Italy grows more than 2,000 different indigenous grapes, more than anywhere else in the world. The well-known ones like Nebbiolo, Sangiovese, or Vermentino roll off the tongues of American wine lovers with ease. Others, like Cesane Latium, Picolit, Magliocco Canino, or Schioppettino are less familiar; many are on the danger of dying out entirely. The sheer number of Italian grapes can intimidate people--so many grapes, so little time, such difficulty in pronunciation--but it can also be thrilling. There's so much to explore, to discover, to savor, and to enjoy. Anyone who gets bored with Italian wine isn't trying very hard.
Dolcetto, a Piemonte native, is one of those grapes that is very common in Italy, but less so here. It makes an unusual, delicious dark purple wine that smells sweet but slides across the palate with a satisfying dryness. Today, I'm very happy to present two Dolcetto bottles from Quinto Chionetti. This Dogliani estate makes only three wines, two Dolcettos and one Nebbiolo, all cru, and all beautifully crafted. Quinto, now in his 80s, has this wicked twinkle in his eye and a devilish manner, but he's dedicated to making these long-aging, affordable Dolcettos, and they are excellent. Try these outrageously delicious, juicy, mineral-laden, and lush Dolcettos. I think you'll be as impressed as I am.
Along with the Quinto Chionetti, I'm proud to present magnums of Josko Gravner's outstanding 2006 Ribolla Gialla. I love Gravner's wines. They are mystical, philosophical explorations into new wine territories, and this '06 Ribolla Gialla is a wild, textual ride. If that doesn't convince you (and it should), know that Gravner's skin-contact white goes with more food than just about any other wine I can think of. If you've never had Gravner, you owe it to yourself, and this '06 Ribolla Gialla is a perfect place to start. Finally, Burgheads love the 2011 Echézeaux from Jean Grivot. I snagged some more, and it's at special pricing for a brief, wonderful time.