Italian Dolcetto is a medium-bodied red wine with a dry tannic bite and a splash of acidity that makes it perfect with Spaghetti and Meatballs, Pasta Bolognese, Baked Ziti, Veal Marsala, Bruschetta,  Lasagna, and Cioppino.  With lush flavours of black plum, raspberry and black cherry, Dolcetto is a refreshing and versatile red wine that also delivers subtle aromas of earth, licorice, smoke and chocolate.

Best Dolcetto and Food Pairings

Dolcetto (DOC)Zoodles (Spiralized Zucchini)
Dolcetto d'Alba (DOC)Antipasto
Dolcetto (DOC)Cioppino
Dolcetto (DOC)Pasta Bolognese
Dolcetto (DOC)Antipasto
Dolcetto (DOC)Cannelloni
Dolcetto d'Asti (DOC)Lasagna
Dolcetto d'Alba (DOC)Chicken Parmesan
Dolcetto (DOC)Calzone
Dolcetto (DOC)Eggplant Parmesan
Dolcetto d'Alba (DOC)Penne alla Vodka
Dolcetto (DOC)Swedish Meatballs
Dolcetto (DOC)Chicken Adobo
Dolcetto (DOC)Chicken
Dolcetto (DOC)Fontina Cheese
Dolcetto (DOC)Provolone Cheese
Dolcetto (DOC)Roasted Chicken
Dolcetto (DOC)Pasta with Mushrooms
Dolcetto d'Alba (DOC)Pizza
Dolcetto (DOC)Zucchini
Dolcetto d'Alba (DOC)Capon with Walnuts
Dolcetto d'Alba (DOC)Truffled Canapés with Cheese
Dolcetto d'Alba (DOC)Veal Rollatine
Dolcetto d'Alba (DOC)Pasta with Mushrooms
Dolcetto d'Alba Superiore (DOC)White Onion Soup
Dolcetto d'Alba Superiore (DOC)Capon with Walnuts
Dolcetto d'Alba (DOC)Spinach and Feta Cheese Pastry
Dolcetto d'Asti (DOC)Pork Rib and Sausage Stew
Dolcetto d'Asti (DOC)Crescenza Cheese Sauce
Dolcetto d'Asti (DOC)Egg and Ricotta Frittatas
Dolcetto (DOC)Sausage
Dolcetto (DOC)Lamb Tagine
Dolcetto (DOC)Pizza with Sausage
Dolcetto (DOC)French Onion Soup
Dolcetto (DOC)Spaghetti and Meatballs
Dolcetto (DOC)Chicken Cacciatore
Dolcetto (DOC)Tomato Soup
Dolcetto (DOC)Pizza Margherita
Dolcetto (DOC)Barbecue Chicken Pizza
Dolcetto (DOC)Faggot
Dolcetto (DOC)American Goulash
Dolcetto (DOC)Veal Chops
Dolcetto (DOC)Ga Kho - Caramelized Chicken
Dolcetto (DOC)Pizza Rolls - Pizza Bites
Dolcetto (DOC)Spinach and Ricotta Cannelloni
Dolcetto (DOC)Bruschetta
Dolcetto (DOC)Aperitif
Dolcetto (DOC)Bagna Cauda
Dolcetto (DOC)Beef
Dolcetto (DOC)Red Cabbage
Dolcetto (DOC)Carpaccio
Dolcetto (DOC)Carrots
Dolcetto (DOC)Charcuterie
Dolcetto (DOC)Colby Cheese
Dolcetto (DOC)Gouda Cheese
Dolcetto (DOC)Mozzarella Cheese
Dolcetto (DOC)Muenster Cheese
Dolcetto d'Alba (DOC)Roasted Chicken
Dolcetto (DOC)Chiles
Dolcetto (DOC)Cornish Game Hen
Dolcetto (DOC)Enchiladas
Dolcetto (DOC)Cheese Fondue
Dolcetto d'Alba (DOC)Hamburgers
Dolcetto (DOC)Meatloaf
Dolcetto (DOC)Oregano
Dolcetto (DOC)Pasta with Cheese Sauce
Dolcetto d'Alba (DOC)Pasta with Meatballs/Meat Sauce
Dolcetto (DOC)Pesto
Dolcetto (DOC)Polenta
Dolcetto (DOC)Risotto
Dolcetto (DOC)Salumi
Dolcetto (DOC)Cheese Sauce
Dolcetto (DOC)Italian Sausage
Dolcetto (DOC)Spicy Sausage
Dolcetto (DOC)Steak Flank
Dolcetto (DOC)Steak Tartare
Dolcetto (DOC)Truffles
Dolcetto (DOC)Veal
Dolcetto d'Alba (DOC)White Onion Soup
Dolcetto d'Alba (DOC)Risotto with Quail
Dolcetto d'Alba Superiore (DOC)Veal Rollatine
Dolcetto d'Alba Superiore (DOC)Spinach and Feta Cheese Pastry
Dolcetto d'Alba Superiore (DOC)Truffled Canapés with Cheese
Dolcetto d'Asti (DOC)Zucchini
Dolcetto d'Asti (DOC)Pickled Veal Tongue
Dolcetto d'Asti (DOC)Mozzarella Cheese
Dolcetto (DOC)Veal Marsala
Dolcetto (DOC)Chicken Pot Pie
Dolcetto (DOC)Potato Soup
Dolcetto (DOC)Baked Ziti
Dolcetto (DOC)Pho Bo - Vietnamese Beef Noodle Soup
Dolcetto (DOC)Beef Stew
Dolcetto (DOC)Chicken Fried Steak
Dolcetto (DOC)Cabbage Rolls
Dolcetto (DOC)Manhattan Clam Chowder (Tomato Based)
Dolcetto d'Alba (DOC)Osso Buco

