Bottega del vino Dolcetto di Dogliani

Logo Dogliani Foto illustrativa


The variety: an independent register

The regulations governing Dogliani DOCG was independent and distinct from those of the Dolcetto di Dogliani DOC. This meant, first of all, that it had been decided not to include the entire zone in the new classification, as was done for other denominations in Italy, so as to be able to highlight the particular quality of these wines which was treated differently in both the vineyard and in the cellar. It had been chosen rather to emphasize the different expressive capacities of the two denominations by maintaining an independent identity for Dolcetto di Dogliani DOC. The DOCG classification did not mean harvesting and selecting the best grapes from the vineyards, but that the vineyards had to be enrolled in a separate list. This list of vineyards, registered for each winery, consists of parcels of land that are inspected by officials from the local department of Agriculture to make sure that they correspond to the prescribed requisites in terms of position - naturally excluding the lower valleys and areas considered unsuitable - and with optimal exposition. With no existing historical classification or vineyard regulations, like those in Bordeaux or Burgandy, it was impossible to establish a direct relationship between historical cru and DOCG vineyards, even though it was evident that to conform to stricter analytical parameters, the vines had to be able to produce an even higher quality of grape.
The cru classification system is also tied to the evaluation of the evolution of the wine over time, a practice that up to then had never been that of Dogliani. While the Dolcetto di Dogliani had always aimed at immediate consumption and young wines, Dogliani DOCG opened up new horizons in terms of longevity and the value of vineyards of prestige.

Declassification to Langhe Dolcetto

A unique situation exists at Dogliani, with both the DOC and DOCG appellations had both risen at the top of the Wine Quality Pyramid, used in Piedmont. This pyramidal system provides a cascading scale for a wine when it is no longer eligible for a certain discipline: it then downgraded to the qualification immediately below, which is generally a wider definition of the territory of production and less restrictive as far as parameters. This meant that if the wine obtained from vines that a producer had enrolled as a Dogliani DOCG was not satisfy the analytical parameters required of the discipline, it would not have been labelled as Dolcetto di Dogliani DOC, as might be expected, but would have been downgraded to the Langhe Dolcetto denomination.
This choice underlined the fact that Dolcetto di Dogliani DOC could not simply be interpreted as a wine of lesser importance made from inferior grapes leftover from the DOCG harvest, but is rather a different interpretation of the fruit altogether and legislatively placed at a level of equal dignity. The severity of this "disciplinare" was significant, considering that in countries with a historical precedence in the production of quality wines, vintage is also always considered how a choice and in crù classè territory, where it is possible to obtain the maximum expression of the highest quality wines, it is also possible to obtain so-called secondary wines, according to the characteristics of the vintage and the intervention of the winemaker.

Stricter parameters

Of course the new regulations set stricter parameters, by including the elements that were more immediately comprehensible in characterizing the differences between the two specifications and the two wines are, for example, a more restricted yield of grapes per hectare, a higher natural alcohol content, and a higher quantity of dry extracts, which should result immediately point to the wine’s more structure and body.