Monthly Archives: June 2014

2014 International Pinot Grigio Challenge

The 2014 International Pinot Grigio Challenge was held in Corno Di Rosazzo, near Udine in the Northeastern Italian region of Friuli Venezia Giulia in Italy. I like the food and the wines of the region and have always enjoyed its Pinot Grigio, so I was delighted to be invited to be one of the judges.IMG_5741

The event took place over three days. The first day there was a round table discussion on Pinot Grigio: “Commercial Challenge on the World Market.” There were a number of speakers, including myself, and I found the conversation to be most interesting

Some of the topics discussed included the reasons for the popularity of Pinot Grigio, how to improve its image, Pinot Grigo in different countries and the other names for Pinot Grigio

Pinot Grigio came to Italy after the phylloxera plague in Europe in the late 19th Century. It most likely originated in Burgundy and is a genetic mutation of Pinot Noir. It is grown mostly in northeastern Italy. The best examples in my opinion come from Friuli Venezia Giulia and Trentino Alto Adige

Pinot Grigio is not a white grape as can be seen by looking at the bunches. The must of the grape is basically copper in color, of anthocyanin origin, that does not always persist through bottling. This has to do with the presence or lack of oxygen during fermentation.

In the 1960’s Santa Margherita, thanks to the latest vinification techniques, was able to produce a white wine changing the history of the grape forever. By the 1980’s Pinot Grigio from Italy became so popular that it is looked upon as an Italian grape in the eyes of the world. Today Pinot grigio enjoys world wine popularity and is the number one grape varietal imported into the USA with over a 40% market share.

Some of the bottles

Some of the bottles

Some producers have gone back to the old style and produce a wine, which is copper/ orange in color. An example of this was the #2 wine in the Challenge, “Gossip” by Di Lenardo

The judging took place on the second day. The idea for the International Pinot Grigo Challenge came from Daniele Cernilli, known as “Doctor Wine.”

With Cernilli as the head, 24 judges from many different countries were to taste the wines blind and select the winners. There were 128 wines from all over the world. The judges were divided into groups of three. In the first round a score was given to each wine tasted. Next the 3 judges were presented with 2 wines, each judge stated their preference and one wine was eliminated. With 3 judges there could not be a tie. When this was completed there was a break for lunch. After lunch it was the same except there were 5 judges, again two wines were presented and one was eliminated.

Daniele Cernilli "Doctor Wine"  announcing the winners

Daniele Cernilli “Doctor Wine” announcing the winners

Cernilli called the judging a “winebledon” with direct challenges in couples, like a tennis match, evaluated by mixed and uneven juries.

After this segment was over the votes were tallied and there were 8 finalists.

The third day was the official announcement of the winners and the award ceremony. Listed below are the eight finalists in order. The first three wines were awarded medals.IMG_5744

Pinot Grigio Alto Adige “Punggl” DOC 2013 Nals Margreid Trentino Alto Adige #1IMG_5745

Pinot Grigio Ramato (copper) “Gossip” IGT 2013 Venezia Gulia Di Lenardo Friuli Venezia Giulia Harvest is by hand. The grapes are placed in a tank for 18 hours of skin maceration. Then the skins are separated and the must is transferred to temperature-controlled fermentation steel vats. The wine is on the lees before bottling. For the whole process oxygen does not come in contact with the wine in order to preserve the color. The wine has a light copper color with luminescent clarity. The aromas include wild strawberry, elderberry, hay and dried roses with hints of dried fruits and almond. There is a balance of robust fruit and crisp acidity. It is closed with a composite cork DIAM. 20,000 bottles were produced.  I described  how this wine  because has the ‘copper” color. #2IMG_5746

Pinot Grigio Friuli Grave DOC 2013 I Magredi Friuli Venezia Giulia. This wine of the final eight was given the award for best value for the money. #3

