With summer eating in mind I’ve chosen a very characterful red wine from Piedmont, Bric del Salto 2013, Dolcetto d’Alba DOC as a fruity and wonderfully cool partner (in every sense) to open-air foods – especially char-grills of meat.     The early ripening Dolcetto grape translates itself as ‘the little sweet one’ – and though the wine is classically dry it is certainly true of its velvety feel in the mouth. Dolcetto offers a naturally low acidity, although unless carefully controlled by short macerations the grape’s thickish dark skins can yield an elevated degree of tannin. No so here, fortunately.   Bric del Salto is prettily attractive on the eye, too, with a naturally vibrant cherry pigmentation.   Though more broad-shouldered versions of the wine can be achieved, particularly from old vines, most Dolcetto is synonymous with wines offering freshness, elegance, and uncomplicated drinking in the shorter term. Plantings are scattered in nearly a dozen regions and sub-regions around Piedmont, the origin of my own example being the vineyards lying high on a gentle ridge northeast of the town of Monforte d’Alba.

For me, food-friendly Bric del Salto offers a clear picture of what Dolcetto is all about: an intriguing contrast of freshness and soft fruitiness underlaid by a mineral-informed shapeliness … a classic Italian red wine well worth serving slightly chilled, or certainly cellar-cool, on a hot day.   Buon’ gusto!

Country of Origin:  Italy (Piedmont)
Name of Wine:   Bric del Salto 2013, Dolcetto d’Alba DOC
Producer:   Sottimano, Nieve
Style:   Approachable fresh classic Dolcetto
Alcohol:   12.5% Vol.
Retailer:   Lea & Sandeman
Price:   £ 13.75 (bottle) £12.50 (case)

John Ducker – Member of the Circle of Wine Writers