Never drink alone.
What does that really mean and why do people like to hold to such absolutes?
Does that mean a single person shall never enjoy a special glass of wine with his dinner? He shall strictly be limited to water until he can find himself a life partner? Does that mean a person traveling solo through Europe cannot imbibe in the local vin de terroir, but shall order l’acqua frizzante every night? What about if someone is stood up for a dinner date? Yes, go home and crack open the OJ… ? What about when you find yourself living with someone else who is a grouch, has no positive conversation to share, and insists on white when you want red? What then? Drink his white wine and suffer through the annoying diatribe?
Yeah, I don’t think so.
These absolutes are a load of BS.
It’s like saying, “Never eat dinner after 8pm.” Does that mean all Europeans are gaining weight and suffering through gastrointestinal problems? No. They seem to be doing better than Americans in the category of healthy weights in the population. And doesn’t it sort-of depend on when you actually go to bed? There’s a big difference between eating a McDonald’s double bacon cheeseburger with fries at 8:30 and hitting the hay at 9pm, and eating a nice healthy salad at 8:30pm and crawling between the sheets at 1am. Just like there’s a big difference between drinking a couple of double Martinis at a bar, striking up conversation with any ‘ol Joe who happens to be on the stool next to you (so you don’t feel “alone”), and dining at an outdoor café with a good novel, drinking a glass of Roero Arneis with your Antipasti Mista and a Langhe Nebbiolo with your Tajarin al Coniglio.
A couple weekends ago I found myself wanting nothing more than to drive through the hills of Barolo by my own sweet self, in my little black rented Fiat Panda, in search of the cute little village of Dogliani.
Dogliani, in the southern part of the Langhe, on the banks of the River Rea (a tributary to the Tanaro River), is one of the best regions for the production of red wine made from the Dolcetto grape. And Dolcetto happens to be one of my favorite wine grapes. Having not made any tasting appointments, I sought out the Bottega del Vino di Dolcetto di Dogliani, situated in a XVI Century building in the heart of the village, where on display (and for sale) one can find over 50 different Dolcetto di Dogliani wines.
I picked up a bottle of Chionetti Dolcetto Briccolero 2009, since I never tried a wine by this highly-recommended winery. For the sweet little price of 10€, little did I know, I had acquired my next “Ah-ha!” wine.
The next day I picked up some fresh Ravioli al Funghi from a shop in Asti after attending the Feste delle Sagre with some friends. That evening, after throwing the pasta together with a little olive oil, salt, a dash of pasta water, diced red and yellow peperone (bell peppers), machê, and fresh Parmigiana, experienced a little match made in heaven. Yes, all by myself.
Chionetti Dolcetto Briccolero 2009. Dolcetto di Dogliani DOC. Deep magenta, opaque in the middle, with a transparent purple rim. A deep and rich bouquet of cocoa, oregano, ruby port-like spices, and cooking jalapeño. One thing I love about Dolcetto is its usual mouth-filling center, and this one does not disappoint: rich, supple red fruits and more autumn spices with a tiny kick, suggestive of a smooth tequila. The finish on this wine is a perfect balance of everything I hope for in a wine. The refreshing acidity perfectly balances the chalky tannins and fresh berry jam is accented by a surprising minerality. ★ ★ ★
If I’m damned to hell for drinking alone, a couple of glasses of Dolcetto with my pasta, well, I think I’ll buy myself a first class ticket. I am looking forward to the company!