What we will be doing when we’re past 86 years old, I don’t know, but we find a lot of inspiration in Quinto Chionetti. A 86 year old winemaker, still going strong, still making the best Dolcettos around, defending is position as the uncrowned “King of Dolcetto”. Ever since when Quinto’s grandfather founded the winery, some of best Dolcettos, the single-vineyard variety, in the world have been produced here. Terroir is normally a term you here when Barolos and Burgundies are discussed, but Quinto will argue the case for Dolcetto too. In Dogliani, one cannot grow the nebbiolo grape, it is perfectly suited for the little one. Chionetti’s Briccolero and San Luigi (Pechennino also makes a San Luigi) are his two “crus”, and they offer complexity, elegance, and depth most often associated with nebbiolo and pinot noir based wines.
Another thing that makes his wines stand out is that they tend to be closed upon release, a tad tannic, and need some time to mature. And, yes, they age well. I will remind all readers of the fact that Elio Altare has not made a dolcetto that is yet “on its way down.” I suspect Chionetti’s dolcettos to stand the test of time too.
Perhaps the greatest thing about Chionetti’s wines (and to some extent some of his competitor’s like Abbona’s Papa Celso, Einaudi’s Vigna Tecc, and Pecchenino’s Bricco Botti) is that they offer all this at a fraction of the price. It is not what Beaujolais is to Burgundy, these dolcettos stand their own ground.
The 08 San Luigi has tons floras aromas (and, yes, we are big fans of violet, rose petal, and similar aromas, we’ll admit to that), dark fruits, blackcurrant, and a little bit of spice. A little bit of earth, a hint of mint. Structured, but still easy to drink. Very long, amazingly long for a dolcetto. And, it will only get better with time. But more than enough pleasure in this bottle today.
Even in his mid-80s, Quinto delivers. Salute to a great winemaker, and a well deserved Wine of the Week.