Category Archives: Amarone

Roberto Di Filippo: Horses, Geese and Organic Wine

A few months ago, the Wine Media Guild did a tasting of wines made from native Italian grapes that are not very well known. Some of the wines were real gems, but one produced by Roberto Di Filippo that was made from the Trebbiano Spoletino grape really stood out.

Elisa Bosco of PR Vino, who organized the wines for the tasting, later asked me if I wanted to attend a tasting featuring more of the wines of Roberto Di Filippo. She said that Roberto would present the wines.

Roberto Di Filippo

Roberto is a very engaging and informative speaker and you can hear the passion when he speaks about his wines.

The Di Filippo winery is 30-hectares and overlooks Assisi on the hills between Torgiano and Montefalco in the heart of Umbria. Roberto and his sister Emma own it.

It is situated in Cannara and nearby is Pian d’Arca, where St. Francis spoke to the birds.

Plani Arche is 6-hectares of vineyards owned by Roberto Di Filippo and his wife Elena. Roberto said that they have a tradition of cultivation which respects nature, as they strongly believe in the need to find a constant balance between man, soil, flora and fauna. He has introduced a number of different ecologically friendly systems.

Agroforestry is a land use system of land management involving simultaneous cultivation of farm crops, trees and shrubs. It combines shrubs and trees in agriculture and forestry technologies to create more diverse, productive, profitable, healthy, ecologically sound and sustainable land use systems. As part of this they use workhorses in the vineyard to do the cultivation and to solve the problem of soil compression. Roberto said they raise geese within the Plani Arche vineyard. He said a number of times he is first of all a farmer and that everything depends on what happens in the vineyards.

Since 1994 the wines have been cultivated organically, and biodynamic cultivation was introduced some years ago. They are certified organic according to E. U. regulations for the Plani Arche vineyard.

It can be a little confusing as Roberto makes the same wines under both the Di Filippo and Plani Arche label.

The difference for me between them is that the Di Filippo wines were bigger and more intense, while the Plani Arche wines were more elegant.

The wines

Trebbiano Spoletino “Farandola” (Umbria) 2016 IGT Di Filippo made from 100% Trebbiano Spoletino

The soil is clayey-calcareous and the vineyards are on hillsides. Training method is guyot and there are 4,600 vines per hectare. Fermentation takes place off the skins at 18 degrees C and the wines remain in stainless steel until bottled. This is a fruity wine, rich in flavor with hints of citrus. It has good acidity and minerality. It is one of the best examples of Trebbiano I have ever tasted. Roberto said the Trebbiano Spoletino is native to Umbria and is different from other Trebbiano grapes.

Trebbiano Spoletino IGT 2016 Plani Arche made from 100% Trebbiano Spoletino. There are 4,400 plants per hectare. Fermentation is off the skins at a low temperature. The wine remains on the lees in stainless steel casks for 4 months. This is a fresh and complex wine with citrus flavors and aromas and buttery notes.

Grechetto Colli Martani DOC 2016 Plani Arche 100% made from Grechetto. The vines are spur cordon/guyot trained; and there are 4,000/5,000 plants per hectare temperature. The wine is aged in steel casks on the less and then in bottle before release. This is a fruity wine with a hint of spice and a touch of almond in the aftertaste.

Grechetto IGT Bianco dell’Umbria IGT 2016 Plani Arche made from 100% Grechetto from hillside vineyards. This wine is produced without the addition of sulfites.

The soil is clayey-calcareous and the training system is guyot. There are 5,000 plants per hectare.

Montefalco Rosso DOC Plani Arche made from 60% Sangiovese, 25% Barbera and 15% Sagrantino. The soil is clayey-calcareous, the training system is guyot and cordone and there are 5,000 plants per hectare. Fermentation takes place for 10 days. The wine is aged in large casks for 12 months. This is a wine that is ready to drink now. It has hints of ripe red fruit, a touch of cherry, pomegranate and a long finish and very pleasing after taste. I took the half empty bottle home with me to have with dinner.

Sagrantino is a grape that is very dark in color and has a lot of tannin. Roberto has managed to tame the grape and produce a wine that is food friendly.

Montefalco Sagrantino DOCG “Brown Label” 2013 Plani Arche100% Sagrantino. There are 5,000 plants per hectare. The grapes are hand-picked to ripen well and are left to macerate for a few days. This is an intense wine with a persistent fruity taste and hints of pomegranate and spice.

Montefalco Sagrantino DOCG 2013 Di Filippo made from 100% Sagrantino. The soil is clayey-calcareous, there are 5,000 vines per hectare. Vinification is the same as the wine belo wine below. This is a full-bodied wine, tannic with hints of red fruit and a touch of flint.

