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Something else from the Langhe hills

One of the great dishes from Piemonte is Bagna Cauda or hot bath as it translates. It’s a sauce or dip made from garlic (loads of it) and anchovies that can be served before a meal with lots of raw vegetables or even pieces of bread that really brings the appetite to life. Just make sure you don’t have any plans for kissing someone later unless they are going to join you in the dish.

The traditional accompaniment to this is a really good Dolcetto wine and we have two wonderful examples, both from Anna Maria Abbona. The first is the Langhe Dolcetto grown all over the Langhe hills. It’s a simple red with plenty of red fruit and some spices. It's an ideal anytime red and will happily partner with just about any red meat or vegetable dish. It's made from the youngest Dolcetto vines on the property but even these are an average of around 30 years. The vines are situated at around 500 meters of altitude so the acidity is very fresh and cleans the palate wonderfully. Bright red fruits dominate both the nose and the palate mingling with some spice notes all supported by light tannins and a refreshing acidity. Lip-smackingly good!

But if you’re looking for something bigger and more robust, the same lady makes a superb Dogliani (it used to be called Dolcetto di Dogliani) which is a real Dolcetto. An absolutely classic Piemontese red that's simply packed with red fruits such as raspberry and plum with notes of violets above. It was vinified solely in stainless steel so there's no oak influence to muddy the flavours and aromas. It's fresh and lively and just the thing to drink with this classic dish. This was the first wine from Anna Maria that I encountered and ever since it has remained a firm favourite. Of all the various forms of Dolcetto that one encounters in the Langhe, Dogliani for me is the best and Anna maria is top of the tree. There are plenty more that are more elaborate and barrel-matured but I really think this detracts from the true style of Dolcetto. Sensational!!