Monday, April 17, 2017


Back when I got into this business Dolcettos were quite the hot item.  They were every bit the equal of Barberas and frequently rivaled Nebbiolos.  Not so nowadays.  Nebbiolos have rightfully assumed the throne in Piedmont, the finest wine region of Italy, and Barberas have become the hot commodity worldwide due to their ample production and international style.  Dolcettos, by default, seem to have been left in the dust.

So the good news for wine lovers everywhere in just such a situation is that pricing becomes favorable for the commercial loser and experimentation with new wine styles becomes alluring. Historically Dolcettos have always been light fruity pizza and pasta wines.  Now with mass marketers running the show, the hang time in the vineyards is being extended to achieve the rich, intense and overpowering fruit and alcohol that the new world loves.  And if that style sells then that will be the norm going forward and, of course, the price increases will follow.

Our entry into the field currently is the Due Corti Dolcetto d'Alba and it is most definitely a food wine.  It has not been reconstructed for the current tastes and would satisfy with most any red meat dish.  Say you saw it here and Due Corte is just $10/bottle.

So what does the future hold for this variety?  With Nebbiolo-based Barolos being such cellar selections, Dolcetto should be able to find store shelf space among the Barberas.  The Piedmontese need a successful worldwide Dolcetto presence.  Early maturing with a limited maceration period, Dolcetto is a cash flow must for winemakers who want money in their pockets while they wait on the Barolos.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017


The following is a report on an article from the 11/5/16 The Economist magazine entitled, "The War on Terroir".  Terroir is the historic term meant to encompass all of the conditions in the vineyard that makes a wine from that vineyard unique; the sunlight, wine, soil, terrain, climate, and more.  The problem for the term in this modern era is that consumers now don't value such distinction.  Shoppers typically look for wines that fit the flavor profile of what they think it should taste like.  And then, of course, in this modern era the wine mass marketers aim to make the wine that best fits that profile.

In their research on the subject Cambridge Consultants, the English technology company that created the Vinfusion apparatus, found that wine drinkers in restaurants and bars are creatures of habit, always ordering the same type.  Even though seventy percent of them are dissatisfied by what they get, according to the research, they continue to order the same thing instead of venturing out and trying others.  So apparently even the mass marketers haven't nailed down the ideal restaurant wine style.

Cambridge Consultants took this situation as a jumping off point to throw their hat into the winemaking ring.  They surveyed wine drinkers for common tasting adjectives and then narrowed their findings down to three contrasting qualities; light/full bodied, dry/sweet, and soft/fiery.  They then proceeded to examine several wines for the best examples of these different traits before narrowing the field to four; an Australian Shiraz, a French Muscat, and a Chilean Merlot and Pinot Noir.

Those four paradigms are stored in tanks beneath the apparatus which sort of resembles a coffee filter/funnel over a pad where your wine glass rests instead of a coffee pot.  A touch screen allows the customer to slide a dial between sweetness and dryness, lightness and full-bodied, and softness and fieriness to create their ideal glass.  After the blend is selected, you push the button and...voila!  The perfect glass of wine!

So is this revolutionary?  Not really.  Wine making has always had blending as part of its science and being a commercial endeavor, customer satisfaction has always been the goal.  In the modern era no one does it like the mass marketers, but even so, wine preferences are still coming down to personal choice so Vinfusion has a place in the modern scheme of thing.