Pinot Grigio Friuli Colli Orientali DOC 2013 Torre Rosazza Friuli Venezia Giulia

Pinot Grigio Collio “Jesera” DOC 2013 Venica & Venica Friuli Venezia Giulia

Pinot Grigio Alto Adige Castel Ringberg” DOC 2013 Trentinio Alto Adige Elena Walch

Pinot Grigio Friuli Colli Orientali DOC 2013 Friuli Venezia Giulia La Sclusa

Pinot Grigio Friuli Colli Orientali DOC Azienda Perusini di Perusini Teresa Friuli Venezia Giulia

Three of my favorite producers were in this group: Di Leonardo, Venica & Venica and Elena WalchIMG_5734

There was a special category for wines with residual sugar exceeding 9g/l. The winner was Pinot Gris AAC 2013 Cuvee Saine Chatherine Weinbach Faller France.

Looking back over the wines that I chose all of them were from Friuli Venezia Giulia and the Alto Adige. Daniele Cernilli confirmed that I voted for the number one rated wine.

 

 

2 Comments

Filed under Daniele Cernilli, Dr. Wine, International Pinot Grigio Challenge, Pinot Grigio

The Wines of Gradis’ciutta

I first tasted the wines of Gradis’ciutta at a lunch and tasting of the wines of Friuli Venezia Giulia given by the Wine Media Guild at Felidia restaurant. I was so impressed by these wines that I contacted Franco Bengazi of The Wine Emporium, the importer and distributor, to find out more about them. Since I was so enthusiastic about the Gradis’ciutta wines, Franco asked me if I would organize a tasting and lunch at SD26, one of my favorite Italian restaurants, for some journalists so they could meet Robert Princic the owner/winemaker and taste the wine.

Robert Princic

Robert Princic

Robert told us that his family has been in this area since the 18th century but the present winery was started in 1997. He said that the winery is located in the Collio wine region of Friuli Venezia Giulia close to the border with Slovenia. The Collio is a group of high hills west of the city of Gorizia. The soil here is sandstone and clay and the vineyards are at different elevations so that he can plant the vines that he wants at the best altitude for them. He said that he did not name the winery after himself but the area where it is located.

Gradis’ciuttaIMG_5641

We started with a sparkling NV Brut Sinefinis Rebolium (Classic Method) It is a joint venture between Robert Princic and his friend Matjaž Cetrtic a producer just over the border in Slovenia. The European Commission has classified these two territories as a C2 zone giving wine producers the opportunity to produce wines from grapes harvested from both countries.

The wine is made from 100% Ribolla grapes (Robolium is one of the Medieval names for Ribolla) obtained from Ribolla Gialla grapes from Collio in Italy and from Rebula grapes from Brda in Slovenia. These historic hills had been united until 1947 and were divided because of a treaty that was a resulted of the Second World War. Ribolla has been grown in these hills since medieval times. The vineyards that are the source for this wine are located at Giasbana (San Floriano del Collio) and Gradis’ciutta (Gorizia) for the Italian percentage and at Biljana (Bigliana) and Kojsko (Quisca) for the Slovenian. The grapes are obtained from vineyards with a density of between 4,000 and 5,000 plants per hectare in the guyot system, with a yield of 70-80 quintals per hectare.There is a soft pressing of the whole grape clusters and then a cold decanting and temperature controlled fermentation. Aging takes place with the tirage in the following spring, the year after the harvest. Secondary fermentation takes place in the bottle and the preservation of the effervesence is at a controlled temperature. Maturation on the yeasts lasts 18 months.IMG_5645

Collio Chardonnay 2011 made from 100% Chardonnay. Chardonnay was confused with Pinot Bianco in this region until the 1970’s. The vines are at 400 to 600 meters and the training system is guyot. The juice is obtained from a soft pressing of the grapes macerated for 24 hours. 80% 0f the fermentation takes place in temperature-controlled stainless steel tanks and 20% takes place in new oak barrels. The wine is matured on its lees, then the two lots are blended together and the wine is bottled. There were aromas and flavors of apple and honey with a slight hint of vanilla.IMG_5644