Montefalco Sagrantino DOCG “Black Label” 2009 Plani Arche made from 100% Sagrantino. There is a prolonged traditional maceration and the wine is aged in barriques and tonneaux for 18/24 months.

This is a full-bodied wine with intense red berry aromas and flavors and a hint of flint and spice. This wine will age.

Montefalco Sagrantino Passito Plani Archi made from 100% Sagrantino. The drying period (appassimento) lasts for 2 months and a subsequent maceration in the winter period. Aging takes place in stainless steel and barriques. This is an intense fruity wine with hints of black and red fruit, especially blackberries with a long finish and pleasing after taste. I liked this wine so much I took the open 375 bottle home with me.

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Filed under Amarone, Di Filippo, Montefalco, Passito, Plani Arche

PIeropan: Soave and one Amarone.

Seven years ago in a ceremony at Castello Scaligero in Soave, Italy, I was inducted into the Imperial Castellania Di Suavia, a world wide women’s organization that praises “Il Vino Bianco Soave.” The members are people that love food and wine. I was inducted as “Capitano Spadarino,” protector of the Women of the Castle and for my contributions to Italian food and wine and Soave in particular. They presented me with a spadarino, a short sword on an embroidered sash. Soave has been one of my favorite white wines for many years. It was a great honor.

A Woman of the Castle  and Capitano Spadarino

Last month Vignaioli Veneti invited me on press trip to the Veneto. We would stay on Lake Garda and visit 11 of the top producers. One of the producers I was looking forward to visiting was Pieropan. I have been enjoying their Soave for a very long time.

The Soave production zone lies in the eastern part of the Province of Verona in the region of the Veneto. The production zone is of volcanic origin and the hills where the vineyards are planted have rocky strata that are a result of lava flows that turned into sediment over time. The soil is dark, stony and rich in minerals. There is a difference between the soil of the hills and the soil of the flat lands. The soil does make a difference. Soave is one of Italy’s great terroir- based wines.

Andrea Pieropan speaking about the wines

The Pieropan winery is located in the center of the medieval town of Soave.

Andera Pieropan welcomed us at the winery. Andra said Pieropan is a family winery and he works with his father Leonildo, his brother Dario, and mother Teresita. Andera said  he and his brother are the fourth generation. Andera led us through a tasting of the wines.

THE WINES

Soave Classico 2016 is made from 85% Garganega and 15% Trebbiano di Soave. Grapes are from hillside vineyards in the classical zone. The soil is volcanic and the vineyard is situated at 100/300 meters and is facing west. Training system is guyot with 5,200 plants per hectare and 3,000 vines per hectare with the pergola Veronese system.

The grapes are hand picked in mid September for the Trebbiano di Soave and in October for the Garganega. The grapes are de-stemmed and crushed with the free run juice fermented separately in glass lined cement tanks. The wine remains here on the lees for a period of time according to the vintage. In the spring following the harvest the wine is bottled and released after one month. Dario said this is the freshest and youngest of their wines.  

I have been fortunate enough to taste and drink many older vintages of Soave going back almost 30 years. We tasted the 1995 Pieropan Soave Classico. The wine was showing almost no signs of age and I wished I could of had it with dinner that night!

Soave Classico DOC “Calvarino” 2015 made from 70% Garganega and 30% Trebbiano di Soave from hillside vineyards in the Soave Classico zone.

Andrea said the name Calvarino comes from “Little Calvary” reflecting how difficult the soil is to work and the tortuous path, which winds from top to bottom.

The soil

The soil is rich in clay and tufaceous basalt. Dario said it gives the wine an attractive mineral quality. The vineyard is situated at 200 to 300 meters facing northwest. Traditional pergola Veronese trained, 3,000 vines per hectare. The vines are 30 to 60 years, hand harvested, often in two harvests to select the ripest grapes. Trebbiano di Soave is picked in mid September and the Garganega in October. The grapes are de-stemmed and crushed with the free run juice fermented separately in glass-lined cement tanks. The wine remains in glass-lined cement tanks on the fine lees for one year. It is aged in the bottle for a few months before release. This is an elegant well-balanced wine with a fresh aroma and hints of flowers, lemon and cherry.

We also tasted the 1992 Calvarino which was showing very well and again proves the point  that not only can Soave age but improves with age.


Soave Classico ‘La Rocca’ 2015 DOC Pieropan 100% Garganega. Dario said the La Rocca vineyard is on the Monte Rocchetta hill just below the Scaligeri castle in Soave.

