Dolcetto d’Alba DOC is a red wine only DOC dating from 1974. The wine is made from 100% Dolcetto grapes grown in 35 communes (listed below) around the town of Alba in the provinces of Cuneo and Asti in the Langhe region of southern Piemonte. It is considered Piemonte’s finest Dolcetto wine, the others being Dolcetto d’Acqui, Dolcetto d’Asti, Dolcetto Diano d’Alba, Dolcetto d’Ovada, Dolcetto di Dogliani, and Langhe Monregalesi. The original 1974 DOC rules for it have subsequently been modified in 1987, 2010 and 2011. There are two possible styles called Dolcetto d’Alba and Dolcetto d’Alba Superiore.
Terroir: This area of southern Piedmont, especially those areas with Miocene origin (tertiary) soils on the right bank of the river Tanaro, have been home to the Dolcetto vine for centuries, which originates from here. In geological terms, the Langhe originated in the Tertiary or Cenozoic Era, which began almost 70 million years ago. The production area is characterized by white tufaceous marls, on the high hills dominating the Tanaro river. The land of which the territory is composed mostly belongs to that geological formation which is called “Tortorian soil”, one of the 14 layers from which the pile of sedimentary soils that make up the tertiary basin of Piedmont is formed. The Tortoniano terrain is characterized by marls and tight sands. These marls are of a bluish-gray color, not very resistant and give rise to rather low and roundish white hills, they are favorable to the cultivation of the vine.
Asti province: (1) Coazzolo. | Cuneo (CN) province: (24) Alba. | Albaretto della Torre. | Arguello. | Barbaresco (in part). | Barolo. | Benevello. | Borgomale. | Bosia. | Camo. | Castiglione Falletto. | Castiglione Tinella. | Castino. | Cherasco (in part). | Cortemilia (in part). | Cossano Belbo. | Grinzane Cavour. | La Morra (in part). | Lequio Berria. | Mango. | Monforte d’Alba. | Montelupo Albese. | Narzole (in part). | Neive (in part). | Neviglie. | Novello (in part). | Rocchetta Belbo Rodello. | Roddi (in part). | Roddino (in part). | Santo Stefano Belbo. | Serralunga d’Alba. | Sinio. | Torre Bormida (in part). | Treiso. | Trezzo Tinella. | Verduno (in part).
Part of the communes Barbaresco, Cherasco, Narzole, Neive, Novello, La Morra, Roddi, and Verduno which lie on the right bank of the Tanaro. Part of the commune of Roddino which lies on the right bank of the Riavolo stream. Part of the commune of Torre Bormida which lies on the left bank of the Bormida river and between the boundaries of the municipal territory and the national road n. 339 of the Val Bormida. Part of the commune of Cortemilia delimited by the border with the towns of Serole, Perletto, Castino, Bosia, Torre Bormida, the Rio La Monaca, the state road n. 339 of Val Bormida, the Uzzone stream and the Rigosio river.
Viticulture: The vines must grow on sloping ground. Vines on the valley floor and those above 650 metres (2,133 feet) are not permitted. Minimum vine density for new plantings: 3,300 vines per hectare (1,336 vines per acre). Both cane or spur pruning is allowed. Maximum wine production is calculated as 70% of grape yields in weight meaning 6,300 litres per hectare for Dolcetto d’Alba and 6,300 litres per hectare for Dolcetto d’Alba Superiore. The same conversion criteria apply to ‘Vigna’ wines. Emergency irrigation is allowed, but irrigation to boost yields is not.
Winemaking: The wines can be sold 12 months after the 01st November of the year of harvest.
Dolcetto d’Alba DOC:Maximum grape yields are 9 tonnes per hectare (63hl/ha) + 20% in ‘favourable years’. Minimum potential alcohol for Dolcetto d’Alba grapes is 11%. The minimum alcohol level for the bottled wine is of 11.5%.
Dolcetto d’Alba DOC, Vigna: Vigna wines come from specific named vineyard sites. The vines must be at least 7 years old. Maximum grape yields are 8 tonnes per hectare + 20% in ‘favourable years’. 11.5% minimum potential alcohol for the grapes and a minimum alcohol of 12% at bottling.
Dolcetto d’Alba DOC Superiore: Maximum yields 9 tonnes per hectare (63hl/ha) + 20% in ‘favourable years’. The minimum potential alcohol for Dolcetto d’Alba Superiore grapes is 12.0%. The minimum alcohol level for Dolcetto d’Alba Superiore wine is 12.5%. Superiore wines must age in the province of Cuneo or in the commune of Coazzolo in Asti province.
Dolcetto d’Alba DOC Superiore Vigna: Vigna wines come from specific named vineyard sites. The vines must be at least 7 years old. Maximum grape yields are 8 tonnes per hectare + 20% in ‘favourable years’. The minimum potential alcohol for the grapes is 12.5% and the minimum alcohol level for the wine is also 12.5%. Superiore wines must age in the province of Cuneo or in the commune of Coazzolo in Asti province.