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Pecchenino San Luigi Dogliani Dolcetto 2008
The Company was founded at the end of the nineteenth century, in an area where Dolcetto vineyards have been a typical feature for centuries, as is documented by a writing that dates back to 1432, which is kept in the communal archives.
The farm has always been family run, and the land has passed from father to son throughout its history. The first historical evidence of the farm is from the beginning of the twentieth century, when the farm was led by Attilio Pecchenino (the grandfather) and had little more than 8 hectares of land. In the 70s, the farm was given to Marino Pecchenino (Attilio's son), and in 1987 to Orlando and Attilio (Marino's two sons) who currently own it and manage it. At present, after having recently bought a new farm (Bricco Botti), the total land owned by Pecchenino is approx. 25 hectares, all in the area of Dogliani. For a couple of year now, Pecchenino has expended much energy on making his dolcettos more elegant and appetizing abroad as well as in Italy. The results clearly show in his two main house Dolcettos: the San Luigi and the Siri d'Jermu that recently was upgraded to Dogliani DOCG status.
Pecchenino winery is managed in a sustainable fashion: Orlando is convinced that the quality of his wine is strictly related to the natural health of his vineyard. His main objective is that of growing the best possible grapes with the lowest possible impact on nature. In the vineyards, he opts for organic compost and avoids the use of any chemical products for weed or pest control; his treatments in the vineyards are all natural unless it becomes absolutely necessary.
A prestigious and distinctive region for red wines in northwestern Italy, Piedmont is responsible for some of the country’s longest-lived and most sought-after wines. Set with a backdrop of the visually stunning Alps, its most prized vines are planted at higher altitudes on the warmer, south-facing slopes where sunlight exposure is maximized. The climate is continental, with cold winters and hot, muggy summers. Despite the rain shadow effect of the Alps, precipitation takes place year-round, and a cooling fog provides moisture that aids in the complete phenolic ripening of its grapes.
Easy-going Barbera is the most planted grape in Piedmont, beloved for its trademark high acidity, low tannin, and juicy red fruit. However, the most prized variety is Nebbiolo, named for the region’s omnipresent fog (“nebbia” in Italian). This grape is responsible for the exalted wines of Barbaresco and Barolo, known for their ageability, firm tannins and hallmark aromas of tar and roses. Nebbiolo wines, despite their pale hue, pack a pleasing punch of flavor and structure, and the best examples can require about a decade’s wait before they become approachable. Barbaresco tends to be more elegant in style while Barolo is more powerful. Across the Tanaro River in Roero and the farther north regions of Gattinara and Ghemme, provide more affordable and imminently drinkable Nebbiolo.
Dolcetto is Piedmont’s other important red grape, ready to drink within a couple of years of release. White wines are less important here but can be high in quality, and include Arneis, Gavi, Timorasso and the sweet, charming Moscato d'Asti made from Muscat.
An easy-drinker with modest acidity and soft fruity flavors, Dolcetto is often enjoyed in its native Piedmont while more serious Barolos and Barbarescos take their time to age. Here, this is the wine you are most likely to find at the dinner table on a casual Tuesday night. In recent years Dolcetto has found some footing in California, but plantings are fairly limited outside of Italy.
In the Glass
Dolcetto translates to “little sweet one,” and though the wines produced are typically not sweet in terms of residual sugar, they do possess delightfully fruity flavors of red cherry and blueberry, with an almond-like bitterness at the end and occasional hints of chocolate and licorice. While Dolcetto can be tannic, it is relatively low in acidity.
Dolcetto is a lively, exuberant variety without much complexity, and as such is best paired with simple, flavorsome foods such as pasta, pizza, and grilled meats—anything an Italian farmer might consume after a long day in the fields.
In most of Piedmont, easy-ripening Dolcetto is relegated to the less ideal vineyard locations, which are reserved for more finicky Nebbiolo and Barbera. However, in the Dogliani zone it is the star of the show, and here it makes a bigger, riper, and often more serious style of wine.