The fourth generation to make wine from the family’s vines, Paolo Olivero of Il Palazzotto has a process that is rooted in tradition. What’s more, his hometown of Diano d’Alba is one of the top crus for Dolcetto in Piedmont due to its high elevation and white limestone soil. Green-harvesting, natural fermentation, and Paolo’s most sophisticated technique—opening the windows of his cellar during winter to stabilize the wine before bottling it unfiltered—all lead to freshness, elegance, and a dusty black cherry note in this charming Dolcetto.
The Olivero family has produced wine on their property for four generations, but it wasn’t until after Paolo finished oenology school and worked for another domaine in Diano d’Alba that he returned home to lead the family domaine and bottle their wines. Paolo’s Sorì Cristina vineyard produces a soft Dolcetto, with good structure and an elegant balance. The Sorì Santa Lucia vineyard produces a more structured Dolcetto than the Cristina and can be cellared for three to five years. Paolo’s Dolcetto is delicious, straightforward, and an honest ambassador of this workhouse grape that the Piemontese drink daily with their robust cuisine.
Kermit’s love affair with the great reds of Piemonte dates back to the early days of his career: the very first container he imported from Italy, in fact, featured legendary 1971 and 1974 Barolos from Vietti and Aldo Conterno. Regular visits since then have seen our portfolio grow to now nine Piemontesi estates, with a strong focus on the rolling hills of the Langhe.
Nebbiolo rules these majestic, vine-covered marl slopes, giving Italy’s most mystifyingly complex, nuanced, and age-worthy reds. When crafted via traditional production methods—long macerations and extensive aging in enormous oak botti—the powerful, yet incredibly refined Barolos and Barbarescos provide haunting aromatics of tar, raspberry, incense, tea, roses, and more. At times austere in their youth but well worth the wait, they pair beautifully with the hearty local cuisine starring veal in many forms, braised beef, pastas like tajarin and agnolotti, and of course, Alba’s famous white truffles.
Surrounded by mountains on three sides, Piemonte’s climate is continental, with baking hot summers and cold winters. Nebbiolo is only part of the story here: juicy, fruity Barberas and Dolcettos represent the bread and butter throughout the region, and other native grapes like Freisa, Croatina, and the white Arneis are also noteworthy. Value abounds in the Monferrato, while Alto Piemonte also has its share of thrills to provide.
Every corner of Piemonte is rich with tradition, especially when wine is concerned. It’s no wonder we have been singing the region’s praises for over forty years.
When buying red Burgundy, I think we should remember:
1. Big wines do not age better than light wine. 2. A so-called great vintage at the outset does not guarantee a great vintage for the duration. 3. A so-called off vintage at the outset does not mean the wines do not have a brilliant future ahead of them. 4. Red Burgundy should not taste like Guigal Côte-Rôtie, even if most wine writers wish it would. 5. Don’t follow leaders; watch yer parking meters.
Inspiring Thirst, page 174
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