Collio Pinot Grigio 2012, 100% Pinot Grigio. This grape variety was first called Ruläander when it came to the Gorizia area in the second half of the 1800’s. The color of the grape tends to be copper. Pinot Grigio is a red grape and it was not until the early 1960’s with the use of modern vinification that it was made into a white wine. Some producers now make a wine in the old style that is pink/orange in color. The vineyard is at 325 to 475 feet and the training system is guyot. Soft pressing of the grapes and fermentation in temperature controlled stainless steel tanks, aging on the lees until the wine is bottled. The wine had a slight copper color, with flavor hints of peach and ripe apple. There was also an aroma of tomato leaf. It is a very interesting wine.IMG_5646

Friulano Collio DOC, 2011, 100% Tocai Friulano.   If you ask for white wine in Friuli, this is what you will get. The name of the wine was changed from Tocai to Friulano because Hungary has a dessert wine called Tokay. The Hungarians convinced the EU to make Friuli change the name of their wine  to Friulano in 2007 to avoid confusion because the names sounded alike. This in my opinion was not necessary. Soft pressing of the grapes is followed by 24 to 48 hour fermentation at low temperatures in stainless steel tanks. The wine is aged on its lees until it is ready to be bottled.  It has good fruit aromas and flavors with a hint of apple and a touch of almond in the finish and aftertaste.IMG_5642

Ribolla Gialla 2011, 100% Ribolla Gialla. This is the oldest grape variety of Collio. It has been here since Roman times. The vineyards are at 600 feet and the training method is guyot. The soil is sandstone marl and clay marl. The grapes undergo criomaceration for 24 hours and then are pressed and fermented in temperature controlled stainless steel tanks. The wine remains on its lees until bottled. It has nice citrus aromas and flavors with a very pleasant finish and aftertaste.IMG_5647

Collio Bianco “Bratinis” 2010 made from Chardonnay, Ribolla Gialla and Sauvignon Blanc in various percentages. The soil is a mixture of breakable sandstone and clay marl called ponca. The name of the wine comes from the locality where the grapes are grown and harvested. The vines are between 500 and 600 feet and the training system is guyot. There is a soft pressing of the grapes and fermentation takes place in temperature controlled stainless steel tanks. The wine matures on the lees and is then bottled. At one time the wine was produced in such small amounts that it was only available for the family.  It is aromatic with hints of apple and peach and a touch of pineapple. It has a long finish and pleasing aftertaste.

All of the wines sell for around $20 a bottle- great value for the money.

 

 

3 Comments

Filed under Gradis'ciutta, Italian White Wine, Italian Wine, Uncategorized

Livio Felluga’s “TERRE ALTE”

Terre Alte from Livio Felluga has been a favorite of mine since I first tasted it in the early 1980’s. It is a wine that I describe as seductive and without a doubt one of the best white wines produced in Italy.IMG_5389

Recently, I was invited to attend a vertical tasting of Terre Alte going back to 1997 featuring Andrea Felluga as the speaker. I have known Andrea Felluga since 1994 when I visited the winery. That was also the year that Livio, Andrea’s father handed over the winemaking duties to him.

IMG_5387

Andrea Felluga

Andrea began by speaking about the history of Friuli-Venezia Giulia and of his family.  Andrea said that his father was born in 1914 when the area was part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. He explained how the shifting borders after WWI and WWII caused many problems. His family lost everything after WWII but Livio was able to remain on the Italian side of the border and start his winery. Livio is now 100 years old.

