Pecchenino, San Luigi 2014 Dogliani


From £12.50, €10.08, $12.25

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I featured this Dolcetto-based beauty in my recent round up of Oddbins latest offerings and think it deserves a second exposure because it satisfies just about every criteria I value in a red wine. Incidentally (and coincidentally), Oddbins is making a lot of noise today about Black Friday – specifically, that it is offering precisely 0% off its entire range for one day only. This is the kind of quirky marketing that won it so may fans in its heyday, and is part of a larger promotional campaign called #WhatTheFox – which includes this splendidly peculiar Christmas advert.

Back to the Dolcetto. Firstly, it is moderate in alcohol, at 13% for the 2014 vintage. Debates about alcohol level continue to preoccupy the wine world, and for good reason. In my experience, most red wine is above 13.5% these days, and shows no sign of abating. While it’s true that – as with all of a wine’s constituent parts – balance can be achieved at every level, there remains a far more practical implication concerning alcohol.

Frankly speaking, I prefer moderate alcohol wines for casual everyday drinking so that I can have a few generous glasses without feeling drunker than I would wish. Finding a red that fulfils this remit without suffering from underripe fruit, acid or tannins is not always easy. This Pecchenino Dogliani ably fits the bill.

Another advantage it displays is pride of place. Stylistically, this wine could only be Italian. It combines sour-cherry fruit with dark savoury flavours – my tasting note says aniseed and liquorice – with high acidity and light body giving great refreshment on the finish. Incidentally, I have no qualms in advising avoidance of their more expensive Dogliano, called Bricco Botti, precisely because its higher extraction and alcohol spoils everything that makes the San Luigi so appealing.

Talking of price, another pleasing element of this wine is its value. At £12.50 in the UK (and from €10.08 in Italy and $12.25 in the US) it might be beyond the supermarket drinker, but I hope it doesn’t seem expensive for this readership. Considering the ample flavour concentration it delivers within a light frame, I would certainly class the price as good value.

Light bodied it may be, but another reason to love this wine is its versatility. Its juicy acid and soft tannins makes it drinkable lightly chilled or at room temperature, and while it’s probably happiest accompanying traditional Italian fare, I would just as soon drink it by itself or with Sunday roast or even with fish – but perhaps this says more about my own attitude towards food and wine matching dogma.

On top of all that, the relative rarity of the appellation satisfies the nerdy tendency of most wine nuts, plus the label is both classically Italian while being legible and modern. And perhaps most remarkably of all, even their website is well made!

The final factor to cement its appeal is availability. Trusty wine-searcher lists the 2014 as being sold in Italy, Germany, the US and the UK while previous vintages are sold in France, The Netherlands, Denmark, Hong Kong, Singapore and Russia.

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