Francesco Boschis is an under-the-radar star in Piedmont, making wines that are well above the average standard for Dolcetto, Barbera and Freisa. Based in Dogliani, the vineyards here are more elevated than Alba (550m asl) as well as further south and with more exposition to the Mediterranean. Dolcetto elsewhere in Piedmont is a fun, simple drink. Here it makes something dark, serious and rich with complexity. The family have grown grapes for 100 years and made their own wines for the last 50. Mario Boschis runs the 14 hectares of vines with his wife Simona, and two sons Paolo and Marco and nobody else. When they plant new vineyards they taking cuttings from prephylloxera selections and their own clone of Dolcetto is small-berried with thick skins. The vineyards are all managed organically, and they also farm Piemontese cattle, hazelnuts and manage their own beehives. The Boschis labels are made by local artist Teresita Terreno, and they beautifully describe the time of year when each of their wines is best enjoyed.
Boschis Barbera ripples with that succulent acidity that is the hallmark of the variety, guiding a flood of brambley summer fruits across the palate in a cascade of lip-smacking pleasure. Drink any time of the year, the super soft tannins enable this to take the lightest of chills to highlight its vivacious beauty. This is Barbera from Alba and comes with more richness and intensity than the Langhe Barbera, and is given a little more time on skins during fermentation and then takes to oak (20% new) for maturation. This is darker toned than the Langhe, with a little more tannin but the extra year of ageing in the winery makes this a dark, sumptuous feast of a wine.