Andrea told us that the “Map Label” on the wines was introduced in 1956 as a way for his father to pay tribute to the land and culture of Friuli. He described Terre Alte as an elegant, complex and “captivating” wine. Terre Alte in Italian means high ground.IMG_5376

Terre Alte Collio Orientali del Friuli is a blend of estate grown grapes: Friulano, Pinot Bianco and Sauvignon Blanc from the vineyards in the Rosazzo zone. The soil is marl and sandstone and the training system is guyot. The bunches of grapes are carefully destemmed and left to macerate for a short period of time. Then the grapes were crushed. The must is then allowed to settle. Pinot Bianco and Sauvignon are fermented at controlled temperatures in stainless steel tanks. The Friulano is fermented and aged in small casks of French (no new oak is used) oak. The Pinot Bianco and Sauvignon matures in stainless steel tanks. After aging for ten months the wines are blended. The bottled wine is aged in temperature controlled binning cellars for 9 months before release. Andrea said that depending on the vintage one of the three grapes would assert itself.

If Sauvignon Blanc dominates, the wine will have hints of sage, and grapefruit. In other vintages the Friulano prevails with notes of pear, peach and fresh almonds.

There were also times when the floral notes of the Pinot Bianco took over and hints of orange blossoms and yeast stood out in the bouquet.

Andrea said that freshness is a key attribute. Terre Alte expresses a unique composition of aromas, depending on its age, and either floral or fruity fragrances with notes of pastry and bread. For the more mature vintages straw and dried flowers can be present. The first vintage of Terre Alte was in 1981.IMG_5378

The Terre Alte Vertical

2012 DOCG $80 This is a very young wine and needs time to develop

2011 DOCG $80 Andrea did not think that this bottle was showing well and he said that it had notes of garlic. We tried another bottle and it was fine but it needs more time.

2009 DOC $160 Very balanced wine with ripe fruit, a touch of ginger, a great finish and wonderful aftertaste.IMG_5384

2008 DOC In this vintage the Friulano prevailed with the notes of pear, peach and fresh almonds. Sold out.

2006 DOC This vintage was the most Sauvignon in character with aromas of sage and grapefruit and a touch of grass. Andrea said this was because it was a cool vintage and there was less skin contact. $180

2001 DOC The blend this year was 30% Tocai Friulano, 30% Pinot Bianco and 40% Sauvignon. Sold out. This was one of my favorites with just a hint of the Sauvignon showing through. 750 is sold out but there is a magnum for $645

1998 DOC Sold out of 750 but there is a Magnum at $720

This was my favorite wine of the tasting. Very well balanced, great depth of flavor, and very elegant. This is where the Pinot Bianco may have dominated with hints of orange blossoms and a touch of yeast.

1997 DOC Sold out of 750 but a there is a 3L at $1,650 This wine was beginning to show a little age, but still drinking very well,with hints of herbs, honey rosemary and nice fruit.

Even though the Terre Alte may differ slightly vintage to vintage it still can be recognized as Terre Alte by its depth of flavor complexity and elegance.

 

2 Comments

Filed under Andrea Felluga, Italian White Wine, Livio Felluga, Terre Alte

Primo Franco: The First Man of Prosecco

 

Recently, I met with Primo Franco of the Prosecco house Nino Franco in New York. We were tasting and drinking his Prosecco and I mentioned that Michele and I would be in the town of Asolo in the Veneto the following week. Primo smiled and said that the town is less then 20 minutes from his winery and we must come and visit. It was an offer I could not refuse.

Primo Franco

Primo Franco

Primo picked us up at our hotel and on the way to the winery gave us a tour of the vineyards. He said there had been some heavy rain and hail damage but the vines were recovering.

When we arrived at the winery Primo showed us the tanks and explained that almost all Prosecco is made by the Charmat method. After the grapes are crushed and fermented, a secondary fermentation takes place. Sugar is added to the wine and as the yeast “eats” the sugar it produces the pressure, which creates the bubbles in the wine. The tanks have a double wall of heavy steel because of the pressure inside the tank. There is insulation between the walls. The wine remains on the lees at 8°C under pressure and is kept there until it is ready to be bottled. IMG_5538

Primo said that in the past the winery made wine from many different grapes but starting in 1983 when he took over all they now make is sparkling wine.

