Category Archives: Allegrini

On Amarone, Bardolino, Valpolicella & Colli Euganei

Master Class on the red wines of the Veneto conducted by Kerin O’Keef

Kerin O’Keefe

As with the Master Class on white wines that I wrote about last week,   https://charlesscicolone.wordpress.com/2017/09/21/touring-the-veneto-with-vignaioli-veneti/    Kerin felt that these reds were examples of the diversity of wines made by the member wineries of Vignaioli Veneti and in the Veneto in general. The wines were divided into two flights.

1st Fligh

La Fraghe Bardolino 2016 made from Corvina and Rondinella vinified separately. Maceration lasts for 7 to 8 days and coincides with the fermentation period. The cap is managed daily, with a délestage in the morning and a pump over in the evening. Malolactic fermentation usually occurs in the following month. The wine is aged in stainless steel tanks for 3 months.

Brigaldara Valpolicella Superiore “Case Vecie” 2015 made from 40% Corvina, 40% Corvinone, 20% Rondinella. The must is left in contact with the grapes during the whole fermentation process. Pumping over is carried out twice a day and délestage is carried out half way through the fermentation process. The wine is aged in 25HL Slavonian oak for 1 year.
In response to a question about Rondinella, Kerin said that one of the reasons it is used in the blend is because it is resistant to mold.

La Fontanina Valpolicella Valpantena Ripasso Superiore DOC 2015 made from 60% Corvina and 40% Rondinella. Parts of the grapes harvested are immediately pressed while some are placed in wooden boxes for a light drying period of 15 to 20 days. Key lots of grapes are vinified separately for fermentation: partially in stainless steel tanks while the semi-dried grapes go into wooden barrels. The wine is aged for 10 to 12 months in tank and 5 to 6 months in bottle before release.

Ottella Valpolicella Ripasso “Ripa Della Volta” 2014 made from 70% Corvina, 20% Corvinone, and 10% Oseleta, Spigamonte, Corvina and Turchetta. Fermentation in temperature controlled steel vats and the “wine” is passed over the Amarone marc for about 10 days. The wine is aged in 25 HL Slavonian oak barrels and French barriques for about 2 years. Michele Montresor, President of Vignaioli Veneti, owns this winery. 

Monte del Fra Amarone della Valpolicella Classico DOCG “ Lena di Mezzo” 2013 made from 80% Corvina and 20% Rondinella. The grapes are picked just after they start to dry on the vine. The grapes are then dried for 90 to 120/130 days until the sugar in the grapes reaches at least 28% to 30%. Gentle crushing and destemming of the grapes, depending on the vintage, between the end of January and late February. Fermentation is in small, temperature-controlled truncated cone-shaped stainless steel vats and is started by indigenous yeasts. The fermentation is a slow one, with long maceration on the skins.

Pergola Trentina

Kerin pointed out that most producers kept the old training system, the pergola (pergola Trentina, pergola Veronese and Pergoletta, which protect the grapes from getting too much sun and has a high yield) and for new plantings used the guyot training system. A few producers still use the pergola system for all their vines. Using both systems protect the final product if the weather is too cool or too hot.

2nd Flight
Allegrini Amarone della Valpolicella DOCG 2013 made from 45% Corvina Veronese 45% Corvinone, 5% Riondinella and 5% Oseleta. Grapes are hand harvested in September. The grapes are naturally dried for 3 to 4 months in the drying facility. The grapes lose 40% to 50% of their original weight. Destemming and soft pressing takes place in January and fermentation is in temperature controlled stainless steel tanks at 46 to 72 degrees F. Fermentation lasts for 25 days with periodic pumping over. The wine is aged in oak for 18 months, and then blended together for 7 months.

Nicolis Amarone della Valpolicella DOC Classico 2011 made from 65% Corvina, 20% Rondinella, 5% Molinara and 10% Croatina. The grapes are placed in special dry, well-aired rooms, to dry naturally, then the semi-dried grapes are softly pressed. Due to the low temperature, the fermentation process is long and slow. Maceration takes over a month. The wine is then aged in medium sized Slavonian oak casks, where it continues to ferment and where it remains for about 30 months. At least 8 months in bottle before release. Kerin said that 2011 was a very hot vintage but this wine is very well balanced.

