made of this precious land.  Forza Nebbiolo, Barbera, e Dolcetto!  I know we’ve been through this neck of the woods, but have spent no meaningful time here.  Time to change that, I can already tell.

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At what looks like middling jetliner altitude, we get a good feel for the southwesterly exposure the Abbona folks enjoy; tightly packed hills full of magical fruit and an impressive compound come into view.

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Finally, clicking down to the bird’s eye view:

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It’s so green, so lush, and so full of the land-loving-respectful-of-the-craft character Piemonte is so widely known for.  You could spend days wandering these hills eating and drinking and not getting bored for a moment…

Time to go visit.  Indeed, after reading about the Abbona winery in Suzanne Hoffman’s magical Labor of Love: Wine Family Women of Piemonte book, the Abbona operation has been high on our list to explore.  We’ll be checking out more of Piemonte doing some exploration on behalf of our clients in a few weeks, and will have more to write up.  The camera shutter trigger finger itches, and the wine palate jumps up and down in excitement.

Ci vediamo a presto in Piemonte!


Wine Friday is Dolcetto Day

Found some Mossio Dolcetto d’Alba thanks to our friends at K&L Wines in San Francisco.  We need to find Valerio and company more distribution in the US!  They certainly deserve it, and so does the discerning Piemontese wine consumer.  Excited to try the Abbona as well!

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A video of our recent visit to see friends in Cuneo commune, Piemonte (Alba area).  An unreal experience in hospitality, and the best wine you’ll ever have by the bottle tableside accompanying amazing meals.  The hospitality of the Piemontese is unforgettable and a reason in and of itself to go back again and again.  More soon on this amazing adventure.

Wine Tasting

We had a great time last week with our friends at Sovereignty Wines and their distributor Volio Vino!  They were kind enough to help the Colorado Springs Italian Culture Meetup group host a tasting of Italian wines (followed by a movie night), and a great time was had by all.

First up, some snacks to get the palette ready:


And then it was on to Montecucco, where this lovely Vermentino from Azienda Peteglia was offered.  Crisp but rounded, it immediately reminded of Lugana style Trebbiano, but didn’t let you forget its Tuscan origin; grown in the southern part of Tuscany, it would be a perfect mate for white sauces and fresh seafood dishes.  If you see it, buy it!


Up next was a trip north to taste a Dolcetto and a Barbera from Cantine Povero (from the description from the wine rep at Volio Vino, “povero” is a bit of a misnomer for what is apparently a fabulous estate in Piemonte, one to add to our list to go visit):


A ridiculous bargain for a Piemonte red at around $10 a bottle, this one didn’t disappoint.  Dolcetto gets overlooked by stuffy wine connoisseurs because it isn’t ostentatious; it doesn’t boast lofty or obscure floral notes and syrupy fruity complexity that requires a thesaurus to describe–it’s straightforward, savory, and wholesome, a fulfilling wine that doesn’t require effort to enjoy, and this iteration would be perfect with some porcini mushroom gravy or any savory dish.

Not generally a fan of Barbera’s occasionally bracing acidity, but Cantine Povero’s won me over; I had some with some spicy, fatty foods and it shone through nicely.  Not something you’d cork to drink on its own, but that’s okay–most of the Italian wine spectrum is meant to be had with grub and this is no different.


 The last wine of the night was in many respects the most compelling; from the small but remarkable DOC Bolgheri appellation, Tenuta Argentiera’s Villa Donoratico was a revelation.  Here on the Livornian coast, the microclimate suits growing non-native varietals like Cabs, Merlot, Petit Verdot, etc, and this wine’s blend hit a lot of the right notes.  It took about 30mins in the glass to really open up, but the wait was worth it.  Not an everyday drinker at $25 a bottle, but it was a special treat to get to try this cousin to the super Tuscans.


Fun With Wine And Google!

While Doug is off in Italy running tours, we’re home working and having a relaxing family night.  While we don’t have the luxury of being in Italy tonight, here’s a fun alternative that just might be the next best thing.

It’s Friday, and thus we are enjoying a late dinner and a bottle of Giribaldi’s Dolcetto d’Alba (Crottino, 2012…an *excellent* buy at $10 at my local fine wine purveyor), which just tastes like…Italy!  Tannic, little of the frivolous fruitiness sometimes ascribed to Dolcetto, and perfect with food.  On the back of the bottle, I note that it is produced and bottled in Rodello, Italy, a sleepy little village in Piemonte.  Using Google, you can actually go see exactly where your grapes are grown.  It is a way fun to brainstorm for places to go exploring in Italy AND feel connected to the artisanal nature of wine making in the foothills of the Alps.  Looking up Azienda Giribaldi, Rodello, Italia, Google takes me here:

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Green hills, curvy hillside roads, and terra cotta roofs, what’s not to like?  Needless to say we’re intrigued, and it’s time to click the zoom in button:

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Even better.  Rows of grapes and plots of farmland can now be made out from what feels like a 20,000ft view.  I feel the aura of the place already.  Lovely.

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Another click or two and our virtual tour of Rodello clearly shows the individual houses near the farm plots and rows and rows in the vineyard.  Yes.  Time to click for the street view:

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And there it is–not overly dramatic, just an understated structure but with vaguely Palladian symmetry about it that certainly looks inviting.  That’s where our wine comes from!  A small vintner on a hillside in Piemonte labors to produce something in the crowded marketplace that is our wine, and thanks to the distributor’s efforts and the sharp eye and palate of our friends across the street at Sovereignty Wines here in Colorado Springs, we’re able to enjoy it.  It’s neat when you think about it for even a moment.  Let’s explore further:

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And we see minimalist sign inviting us into explore Azienda Giribaldi.  Most of the places that are “must see” for first or second Italy visitors are within walking distance of train stations.  I’m sensing that a visit to Piemonte to visit local grape-growers is as good a reason as any to rent a car!  You can see the shadow of Google’s robot-on-the-car in the lower left.  Moving deeper into the vineyard:

Screen shot 6Well…that’s certainly not ugly.  That’s where my Barbaresco, my Dolcetto, my Gavi are coming from?  Yes, let’s go visit, and soon.  (Composes email to the Giribaldi folks about a visit this spring–who’s in?).

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Spring 2015:  who wants to visit Alba and taste the best wines in the world?  Taking applications to go on an adventure here.