IMG_1971 (1)

The Vineyards

Primo explained the new laws for Prosecco that went into effect from the 2009 harvest. He said that the historical area around the two towns of Conegliano and Valdobbiadene would now become DOCG. The zones that were IGT would now become DOC, and the rest IGT. This DOC would include the 9 provinces of Treviso: Vicenza, Padova, Belluno, Venezia, Pordenone, Udine, Gorizia and Trieste.   Only the producers in the DOC and DOCG zones will be allowed to call their wine Prosecco, while those in the IGT zone will have to call it Glera. The term Prosecco will be used to identify the region that the wine comes from and the grape will be Glera. The historic area of the appellation remains the same.

Under the new law, a producer cannot make a “Rose Prosecco” (which I always saw as a contradiction in terms), nor have the words “Prosecco Blend” on the label. Prosecco is now produced all over the world, even in Brazil. Primo hoped that the new laws would preserve Prosecco’s identify and integrity and that the new regulations will help people to understand that true Prosecco only comes from the DOC/DOCG zone.

Primo told us of going into a store in NYC that sold only Italian wines. He spotted a Rose Prosecco on the shelf, and could hardly believe it! Primo feels that these new laws are necessary to protect the true Prosecco and it was important that everyone should know them.

At the winery, we tasted vintage Primo Franco Prosecco going back to 1992, which was first produced in 1983 when Primo took over the winery. Primo started us off with a glass of wine that he took from the tank. He wanted us to taste the wine that he starts with before it becomes sparkling. Primo made a point of saying that you must start with a good white wine in order to make good sparkling wine.IMG_5546

Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore DOCG Primo Franco made from 100% Glera grapes. It is classified as dry meaning it has 17 to 32 g/l residual sugar and the alcohol content is 10.5%. Malolactic fermentation does not take place.

We tasted the 2013 and the 2003 together because Primo felt that they were very similar vintages. 2003 was very warm and half of the harvest was in August and the other half in the beginning of September. He said that 2013 had very hot days and cold nights. The 2013 has a lingering peach aspect to it.

The 2003 was a revelation for me. I always believed that Prosecco is a wine to be drunk young. This Prosecco was lively and fresh, complex with a depth of flavor and hints of ripe apple, almonds and lemon peel.

The 2000 was drinking very well. It was smooth and creamy with hints of honey, a long finish and pleasing after taste.IMG_5544

The 1992 — I could not believe how well this wine was drinking.

Primo showed us a bottle of 1956 Prosecco that he had in the cellar buy it was only for display.IMG_5548

Last but not least was a bottle of 1985 Prosecco di Valdobbadene Superiore di Cartizze, “Dry” 100% Glera from the Cartizze hills. Grapes grown on the 1,000 ft high Cartizze are the most expensive in the zone and make the highest price wines. There are 140 producers that share the vineyards. Made by the Charmat method. This wine was showing some age but is still quite drinkable.IMG_5558

We were fortunate to be invited to Primo’s home for lunch. With lunch we had the Grave di Stecca Brut sparkling wine. The vineyard is of ancient origin “Grave di Stecca” a clos on the slopes at the foot of the Pre-Alps, not far from the square of Valdobbiadene. It has a southern exposure and is partly shielded by a huge garden and has a special microclimate. Made from 100% Glera grapes. The alcohol is 12%.IMG_5553

This was a perfect combination with the Risotto with Peas prepared by Primo’s wife AnnaLisa.

Valdobbiadene Porsecco Superiore “Brut” DOCG 1 to 12% g/l residual sugar from the Valdobbiadene and Conegliano production area.

Valbdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore “Brut”DOCG  DOCG from the Riva di San Floriano vineyard in Valdobbiadene

Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore “Dry” DOCG “Rustico”. All of the above are 100% Glera and are made by the Charmat method.

