How about a little education. I don’t consider myself an expert nor am I a dunce when it comes to wine. I have learned quite a bit from the owner and winemaker Tony Ciccone. He is always willing to answer my question about something I don’t know and he is quick to praise when I can find a certain aroma in the wine (which I have discovered I have quite a nose).
So today class we are going to be learning about a grape called Dolcetto (dole-CHEH-toh). This roughly translates in Italian to “little sweet one” but usually the wine produced is not sweet. It is a plump dark purple grape that is very picky about its growing process. It is an Italian varietal and is typically found in the Piedmont region in Italy. But you can probably count between your two hands the places that grow Dolcetto successfully in the United States and Mr. Ciccone is the only one in Michigan to grow Dolcetto grapes.
When Tony Ciccone started planting his vines in 1995 and 1996 he knew that he had to grow and produce Dolcetto. It was one of his fathers favorite wines. Tony’s parents came from Pacentro, Italy in the early 1900’s and from some of the stories I have heard from Tony they always had homemade wine brewing in the basement and grapes growing in the back yard.
At Ciccone Vineyards in Suttons Bay, Michigan at the top of Hilltop Road we have our own little piece of Italy, with panoramic views and rolling hills. We produce about 2,000 bottles (give or take) of Dolcetto wine. It is usually full of floral aromas and a nice earthy quality. The taste is usually bursting with plums or black cherry, which makes this typically dry red a smooth wine. These qualities make Dolcetto a very easy and drinkable wine with any classic Italian meal.
Currently at Ciccone Vineyards we have our 2006 Vintage on the shelf but will be selling out soon. Not long after that is off the shelf you will see our 2007 Vintage which is being said a great year for Leelanau Peninsula grape growing.