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The Dolceacqua Project

posted 17 Sep 2012, 16:17 by William Chong   [ updated 5 May 2013, 07:55 ]
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The thing that floats our boat as wines explorers is finding something rare, undiscovered and most importantly very good. With Rossese di Dolceacqua (say what?) we feel we've struck red gold.

In 2010, after spending a week at the University of Gastronomic Sciences in Pollenzo (Piemonte), I traveled south to Genoa (Liguria) to meet up with Luca Furlotti, a dear friend and fellow wine geek. Luca used to write for Gambero Rosso and had wanted me to taste "something special, something undiscovered outside of Italy". The rest of it as we say, is history...

Fast forward to 2012. Having secured our allocations in Spring this year, Authentic Wine Explorers is now the first and only importer in Asia representing 8 Rossese di Dolceacqua producers. The only other Asian countries with a little of Rossese di Dolceacqua is Japan and Hong Kong (who started importing this year).

>> Nuff said, Is it any good?

Yes we certainly think so... but we'd like you to judge for yourselves.

We invite you on 19th September to be among the first in Singapore to taste Rossese di Dolceacqua at Platters on 42 Club Street, from 7pm to late. $30++ gets you in and a tasting pour of each of the 9 different Rossese di Dolceacqua wines. We will also give out information on Dolceacqua and offer not-to-be-repeated promotional launch prices for these wines.

Please RSVP early to avoid disappointment!

>> What can I expect of these wine?

The wines are made from the Rossese grape for which Liguria is the only place in Italy with significant plantings of it. Outside of Italy, Cote de Provence also grow this varietal (known as Tibouren) as a blending partner for Rose wines.

The wines are ruby coloured, light to medium bodied with pronounced aromatics of cherries, apricots, red blooms, pine, garrigue and the ocean. It shares a lot of similarity with Pinot Noir however most of these wines do not see any significant amount of oak.

>> If it is so good why is it so unknown?

Firstly, tiny quantities. Like in Burgundy, the region is made up of many small family owned producers. The scale here is often smaller than in Burgundy, with some producers making less than 10,000 bottles a year. This makes commercial export not really feasible. Moving small quantities of wines is not economical and, without volume, there is not enough stock to sell to cover the cost of promoting this unknown wine.

Secondly, the land is very inaccessible. In all my years of driving in Europe, Dolceacqua is the one place I found much difficulty getting around in the car. My trusty Tom Tom GPS and Google Maps couldn't help much and I found myself in the hills, often between a cliff and rock face on a 2-way lane the width of 1. Fortunately, once we got to the winery up in the hills, the winemakers drove us around. Unless you are comfortable doing a tight 3-point turn on steep gravel road with a >20m drop on one side, the vineyards are virtually inaccessible unless by foot.

Different people have discovered this wines at different time but it is not near the tipping point of being discovered. Jump in on these before they get expensive, for they certainly will in the yeas to come.

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