He also makes a sparkling wine “Faîve,” a brut made from 80% Merlot and 20% Cabernet Franc also by the Charmat method.

Leave a comment

Filed under Nino Franco, Primo Franco, Prosecco, Sparkling wine

Visiting the Tommasi Winery

Michele and I recently returned to Lake Garda, one of our favorite places in Northern Italy. We stayed in Bardolino, a picturesque town right on the lake. There are plenty of good hotels, restaurants, and, if you like that sort of thing, theme parks. The area is very lush, with olive trees, palm trees and flowers everywhere. Many wineries are within a short driving distance from the lake and I have visited several in the past. This time, I was determined to visit the Tommasi winery in Valpolicella, which is only a half hour away. This is a very traditional producer of Valpolicella and Amarone and I like their style of wine.

I made an appointment with Annalisa Armani, the PR person and marketing director. She greeted us when we arrived at the winery. Annalisa is very charming, interesting and informative not only about the winery but also about the wines. She began by telling us about the origins of Tommasi.

IMG_5492

“Magnifica”

Tommasi Vintners is a family affair. The estate is run by the 4th generation of the family working together each with his well defined area of responsibility. I mention this because we so often hear of family owned Italian wineries where the family members cannot work together

IMG_5499

Barrels from 1902

The cellar houses many different sized barrels. Annalisa led us down a double row of large barrels standing like an honor guard leading to “Magnifica” the world’s largest oak barrel that contains the equivalent of 44,000 bottles of wine. It was installed in 2010 and is in the Guinness Book of Records. Annalisa also showed us three historical barrels from 1902 when the company was founded, that were made by Giacomo Battista Tommasi.

The winery is situated in Pedemonte in the heart of the Valpolicella Classical Zone about a half hour from Lake Garda. There are 195 hectares of vines on the estate.

90 hectares of vines produce Bardolino, Custoza, Soave and Lugana and 105 hectares produce Amarone Classico, Ripasso Valpolicella, Valpolicella Classico Superiore and Recioto della Valpolicella.

Annalisa explained that the historical classical area of Valpolicella is northeast of Verona and looks like an open hand with four fingers pointing upward. These are the four separate valleys of the region where the warm breezes from Lake Garda meet the colder winds from the Lessini mountains, creating a perfect climate for the cultivation of vines, olives and cherries.

Annalisa led us through a tasting of the wines. This is not the order in which we tasted the wines but I listed them this way to explain the process of producing them more easily.IMG_5505

Amarone Classico 2010. The first vintage to be DOCG is made from 50% Corvina Veronese, 15% Corvinone 30% Rondinella and 5% Oseleta. Molinara grapes are no longer allowed for Amarone but can be used for Valpolicella.

The vines are on hillside terraces; the training system is high-density guyot. The Groletta and Conca d’Oro vineyards are located in the area of classic historical Valpolicella. The grapes are hand harvested.

Annalisa showed us the place where the grapes are dried for the Amarone. It is a very large room, called a fruttaio, with large windows on the sides that are left open when the grapes are drying. Annalisa made a point of saying that the drying of the grapes in the fall and winter is as important as the flowering and the maturing of the grapes during the spring and summer. The colder the weather the better it is for drying the grapes because they become more concentrated and raisin-like. Because the temperature is higher now than it was 10 years ago, they have installed fans and a system for removing the humidity. They do not want Botrytis (noble rot) to form on the grapes. There are some producers that now dry their grapes in warehouses that are temperature controlled with air-conditioning. IMG_5487

The grapes are placed in plastic boxes, which hold 5/6 kg and put on wooden racks to dry where cooling breezes in the autumn and winter until January dry them. This drying period is known as the appassimento. Annalisa said that this is an active period where the grapes lose about 50% of their weight and there is a concentration of the natural sugar.

