2019 Gillardi Dogliani Cursalet


Current stock: 32

Importer's Notes: Deep crimson color with a lush and velvety texture. A complex nose of red fruit with tobacco and hints of licorice. Full and round in the mouth with budding notes of leather and cured meat.

I first had the Gillardi family’s Cursalet Dolcetto many years ago at a dinner in the town of Barolo featuring wines specially chosen by a panel convened by the Knights of the White Truffle and Wines of Alba.  The experts, a who’s-who of winemakers, sommeliers and growers in the region, blind tasted an enormous selection of local wines with only the very best earning the ‘Selezione di Cavalieri’ label.  A repeat winner, we enjoyed this 100% Dolcetto from very old vines with a plate of chef Marc Lanteri’s glorious agnolotti dal plin, and it was one of those ‘a-ha’ wine and food moments one doesn’t soon forget.  The wine, though, at the time, was only available in Italy, and I had to resort to direct importing a few bottles to feature at a Cavalieri dinner here at PRIMA the next spring.  Fast forward a year or so later to a lunch I had in Alba where, at the next table, Federico Ceretto introduced me to the lovely, ebullient Elena Gillardi, the newest generation of Gillardi to make wine at this venerable Dogliani property.  Good news, she told me, as we shared a bottle of her family’s powerful 2013 Barolo, Gillardi just so happened to be looking for someone to import their wines into California.  If we were interested, a trip to the old family farm in Famigliano near Dogliani might be in order.  Well, she didn’t need to ask me twice!  The trip out there from Barolo was a short 20 minutes, but what a world apart is this southernmost part of the Langhe.  The hillsides are nosebleed steep and dotted with stumpy old Dolcetto vines, some aged almost a century.  And then there’s the human dynamo called Elena!  Although it was her dad Giacolini, long the enologist at Ceretto, who built the place, it’s Elena who does almost everything from organically farming these old vineyards, to making and packaging the wines, dealing with compliance and all that, to actually selling it all.  All while she and her husband (not involved in the family business) are raising her handful of a young son!  I was charmed, and the wines were every bit as good in person as they had been every other time I’d tasted them.  A deal was struck and now, finally, we are pleased to introduce to California the extraordinary wines coming from this up-and-coming producer of Dolcetto, Barolo and an unlikely but crazy-delicious Syrah.  Might as well start with a bang- the Gillardis’ flagship Dogliani from the old Cursalet vineyard, the vertiginous slope right in front of the winery. Cursalet is Piemontese dialect for the Cascina Corsaletto, the Dogliani estate the family purchased in 1923 and planted to Dolcetto.  The fruit for decades went to the local cooperativo until Giacolino decided to bottle some himself in 1980. They have never looked back. The vines here are on a densely planted, very steep slope that sits at around 250 meters.  Now certified organic, the wines here are very much indicative of the unique qualities that compelled the growers in this very small sub-zone of the Dolcetto d’Alba appellation to seek the Dogliani DOCG to distinguish their wines from the rest.  Preternaturally dark and intense, there is a presence and persistence here one doesn’t normally associate with the grape.  And structure!  While most Dolcetto is plump, juicy and made for immediate gratification, these old vines provide considerable depth and a breadth of dark, truffle-y flavors that tempts one to cellar a few bottles as well as drink them now.  Plum skin, blueberry, bitter chocolate, wet earth and faded violets are only some of the flavors you’ll discover in this mid-weight, beautifully stylish red you can happily drink with the aforementioned agnolotti but also with sausages, burgers, fried chicken or even some lamb chops!  Utterly delicious, I enjoyed a magnum bottle with the PRIMA crew at La Coccinella in Serravalle and loved it, and made sure we added lots of large format bottles of the Cursalet to our container. Can you imagine a (very well-priced) double magnum bottle at your dinner table this holiday season? I am…… 

Bulk Pricing:

  • Buy 12 or above and pay only $25.00 each