Kerin pointed out that even though Molinara is longer mandatory in the blend it is still used by some producers.

Secondo Marco Amarone della Valpolicella Classico DOCG 2011 made from 45% Corvina, 45% Corvinone and 10% Rondinella. The training method is Pergoletta. There is a long natural drying process for around 120 days and the weight loss is 50%. Prolonged pre-and post-fermentation maceration, indigenous yeast, malolactic fermentation and fining in concrete vats. Then long aging in wood and long maturation in bottle before release.

These last two wines were a pleasant surprise for the journalists and many of them said that they reminded them of old style Bordeaux.

Le Volpe Colli Euganei Rosso 24 Mesi DOC “Le Volpe” 2011 made from 60% Merlot, 30% Cabernet Sauvignon and 10% Cabernet Franc. After traditional fermentation, the wine is aged in French oak barrels and casks.
Vignalta Colli Euganei Rosso DOC “Gemola” 2011 made from 70% Merlot and 30% Cabernet Franc. There is 20 days of fermentation and maceration in stainless steel tanks. Pumping over 4 times a day at a controlled temperature of 27/28 degrees C. The wine is aged in new French oak barrels for at least 12 months.

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Filed under Allegrini, Amarone, Colli Euganei Rosso, Valpolicella, Valpolicella Ripasso, Veneto, Vignaioli Veneti

Amarone: the Gentle Giant Awakens

Last year I wrote about a tasting I attended called “The Amarone Families and the 2001 Vintage.”  The Amarone Families are a group of 12 wineries, all family-owned, that have joined together to promote Amarone in the international market.  For more on the Amarone Families and Amarone, go to:
https://charlesscicolone.files.wordpress.com/2011/10/amarone-2011-006.jpg
The families’ tasting this year was called “Amarone:  the Gentle Giant Awakens.”  The spokesperson was Sandro Boscaini, owner of the Masi Winery, who I know and respect both as a producer and for his knowledge of Amarone.  Sandro made a few opening remarks about the “Families” and Amarone in general and went on to discuss how Amarone is produced.

Amarone Families

He said that the weather during the drying of the grapes (appassimento) is just as important as the weather during the vintage.  The colder the weather, the better it is for drying the grapes. The grapes used for Amarone are thick skinned and can take a long drying period. This longer winter drying makes the resulting wine more concentrated. Only after the drying period takes place do they know if the juice is good enough to be made into Amarone.  Amarone is only made in the best vintages. Most of the producers try to avoid the formation of botrytis on the skins of the grapes. Of the 12 producers, only Sandro said that 2% of his grapes had Botrytis.  He did say however that he felt a touch of Botrytis might be present in the grapes, especially the Corvina, which may not be detected.
This was a very interesting seminar because it covered vintages between 2007 and 1988.

