Browse Tag



Vajra 2005 Dolcetto d’Alba “coste & fossati” (Piedmont) – This is the one wine in the Vajra portfolio that I just can’t quite figure out, and yet I keep buying bottles expecting some sort of revelation that never quite arrives. Dark fruit, chewy and structured, with a brace of acids and a long tail of razored feathers. A little lacking in the midpalate. Good, but not (at least for me) one of Vajra’s more joyful efforts. (9/10)


Cappellano 2005 Dolcetto d’Alba Gabutti (Piedmont) – Where do I start with the flaws? I’ll need extra ink. I don’t know if the problem is with the wine, the shipment, or just this bottle. But pretty much everything except refermentation and TCA that could go wrong with this wine, has gone wrong. Yuck. (6/10)

Roagna, Roagna, Roagna your boat

Roagna 2005 Dolcetto d’Alba (Piedmont) – Starts off difficult and overstructured, though of course this is a very early moment to be drinking such a wine. A lot of air and…well, the tannin doesn’t subside, but the acidity shows a little brighter, and the dark, chewy fruit lumbers into the background. This is by any measure a heavy, muscular wine, and it will require a fair number of years to peel away the layers of difficulty. (6/10)

Palmina sweater

Palmina 2007 Dolcetto (Santa Barbara County) – 14.7%. I have the same general reaction to this wine as I do to Palmina’s nebbiolo, which is that they’ve got the varietal characteristics pretty much right (chewy fruit, red and black, with dense berry skins intact, plus acid and tannin that bite more than the seeming approachability of the wine would suggest), but they’re paired with a very Californian sense of nearly steroidal weight. The wine isn’t completely over the top, but it does drag and lull. On the other hand, those that find the Piedmontese originals not fruit-bomby enough will probably adore this wine. Good, promising, but do note the stylistic approach. (1/10)

Jellivangiv doughnut

Brovia 2006 Dolcetto d’Abla “Vignavillej” (Piedmont) – Muted, musty, and very cranky at uncorking. It takes a long while to unfold, and even an hour doesn’t quite achieve full openness, but the wine isn’t corked…just surly. There are coffee elements amongst the wild-vine helixes of barky fruit, but mostly this is showing structure (both tannin and acidity) and rough, wild-eyed gestures of warning: stay away. I know these wines age, but I’ve rarely tasted one so in need of a good rest. (7/09)

Sheik Gabutti

Cappellano 2005 Dolcetto d’Alba Gabutti (Piedmont) – Something here just reaches down into the soul. Analytically, there’s a rough start to deal with – some chunky tannin, powerful (but not imbalanced) acidity, a textural chew to the fruit – and while the wine never coheres in the way modern oenologists would wish, it’s all the better for it. Red tones abound. This cries out for food, and some of that missing cohesion appears when the marriage is finalized, but there’s a style here that will carry great appeal for certain drinkers (and much less for others; one dining companion absolutely hates the wine until there’s food on the table). Me, I think it’s gorgeous. (2/09)

Billy coste

Vajra 2005 Dolcetto d’Alba “coste & fossati” (Piedmont) – Tastes natural, and you may interpret that however you’d like; I’m not interested in defending the concept. But there’s freshly-harvested red fruit, acidity, a light but insistent buzz of sandpapery tannin, and some friendly, well-trodden earth, all wrapped up – neatly but not too prettily – in an old wooden crate aged by many decades in the sun. Nice wine. (12/08)

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