Pasta Bolognese & Dolcetto Pairing

For Pasta Bolognese (or as it’s known in Italy, Ragù alla Bolognese) Dolcetto to work, the Bolognese Sauce must contain a significant amount of tomato-sauce. Dolcetto is medium-bodied and a meaty Bolognese sauce will be too heavy for the medium tannin found in Dolcetto.  For those meatier Bolognese sauces, go for a full bodied Barolo or Chianti Classico.

The zippy fruit flavours of  blueberries, cherries and plum blend well with the tomatoes used in the sauce.  Acidity is important when pairing anything that has tomato in it.  If you pair up a wine that is pure tannin, the acidity of the tomato and the tannin will clash, making the wine taste like a rusty tin can found on the side of the road.  Meanwhile, the a subtle touch of licorice and coffee in Dolcetto adds a touch of rustic charm to this delicious pasta dish.

BBQ Chicken Pizza & Dolcetto Pairing

Dolcetto is an easy-drinking and unpretentious red wine that is perfect with BBQ Chicken Pizza.  Young and fresh, Dolcetto is low in alcohol, making the wine perfect for those movie nights where you don’t want to pass out before the movie is over.  The medium acidity and sweet tannins of Dolcetto match the BBQ sauce perfectly and never overpower the Chicken on your pizza, ensuring you taste all the individual flavours on your slice.

Lasagna & Dolcetto Pairing

Dolcetto is an excellent companion to a meaty or vegetarian Lasagna. It’s Dolcetto’s acidity that is the true star here. The fruity notes of Dolcetto mingle with the tomato sauce in this baked pasta dish, bringing out the flavours of the layers of roasted vegetables, pasta, cheese, tomato sauce, herbs, or meat included in your Lasagna.  Plus, you get all those subtle earthy, licorice, and smoke flavours that tease you with their rustic charm.

Until I discovered Dolcetto, I always had a  problem with portion control when it comes to baked Lasagna.  I would always keep eating Lasagna until I was ready to explode.  To make matters worth, I’d clean up my plate with a butter-slathered dinner roll to snag up any of that extra tomato sauce left on my plate.  My insatiable drive to overeat was due to my taste buds being clogged up by all the cheese and carbohydrates in the Lasagna (and the side of garlic bread).

When your taste buds are clogged, you’re trying to recapture those first few delicious bites as you overeat.  When I introduced Dolcetto, the medium acidity was perfect enough to wash all the fat and carbs off my taste buds, making every bite taste like the very first.  Thus, I ate far less, and no couch nap (which always extended into bedtime) was needed afterward.