The Wines
Amarone Della Valpolicella Classico “Vignetto Monte Sant’Urbano D.O.C. 1988 Speri made from 65% Corvina Veronese, 25% Rondinella, 5% Corvinone, 5% Molinara and other indigenous varities. The vines are 19 years old and the vineyards are at 280-350 meters. Manual selection of the best bunches the first week of October. The grapes were dried for 120 days on racks in the fruit drying rooms of the Monte Sant’Urbano estate where there are ideal conditions of temperature, humidity and ventilation. The grapes lost 40% of their initial weight and pressing took place at the end of January 1989. Fermentation took place in large oak barrels. There was no signs of Botrytis. The wine was aged in 50hl Slavonia oak barrels for 4 years, 10% new, and refined in the bottle.  Weather conditions were very good and1988 is considered an excellent vintage. It is a full, complex wine that still has aromas of ripe fruit with hints of cherries, dries figs and a touch of hazelnut. The retail price is $300 and there are about 60 bottles left.Amarone Della Valpolicella Classico “Mazzano” D.O.C. 1990 Masi made from 75% Corvina, 20% Rondinella and 5% Molinara.  About 2% of the Corvina was affected by Botrytis. Average age of the vines is 24 years and the vineyards are at 305/415 meters.  In the beginning of October the best clusters from the hillside vineyards are selected and laid in wooden boxes or on bamboo racks in large rooms in an old farmhouse in the hills until the middle of January. There are large openings and windows to allow the free flow of air that is vital to the drying process.  Sandro Boscaini said that the grapes lose 35/40% of their weight and have enhanced flavor as well as a high concentration of sugar. The grapes were affected by botrytis. He said it was an outstanding vintage for Amarone. This is an elegant wine, balanced with dry fruit aromas of prunes and figs and a touch of leather. $300Amarone Della Valpolicella Classico D.O.C. 1995 Allegrini made from 75% Corvina Veronese, 20% Rondinella and 5% Molinara. The vines are 24 years old and at 250 meters. Hand harvested the second week of October. The ground was dry and there was no rain, so there was no risk of mold of any kind. The grapes were dried naturally on bamboo/straw-lined racks in the drying lofts for 3 months losing about 45% of their original weight.  Pressing took place on January 10.  The wine was fermented and aged in Vosges and Cher oak casks of different sizes for 36 months. Aging in the bottle for 18 months followed blending. This is a highly structured complex and well-balanced wine that will last for a number of years. Not for sale by the winery.Amarone Della Valpolicella Classico D.O.C. 1997 Tommasi made from 50% Corvina, 15% Corvinone, 30% Rondinella and 5% Molinara. The vines are 40 years old and are at 220-260 meters. Selection of the grapes to be dried took place on September 18/October 7. After 5 months of drying with total control of the humidity, pressing took place on February 7.  Fermentation was in stainless steel tanks for 30 days.  Aging was in Slavonian oak barrels of 35hl for 36 months.  This is a concentrated wine, elegant and smooth, with long aging potential. $150 if it was available.

Amarone della Valpolicella Classico ‘Capitel Monte OLMI 2003 D.O.C. Tedeschi Made from 30% Corvina, 30% Corvinone 30% Rondinella, 5% Osteleta and 5% other local grapes. The vines are 30 years old and are at 150/200 meters and the harvest was by hand starting on September 3, 2003. Drying takes place in a fruit drying facility where the temperature is controlled (cold temperature process) as well as the ventilation and humidity The grapes are dried for 90 days and lose about 40% of their weight.  This increases the sugar content and changes the extract and flavor. Pressing of the grapes began on December 1, with a roller /crusher.  The grapes were not destemmed. Fermentation in temperature controlled stainless steel with the tanks with periodic pumping over.  Fermentation and maceration lasts for about 45 days. The wine is aged in 25hl four year old Slavonian oak barrels for about two years. The wine was filtered and remained in the bottle for 8 months before release. While 2003 was not expected to be a great vintage Sabrina Tedeschi said that for them it turned out to be an excellent vintage and she expected the wine to have a long life. This is a balanced, complex wine with jammy fruit and hints of chocolate, pepper and a touch of balsamic. The current vintage of this wine is $75

Amarone della Valpolicella Classico Riserva “Sergio Zenato”  Zenato 1998 D.O.C. made from 80% Corvina, 10% Rondinella, 5% Sangivese and 5% Molinara. The age of the vines is 20 years and the vineyards are at 300 meters. The grapes are picked by hand and left to dry in the fruttaio (drying room) for 3 to 4 months in small trays with only one layer of grapes, well spaced to allow for good air circulation. The grapes are pressed in December/January.
Fermentation and skin contact is for 15/20 days and then the wine is aged in big Slavonian oak barrels for 48 months. The wine is aged in bottle for one year before release. The wine has aromas of dried ripe fruit with hints of liquorice and spice. The wine is drinking very well now but could last for a number of years.

One of my favorite wines to pair with the turkey and everything that goes with it is Amarone. The Amarone Families” make Amarone at different price points so you could find one for about $40. A wine not as big but with some of the same tastes as Amarone is the Valpolicella Ripasso which is less expensive and would also go well with the turkey

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MICHELE AND I WILL BE DOING A REGULAR FOOD AND WINE SEGMENT ON WNYC-TV CHANNEL 25 STARTING THIS SATURDAY AT 11:00 PM AND REPEATED ON SUNDAY AT 1:00 PM FOR i.ITALY| NY.  THE SHOW DEALS WITH EVERYTHING ITALIAN IN THE NYC AREA

 

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Filed under Allegrini, Amarone, Italian Red Wine, Italian Wine, Masi, Speri, Tedeschi, Tommasi, Zenato