Dolcetto is always pinned as the starter wine, the daytime wine, the ‘crush a bottle while your nebbiolo is decanting’ wine. Vajra makes this wine far better beyond that simple notion, but don’t let that stop you from being sure that it is served with a big plate of prosciutto with a balsamico drizzle. Dolcetto means little sweet one, referring to the low acid grapes that are a joy to eat straight off the vine. Important to note that you’ll never find a sweet wine made from this grape though – it is more well known for being crunchy, fresh and bitter. Out of all the more famous grape varieties of Italy, Dolcetto, I’ll admit, was one that I struggled to love for a long time. The beauty is in its simplicity to be sure, but sometimes it struggles to stand out in a crowd. And crowding has been its biggest challenge as most of the land where it was once planted has now been taken up by Nebbiolo for obvious economic reasons.
Here in Italy’s most famous growing region there are just so many incredible wineries, it’s darn near impossible to pick favorites. But I’ll admit it, GD Vajra has long been a favorite of mine. Their Barolos ride the impossible line between rustic and modern perfectly. They make one of my all time favorite sparkling wines (did you snag some last time that was in the shop? Keep an eye out for more.) and they even make a Chinato (fortified Barolo infused with herbs) that will completely blow your mind. Amazingly though, one third of their production is still dedicated to Dolcetto. Huge thanks to the champions of the little grapes like the Vajra family, especially when the results of their passions are this freaking delicious.