This has to be one of the best expressions of Dolcetto. Packed with juice and fruit and a fabulous minerality that gives a lovely crunch to the finish. Very pretty, but at the same time a touch of austerity that makes it immediately more drinkable. Try it slightly chilled with grilled or charred fish or meat.
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From the excellent Sottimano, based in the Cotta area of Barbaresco, a joyously pure and drinkable Dolcetto. It's all about the gorgeously ripe dark black cherry fruit and the vigorously fresh acidity, with just a touch of astringent tannin keeping it appetistingly dry and food-friendly. One for a wild-mushroom risotto on a mellow autumnal evening
Purplish crimson. Dark, savoury and fragrant fruit. Smells like a Loire red though not specifically Cabernet Franc. Or a Beaujolais cru. Dry, clean lines, more austere than I expected and quite different from the Bricco Maiolica version. On lees in tank. Not much racking. Other producers want Dolcetto to be more open but he wants it to reflect the vineyard. No filtration or fining. Very refined and delicately textured, fine and dry. Sophisticated. Fresh. The alcohol on Dolcetto tends to be lower than with Nebbiolo but in this instance it is also the vintage effect. 2012-2018
16.5 Julia Harding MW, www.JancisRobinson.com
A cherry and plum thirst-quencher with classic sub-Alpine acidity.
Anthony Rose, The Independent
Sottimano: Full Wine List and Profile
Andrea Sottimano's 2011s and 2012s are fabulous. The 2011 Barbarescos capture the radiance of the year, while the just-bottled 2012s show gorgeous purity of fruit along with a greater sense of restraint. Readers who haven't tasted the Sottimano wines in a few years will want to check out these superb, pedigreed Barbarescos, as quite a bit has changed here, particularly over the last 5-6 years. Today, the approach to farming is decidedly less interventionalist than in the past. Sottimano no longer uses pesticides and herbicides. Yields aren't quite as dramatically low as they once were. The same hands off approach carries through to winemaking. Cool temperatures encourage slow and long malolactic fermentations, a long aging on the lees with minimal rackings, an approach that is much more typical in Burgundy than it is in Piedmont. Today's wines are transparent, crystalline and full of personality. There is no question quality has never been higher.' Antonio Galloni, Autumn 2014.
This sixteen hectare estate is based in the Cotta' region of Barbaresco, and the Sottimano family have over the years bought outstanding vineyards in the 'crus' of Currà, Cottà, Fausoni and Pajore. Yields are kept very low and the winemaking as natural as possible, without the use of pesticides or artificial fertilisers, using only natural yeasts and bottling without filtering or fining. All of these 'crus' are given exactly the same oak treatment so as to allow the individual 'terroirs' express their character (fermentation in barriques, of which 30% new, followed by 18 to 20 months in neutral barriques).
There are five different terroirs with Nebbiolo planted within the estate. Basarin, with a mixture of clay, limestone and sand, is at about four hundred metres above sea level. This produces the estate's Langhe Nebbiolo, which is basically 'village Barbaresco', as the vines are very young (10-15years old). It makes for wines that are always very elegant, refined, tannins are silky and softer, nuanced of spices and herbs (eucalyptus).
Fausoni, on sand and clay, makes wines that are always very elegant - mint, liquorice and little red fruits. This is in the historical part of Neive.
Currà, on clay and limestone, is one of the smallest cru of the whole appellation, wines are always very intense and powerful, hardbodied and with good tannins. Hints of spices and smoke are characteristics of this area.
Cottà, on limestone with clay,is is one of the oldest cru in Barbaresco, vines are always very old here (fifty years and older) and the colours are just a little bit lighter than other vineyards (because of the clay), but they have a very distinctive nose of dark fruits and mint, a great elegance and mineral tannins.
Pajore is almost entirely on limestone with just a little clay. This is the highest vineyard of all, at 420 metres above sea level. The vines are very old, and it is always the most mineral and elegant of the four Barbarescos. Limestone brings into the wine a great purity of fruit, a distinctive aroma of spices and tobacco (cigar box) and a very unusual quality of tannins, firm but very mineral.
You can find Sottimano Azienda Agricola on Google Maps here.
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