Dried grapes in the old wooden boxes

Dried grapes in the old wooden boxes

This process gives the wine the key aromas and fruit flavors and raises the alcohol level. Amarone must be at least 14% alcohol. She also said that it takes grapes from 3 of the open plastic boxes to make one bottle of Amarone.

This wine was aged for 6 months in Magnifica and 2-1/2 years in large Slovenian oak barrels of 35HL, and one year in bottle before release.

Annalisa said that 2010 was a difficult vintage but the grapes were exceptional. A slow appassimento lasted until January 10. The grapes lost 40% of their weight and the final result was excellent. This wine will age.

Many producers make Amarone that has too much residual sugar and tastes more like the traditional dessert wine, but this is an Amarone that goes very well with food. It is a complex wine, full bodied, with aromas and flavors of ripe cherries, raisins, plums and a hint of balsamic.

Up until the 1950’s there was no Amarone being produced. The big wine of the area was Recioto della Valpolicella, which is a red dessert wine of 15% or more alcohol. Legend has that Amarone (meaning bitter) was discovered by accident but that is not the case. The producers needed an important dry wine so they decided to change the process a little and produce an Amarone.IMG_5508

Valpolicella Classico Superiore DOC “Rafaèl” 2012. From the Rafaèl vineyard in the town of San Pierto in Cariano. The wine is made from 60% Corvina Veronese, 25% Rondinella, and 15% Molinara. Fermentation at controlled temperature in stainless steel tanks with 8 days maceration. The wine is aged in traditional Slovenian oak casks of 65 HL for 15 months. This is a fruity wine with flavors and aromas of ripe cherries and plums and hint of white roses IMG_5509

Recioto Della Valpolicella Classico”Fiorato” DOCG 2010 from grapes from the town of San Pietro in Cariano in Valpolicella Classico. Made from 65% Corvina, 30% Rondinella, and 5% Molinara. This is the traditional dessert wine produced in this region before the creation of Amarone. It is obtained from the fermentation of dried grapes. The grapes are dried for 5 months and then aged in 5hl barrels. This is a concentrated wine rich and fruity with hints of cherries, figs and plums and, for a dessert wine it is very elegant.IMG_5504

Valpolicella Classico Superiore “Ripasso 2012”made from 70% Corvina Veronese, 25% Rondinella, and 5% Corvinone. The harvest takes place in September. Fermentation is in stainless steel tanks for about 9 days. After the juice for Amarone has been removed from the tanks, the Valpolicella for the Ripasso undergoes a second fermentation on the ‘live” skins of the grapes remaining in the tank for 12 to 13 days with daily pumping over. The wine is then aged for 15 months in Slovenian oak casks of 65 hl and in bottle for 6 months before release. This is a wine with aromas and flavors of cherries, plums and raisins with a touch of spice and black pepper.

Recently a new law was passed that limits the production of Ripasso. For every bottle of Amarone, a producer can only make two bottles of Ripasso. The producers still have the grapes but can no longer make all the Ripasso that they want. They have now come up with a new wine called appassimento, which will be approved later in the year. IMG_5605

Amarone della Valpolicella Ca’ Florian Riserva 2007 made from 75% Corvina, 12% Corvinone and 20% Rondinella.  A single vineyard wine from the hills of San Pietro in Cariano at 250 meters with a southwest exposure. The training system is pergola Veronese and the average age of the vines is 30 years. Harvest is in the beginning October.

Only the best grape bunches are hand picked and placed in plastic boxes of 5/6 kg and naturally dried in the fruttaio. The grapes remain there until January when they are pressed. Alcoholic fermentation and maceration lasts for 30 days in wooden vats, using only natural yeasts. The Riserva must age for 4 years. The first year is in tonneau oak barrels of 500 liters and then 3 years in large Slovenian oak barrels and another year in bottle before release

This is a complex, full bodied and elegant wine with black fruit aromas and flavors, hint of plum, and blackberries with a touch of balsamic and spice. This wine will age.

3 Comments

Filed under Amarone, Tommasi, Valpolicella