Saturday, March 28, 2009

Dogliani DOCG

Check out Alfonso Cevola’s recent posting on the relative scarcity and fractional availability of information about the Italian DOCG system. His write-up got me thinking not just about how difficult it can be to track down a central source of information about the DOCG system but also of how I often times don’t learn of the institution of a new DOCG until a bottle bearing the new designation lands in my hands.

The creation of a DOCG for Dolcetto di Dogliani Superiore and/or Dogliani is not a brand new bag. Status was granted on July 6, 2005. It’s theoretically possible that the DOCG status could be applied to wines beginning immediately with the 2005 vintage. In any case, the first example I encountered was the 2006 Dogliani “Maioli” from Anna Maria Abbona. Given the minimum aging requirement of 12 months under the new discipline and the likelihood that some producers are likely to go beyond that, Abbona’s 2006 didn’t hit the market until sometime in 2008, so it still seems new to me. Newer yet is her 2007, which just came ashore a few weeks ago.

You’ll find more information on the Dogliani DOCG disiplinare here and here.

Dogliani "Maioli," Anna Maria Abbona 2007
$24. 14.5% alcohol. Cork. Importer: Petit Pois, Moorestown, NJ.
Richer in fruit and softer in tannins than in the last few years, Abbona’s 2007 “Maioli,” produced from 70+ year-old vines in a vineyard of the same name, is inky, leggy and richly aromatic Dolcetto. A brooding aromatic character suggestive of elevation in old barrel backs up dark plum and ripe black cherry fruit; however, the wine is actually fermented and aged solely in steel. Blueberry skins and black pepper come out with air, along with a little more of Dolcetto’s typically inky aromatic scent. Still intensely primary, and showing an ever so slight touch of heat, this is definitely in need of a few more months before everything integrates. It’s already quite tasty though, and it well exhibits Dolcetto’s versatility at the table. I could see this pairing just as easily with a roasted bird or rich mushroom risotto as with grilled lamb chops.


Marcus said...

Enticing review. Made me want to comment here about a sudden thirst you created...

But now that I'm typing I have a new thirst. I'm confused - I knew Dogliani was a new designation but THAT new? Shocking! Especially since now that I look at my Weingolb weintimeline, I drank an 03 Dolcetto di Dogliani Superiore eight weeks ago... It was specifically this one:

David McDuff said...

I suppose a little more detail might have made things clearer, Marcus. (It's good to hear from you, btw.) Dolcetto di Dogliano Superiore has been a designation for quite some time, but at the DOC level. Its elevation to DOCG status, along with the creation of "Dogliani" as a stand-alone designaiton, is what's new.

TWG said...

Glad to see the Anna Maria Abbona is back.

Joe said...

I hate to say it, but the Italian system is such a waste of time - is there really any consistency in these designations? I have had many crappy DOCGs. I find the French system at least provides a semblance of guidance w.r.t. quality...

Marcus, Marcus...rings a bell... :)

David McDuff said...


I agree that there are certainly plenty of poorly made wines issuing from DOCG-designated areas, as well as some areas that have been elevated to DOCG status while others that are perhaps more deserving remain DOCs.

However, I'm not sure the French system provides any better or sounder guide to quality. There are plenty of poorly made wines coming out of just about any AOC as well. Even Grand Cru Burgundy can (and all too often does) suck.

The big difference, at least as I see it in this context, is that the French do not have any equivalent to Italy's DOCG.

Would it make sense for the French to create an AOCG? To your point, I think it might make more sense for the Italians to do away with the DOCG system (though somehow I imagine many Italians would disagree). At the very least, we could be rid of those annoying pink decals that are always coming unglued from their place atop DOCG bottlings.

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