2006 Anna Maria Abbona Dolcetto di Dogliani Maioli

Anna Maria Abbona Dolcetto di Dogliani Maioli
Winemaker  Anna Maria Abbona
Anna Maria Abbona

There is nothing more delicious than the explosively youthful violet fruit of Dolcetto. This one, though, takes Dolcetto to a whole new level. Anna Maria Abbona's 70 year old-vine "Maioli" combines pure, dark cassis/violet fruit, and fine structure with the feminine touch of a brilliant winemaker.

Dolcetto's gorgeous, violet and purple fruit is too often treated like a second class citizen. In the heart of Piedmont, Nebbiolo rules the roost. Last summer while in Piedmont, we decided to give our palates a break from Barolo's tannic structure and left Montforte for the hills of Dogliani -- the winemaking capital of Dolcetto. Driving along the winding roads of the region, we spotted thick, twisted Dolcetto plants with perfect south-facing exposition . We visited a half dozen estates that day, but organized our day around the last visit.

We pulled into the Abbona driveway at about 3pm. Unlike Barolo, where majestic Aziendas dot the hillsides, Dogliani is more proletarian. The Abbonas live simply, but there's nothing simple about their wines or their production. Anna Maria and her husband explained how, over time, they built a small perfectly appointed temperature-controlled cellar and slowly converted their family's farming techniques, which are now completely organic.

Anna Maria was talking and walking, displaying the kind of high energy that is common to the most passionate winegrowers. Then she stopped and pointed to a row of incredibly healthy, old, gnarly vines. "This is Maioli," she said. "Maioli" is a small, south-facing parcel set at about 1500 feet in elevation. The vines were planted in 1936 by Anna Maria's grandfather. Combine the exposure and the age of the organically farmed vines with the genius of this special feminine touch and we quickly understood that we'd saved the best for last.

The 2006 was one of the best in a decade for Dolcetto, and this wine was the Best of the Best on that beautiful day in Dogliani. Deep purple in color with explosive violet and cassis-like aromas, this tiny production cuvee is just a mouthful of pure Piedmontese fruit.

Tasting Notes from the WineAccess Travel Log
"Deep purple/black color. Explosive aromas of violets and cassis. Mouth-coating flavors of purple fruit and violets. Deeply concentrated with the old vines coming out in full color. Long chiseled finish with excellent persistence. You can age this one for up to five years, but no one will. Way too opulently delicious right now."