Home > Dolcetto, Grapes, Italian wines, wine quiz > Weekly Wine Quiz #89: Grape Trivia – Dolcetto

Weekly Wine Quiz #89: Grape Trivia – Dolcetto

January 19, 2014 Leave a comment Go to comments
Dolcetto grapes. Source: Wikipedia

Dolcetto grapes. Source: Wikipedia

The Wine Quiz series is not meant to intimidate. The whole idea here is to have fun and learn something new. When answering the questions, it is fully encouraged to use all available sources of information, including Google or any other search engine. There are no embarrassing answers – the most embarrassing thing is not giving it a try…

Welcome to your new wine quiz!

We are back to our grape trivia series, continuing with the red grapes, and today’s subject is the grape called Dolcetto.

If you look at [probably best] known Italian wine regions, you will find some very interesting differences. If we take Tuscany, which probably comes to mind among the first, its signature grape, Sangiovese, is successfully growing in many other parts of the world, and lots of international varieties is producing magnificent wines on the Tuscan soils (super-Tuscan, anyone?). If we will now look at Piedmont, the home to Barolo, the king of wines, and Barbaresco, that region produces magnificent wines almost exclusively from the local indigenous grapes – and those local grapes are very scarcely distributed around the world, producing the wines of limited value.

Dolcetto, the subject of our today’s trivia, is one of the three better known red grapes of Piedmont – Nebbiolo and Barbera are two others. It is not very clear how Dolcetto made it to Piedmont, with some of the references suggesting that it had been growing there at least from the 16th century. The name of Dolcetto technically stands for the “little sweet one”, but it is believed that this is rather a coincidence and the name has actually a different source. Dolcetto is an early ripening variety which produces wines which have nothing to do with sweetness. Dark thick skin of Dolcetto contains large amount of anthocyanins, and imparts quite a bit of tannins to the resulting wines, as well as the dark color. Generally, Dolcetto wines are dry, lighter style than Barbera or Nebbiolo, with dark red and black fruit profile, such as black cherries and plums.

Best Dolcetto wines are mostly produced in the 7 different DOCs of Piedmont. It is also growing in Liguria under the name of Ormeasco. Dolcetto has very limited success around the world, growing in Australia and in a few regions of United States – California, Texas and Oregon.

And now, to the quiz!

Q1: Except the “sweet little one”, what is the other possible explanation to the name of the Dolcetto grape?

Q2: Sort these Piedmontese  grapes in the order of time of ripening, from earlier to the later: Barbera, Dolcetto, Freisa, Nebbiolo

Q3: Wine Spectator calls wines rated in 95-100 range Classic (the highest and the most prestigious category). True or False: there are no Dolcetto-based wines rated in the Classic category

Q4: One of the North American grapes for the long time was assumed to be identical to Dolcetto ( until recent DNA tests proved it wrong). Do you what grape was that?

a. Chambourcin

b. Charbono

c. Marechal Foch

d. St. Croix

Q5: What is the suggested serving temperature for Dolcetto wines?

a. 65ºF to 75ºF

b.  60ºF to 65ºF

c. 50ºF to 60ºF

d. 45ºF to 50ºF

Good luck, enjoy the quiz and the rest of your weekend! Cheers!

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  1. January 19, 2014 at 12:27 pm | #1

    Bargetto’s near Santa Cruz, California, makes a fantastic dolcetto. :)

    • talkavino
      January 19, 2014 at 12:44 pm | #2

      Thanks, Patty! It is good to know!

  2. January 19, 2014 at 3:00 pm | #3

    Newbie here! Dolcetto wasn’t much on my radar before this quiz…that’s changed, so thanks for that.
    Ok, here goes…
    1. Possibly named for hills on which the grapes grow.
    2. Tough one. Freisa, Dolcetto, Barbera, Nebbiolo
    3. False.
    4. b. Charbono
    5. b. 60-65 F(Though some wine wags recommend 57-61F)
    Cheers~

    • talkavino
      January 19, 2014 at 9:19 pm | #4

      Thanks for playing! Very good work! My answer is coming on Wednesday.

  3. January 20, 2014 at 5:02 pm | #5

    1. Named after the hills where the grape was originally cultivated.
    2. I’m going with Dolcetto, Freisa, Barbera, Nebbiolo. But I’m not entirely sure how early/late Freisa ripens..
    3. False
    4. Charbono
    5. There is no “general” serving temperature for Dolcetto because it depends on the style but many sites like Agraria.org claim the correct serving temperature is between 16°C and 20°C (60°F- 68°F). I’m not sure if I personally would drink Dolcetto at 20°C..

    • talkavino
      January 20, 2014 at 6:37 pm | #6

      Thanks for playing Julian! I know that serving temperature is not cast in stone and greatly depends on the style of particular wine. From my little experience with Dolcetto, I understand that it is generally regarded as a “lighter style red”, so this is the angle I’m taking with this question.

  4. January 21, 2014 at 8:39 am | #7

    Well then I’m going with B and hope that 60°F-65°F is correct.
    Looking forward to the answers :)

    • talkavino
      January 21, 2014 at 6:28 pm | #8

      Julian, correction accepted : )

  1. January 22, 2014 at 7:26 am | #1

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