Dolcetto d'Alba is one of seven Dolcetto DOCs produced in Italy's north-western Piedmont region. The wine is named after the grape from which it is made and the area where it is produced. It is considered the most notable of the Dolcetto classified reds, thanks to the considerable number of quality producers in the vicinity.
Granted its DOC status in 1974, the production zone encompasses the Langhe hills east of Tarano around Alba, including 25 communes in the province of Cuneo, as well as the commune of Coazzolo in the province of Asti. Some of the vineyards also overlap those of Barolo and Barbaresco. The vines are planted on slopes with sandy, calcareous and tufa-rich soils where the Dolcetto grape thrives.
Dolcetto d'Alba is a dry red wine noted for its juicy fruit character, low levels of acidity and mild tannins. Generally more floral than its Dolcetto counterparts and not quite as bold as the Dogliani Dolcettos, its aromas are reminiscent of lavender and violets with a hint of almonds. Like its siblings it has a characteristically purplish ruby-red color, black cherry fruit flavors encased in sweet spices and a slightly bitter almond finish that is strongly associated with wines crafted from this variety. These characteristics make it an excellent match with antipasti and an equally fine partner with the local dish of tajarin (homemade pasta from the Langhe). Although high in alcohol (12.5%), it is an easy-drinking wine that has long been considered the everyday drop of the local Langhe community. Dolcetto d'Alba is a wine to be drunk young. For the added designation of superiore it must be aged for a minimum of 14 months
Some Dolcetto d'Alba is described as baroleggia, which means it is darker in color and has higher potential alcohol, giving the wine greater ageing potential. Over time, special characteristics develop reminiscent of a Gattinara or Barolo, although it never reaches the same power and richness of these two wines – instead it offers a lighter and more subtle style of wine.