Each week I pick out one wine to highlight as my wine of the week.  This wine may be an outstanding wine, a great value or just something very interesting.



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Who doesn’t love a glass of good Italian wine with a meal?  Italian wines all seem to have one thing in common, great natural acidity.  This acidity makes these wines some of the most food friendly wines out there.  Just like everywhere, good Italian wines can be costly.  Luckily, there are some very reasonably priced wines out there, besides Chianti, that can help provide a pleasing change of pace from your normal wine drinking routine.  Two very versatile grapes to seek out are Barbera and the basis for this post, Dolcetto.



The Winery

The history of the Poderi (estates) Luigi Einaudi started in 1897, when Luigi Einaudi, still only 23 years old, acquired the farmhouse ‘San Giacomo’ in the burgh of Dogliani surrounded by 40 Piedmontese giornate of vineyards (40 acres). The family Einaudi inherited the passion of continuous improvement of their vineyards.


San Giacomo represents the heart of the business, the first acquisition of the 23 year old Luigi Einaudi; this became his home, within which he created a great and famous library. Here there are the first vineyards which Einaudi replanted at the beginning of the 20th century, after the devastation caused by the Filossera.


This is the place of memories and teachings which even today are part of the Einaudi family life. The vineyards surrounding the house cover a little more than 10 hectares: 80% are dedicated to Dolcetto while the remaining 20% to Merlot and Barbera. The average altitude is around 350 mts and the aspect is mostly South, South West.


This land, like all the other purchased by Luigi Einaudi, is the result of his vision and determination to find the best position in an era when this was possible and which today underlines his foresight.


With the same passion and enthusiasm the family is following this vision, with acquisitions which lead to the production of wines of the highest quality.



Dolcetto – The Grape

Dolcetto is a black Italian wine grape variety widely grown in the Piedmont region of northwest Italy.  The Italian word dolcetto means “little sweet one”, but it is not certain that the name originally carried any reference to the grape’s sugar levels: it is possible that it derives from the name of the hills where the vine is cultivated.  In any case the wines produced are nearly always dry.  They can be tannic and fruity with moderate, or decidedly low, levels of acidity and are typically meant to be consumed one to two years after release.


The New York Times had a very nice primer on Italian Dolcetto wines titled, “Wines of the Times – A Shy Italian, Made for Everyday”.  The story is available by clicking here.






2011 Poderi Luigi Einaudi Dolcetto di Dogliani – $15.19

I enjoy a nice Italian Dolcetto, they are just not that easy to find around here.  I had enjoyed this wine in past vintages so when a local wine store offered this vintage on an e-mail offer, I had to grab several bottles.


This wine has decent distribution in this country.  If you can’t find this wine in your area, there are several online retailers that carry the wine.  Click here to check out some of the online stores that carry this wine.  The release price is $20, but you can generally find it for a couple dollars less.


This wine has 13.5% alcohol and the bottle is sealed with a natural cork.


My Tasting Note

The wine is a medium to dark ruby color.  The inviting nose has plum, black cherry, dusty minerals, licorice, cocoa powder and wildflowers.  This has medium body, soft to moderate tannins and good acidity.  On the palate nice fruit and minerals hit first, followed by cocoa.  The finish has decent length with a floral note coming into focus.  This is easy to pair with food but is also tasty on its own.  (90 pts)

2011 Poderi Luigi Einaudi Dolcetto di Dogliani

2011 Poderi Luigi Einaudi Dolcetto di Dogliani




Win an All-inclusive VIP Sonoma Winecation




Underground Cellar is offering you a chance to win an all-inclusive VIP weekend in Sonoma wine country.


The winner will get the following with a value of $6,500:

  • Weekend getaway for 4 to California’s exclusive Sonoma wine country
  • Stay at the luxurious 5,500 sq. ft. Villa Terra Nova Retreat
  • Behind-the-scenes private tour of Iron Horse Vineyards, by winemaker David Munskgard
  • VIP chef’s dinner at award-winning “the girl and the fig” restaurant
  • Rountrip airfare, luxury transportation, and many other surprises!

Click here to enter.   If you win, you can even include me as one of your friends.

Even if you don’t win the grand prize, there is over $3,000 of gift cards with a value of up to $200 to be given away.


While you’re there, check out Underground Cellar unique wine selling model.  You can “buy” a lower cost wine and get upgraded to a much more expensive bottle for free.  For example, one of their current offers is $42 for a 2008 Balboa Brioso.  If you buy this wine, you could get “upgraded” to 2007 Stonestreet Monument Ridge Cabernet ($60 value), 2009 Caymus Napa Valley Cabernet ($85 value), 2007 Anderson’s Conn Valley Reserve Cabernet ($130 value), 1994 Beringer Cabernet Sauvignon ($150 value), or even a 1985 BR Cohn Cabernet Sauvignon Olive Hill (Helen Turley) with a value of $220.


The shipping is also incredible, at 6 bottles, shipping cost $5! Buy 6 more bottles and ship for FREE.




Connect with me

You can follow me on Twitter for more wine info, potential food pairings, and an occasional recipe or two.  Be warned, I’m also a sports fan and there are occasional Pittsburgh Penguins, Steelers, and Pirates tweets.  I attended the University of South Carolina, so during football season, there will also be some Gamecock posts.


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This is original to CliffsWinePicks.com.  Copyright 2013 Cliff’s Wine Picks.

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Here is a link to a YouTube video of me getting “coal” from Santa for being named the “Nicest Person in Social Media” in 2012.






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Notes – I use the “official” Cellar Tracker name for the wines.  I use Cellar Tracker to help manage and organize my cellar.  I highly recommend checking it out at www.cellartracker.com.  Loading you existing cellar is a lot less intimidating than it would first appear.  There is a good chance 99% of your wine is already in the system, so you generally only need to enter part of the wine’s name and the system will find it for you.



Prices noted are the prices I paid at the time of purchase.  I don’t shop around to find the best prices, but my local store is usually VERY competitive.  I generally get case discounts, and since I work there part time, I get a 5% discount.  Wines purchased direct from a winery do not include any shipping charges.  None of the prices include the sales tax.



All wines that were sent to me free of charge to sample will be noted and I will show suggested prices when available.