French Onion Soup and Dolcetto Pairing

You never want to pair a hearty bowl of French Onion Soup with is full-bodied and high alcohol red wine as this combination will make your mouth taste like burn.  Instead, you want a zippy and fruity Dolcetto that is low in alcohol.

Dolcetto is a refreshing contrast to French Onion Soup in that it never interferes with the soup’s regale caramelized flavours. Dolcetto is easygoing enough to hold back and let the onion do its thing until you’re ready for Dolcetto’s red and black cherry interlude.  Finally, Dolcetto has aromatic notes of violet, licorice, and smoke on the finish, which goes well with the sweet earthiness of French Onion Soup.

Tomato Soup & Dolcetto Pairing

A hearty tomato soup, whether plain or chock full of veggies, rice or noodles, is wonderful with Dolcetto.  Even a tomato-based alphabet soup is perfect with Dolcetto.  The tart fruit flavours of Dolcetto blend well with the Tomato soup’s acidity, ensuring the soup and red wine never clash.  Meanwhile, the medium-bodied Dolcetto holds up perfectly to the thick tomato soup flavours.

Italian Dolcetto DOC Classifications

The most popular and commonly sold Dolcetto is from D’Alba, and it is fruity and meant to be drunk young.  However, two regions called Dogliani and Ovada see it as something more and have created bolder and richer Dolcetto.  In North America, you might not easily find these wines as we tend to import only what is popular.

Dolcetto is also grown and produced in North America and Australia in small batches, however, Piedmont Italy is where you’ll commonly see it from on the shelf.  In Piedmont, Dolcetto ripens one month before Nebbiolo, which is used for Barolo and Barbaresco.  Thus, Dolcetto has helped with cash flow for decades as the grape is harvested, fermented, and transferred in time for the Nebbiolo season.

Regardless, below are the seven Dolcetto regions you will find in Italy and how they are different.

Dolcetto D’Acqui DOC

  • Uses 100% Dolcetto grapes and is aged for 1-year min for Superiore.

Dolcetto D’Alba DOC

  • Uses 100% Dolcetto grapes and is aged for 1-year min for Superiore.
  • Many argue that the best Dolcetto is Dolcetto D’Alba as they enjoy the silky black cherry flavours, sweeter spices and the bitter almond finish.

Dolcetto D’Asti DOC

  • 100% Dolcetto grapes and is aged for 1-year min for Superiore classification.
  • A little lighter than Dolcetto D’Alba and falls in the light-body zone versus the medium-bodied profile of Dolcetto D’Alba.

Dolcetto Delle Langhe Monregalesi DOC

Uses 100% Dolcetto grapes and is aged for 1 year min for Superiore.

Dolcetto Di Siano D’Alba/Diano D’Alba DOC

Uses 100% Dolcetto grapes and is aged for 1 year min for Superiore.

Dolcetto Di Dogliani DOC

  • Uses 100% Dolcetto grapes and is aged for 1-year min for Superiore.
  • Dolcetto Di Dogliani is a bolder style of Dolcetto that still remains medium-bodied.
  • Dolcetto is believed to have originated in Dogliani, and producers there say their Dolcetto is the richest and most flavourful.
  • When aged in oak, Dolcetto Di Dogliani tastes like blackberry jam on toast.

Dolcetto Di Ovada DOC

  • Uses 100% Dolcetto grapes and is aged for 1-year min for Superiore.
  • Expect a more rustic and full-bodied red wine than the other areas.
  • These are the bottles winemakers often keep for themselves and rarely make it over to North America.  So if you’re ever at an Italian wine tasting, always enquire if you can have a sip of what they are drinking behind their table.

Is Dolcetto Sweet?

Dolcetto is not a sweet red wine, but Dolcetto translates to ‘Little Sweet One’ interestingly enough. This nickname might be due to Dolcetto having a sweet, spicy tannin bite or the red wine’s fruity aromas. However, Dolcetto is dry, silky and approachable right out of the bottle.

Dolcetto vs Barbera

The main difference between Barbera and Dolcetto is that Barbera is high in acidity and low in tannin, and Dolcetto is medium in acidity and tannin.  This balance makes Barbera more suitable for tomato based dishes than Dolcetto.  Otherwise, the flavour profile of Dolcetto and Barbera are nearly the same.