Dolcetto is Piemonte’s red table wine falling in behind Nebbiolo and Barbera in order of significance. Its dusty, black cherry aroma, firm tannins and rustic demeanor screams Italy. But as a less important varietal, it’s usually grown in the cooler sites of Northwestern Italy. I wondered how it would fare in the higher temperatures of the Santa Ynez Valley.
Well, the cherry is more candied. There is less dust and more loamy earth on the nose and the tannins are a bit softer. But Palmina has a done a good job of capturing the essence of Dolcetto. The hint of barnyard took me back to the sheep farms in the hills of Monferrato.
The palate is lean up front but acquires a bit of round juiciness at midpalate with some spice notes. Crisp acidity enters early and lifts the wine, making it seem light weight. The tannins are firm and drying but not mighty and contribute to bitter walnut notes as the finish fades.
This is a cheerful wine, lean and bright with a quirky, funky attitude humming with energy. The top and bottom notes cut playing paradiddles in the mouth.
Ideally paired with the mid-range, funky electronics of Daft Punk’s Get Lucky and a plate of Chicken Picante—it plays well with capers.
Winery Notes: Almina specializes in Italian varietals grown in Santa Barbara County.
Price: $22 (Purchase Here)