The soil

Single vineyard with chalky, clay soil situated at 200 to 300 meters, facing southwest. Spur pruned cordon trained with 5,000 vines per hectare. The age of the vines is 10 to 50 years. Grapes are handpicked at the end of October, often in two harvests to select the ripest grapes. The grapes are de-stemmed and crushed followed by a short maceration with skin contact in 2,500 liter barrels. After fermentation the wine is racked into 200 to 500 liter barrels and ages for over 12 months on the fine lees and remains in bottle for a time before release.

This is an elegant wine with hints of exotic fruit, nuts and a touch of spice.  It was interesting to taste the La Rocca and the Calvarino wines together.  Both were excellent but the La Rocca is a bigger wine and  will need more time to develop. 

Amarone della Valpolicella 2013 DOCG  In 1999 the Pieropan family purchased property in the Cellore d’Illasi zone in the Valpolicella and Amarone production zones. The wine is made from 60% Corvina, 30% Corvinone, Rondinella and Croatina, and 10% of old traditional Valpolicella varieties. The vineyard is 14 years old and is south facing at an altitude of 500 meters. There are 5,800 vines per hectare; the training system is guyot, pruned to 8 buds per vine. The grapes are hand picked in September and naturally dried. They are pressed and destemmed and the must is fermented for about 30 days during which time pumping over and punching down the cap takes place every day. Aging is in 500 liter barrels for 24/30 months and one year in bottle before release. This is an Amarone to drink with food. It has hints of blackberries, black cherries and plums.

On Lake Garda a few years ago I saw the Pieropan Amarone 2006 in a restaurant. I did not know they made an Amarone so I ordered it. I was very impressed with the wine!  Andrea  said 2006 was the first vintage.

Recioto Soave Classico 2012 “Le Colombare” 100% Garganega (Veneto) Pieropan

Certified Organic. Volcanic soil, rich in basalt and tuffo eocene. The vineyards are at 300m and the exposure is west. The training system is Pergola Veronese and there are 4,000 vines per hectare. There is a manual harvest with careful selection of ripe grapes. All the grapes are collected in small boxes and brought to the winery for the drying process. The grapes are manually placed in a loft on mats made of bamboo reeds. The drying is natural and the grapes remain until they wither which is around the end of February. The natural climate conditions allow for berry dehydration, loss of water and the development of noble rot (Botrytis). The yield of juice is very low and the grapes lose 1/4 of their original weight. The wine is only produced in good vintages. Destemming and pressing of the grapes takes place. There is a selection of the must and fermentation at a controlled temperature 14 to 16 degrees C in barrels of 2,500 liters. The residual sugar is 110 to 120 g/L. The wine is aged in oak barrels of 200 liters for about two years and in glass for 6 months before release. This is a dessert wine with ripe fruit, hints of apricot and quince with a very long finish taste and nice aftertaste.

I did not taste this wine at the winery but at a dinner that night. I have always liked their Recioto, which is one of the best  dessert wines produced, so I had to include it.

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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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Three Pre- Birthday Celebrations with Wine and Food

The first celebration took place at the Oriental Gardens restaurant in New York Cities China Town

Soft Shell Crabs and they were fantastic!

We started with the Champagne Krug 1990  from the Krug Collection.

Then a fried sole with scallions.

Chablis Grand Cru just great

Puligny- Montrachet needs more time

1979 Chinon excellent

There was more food and wine but I got caught up in the eating and drinking.

 

Next on to La Pizza Fresca

We started with Krug NV

Then Chianti Classico 1971 Riserva Ducale from Ruffino

Pizza Margarita

Chateaueuf-du-Papes 1990 right on the money

Amarone 1967 Bertani

Pizza with Prosciutto

A young man waiting for his pizza

 

Next was Gastronomia Siciliana Norma

Buratta with arugula

Spaghetti with sea urchin (ricci di Mare) was fantastic

Chianti Classico 1996

Pizza with porchetta

Barolo 1989 – barolo at its best 1989 was a great vintage!

 

 

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Filed under Amarone, Barolo, Benanti, Chablis, Champagne, Chateaneuf du Pape, Chianti Classico, Krug, Krug Champagne, La Pizza Fresca, Olga Chinon, Pizza, Pizza and Wine, Principe Corsini, Uncategorized

Amarone Masterclass Hosted by Pierangelo Tommasi

I met Pierangelo Tommasi a few years ago and he told me about how his family’s winery, the Tommasi Family Estates, is a true family affair. They have wineries in several regions of Italy, as well as in other countries. I wrote about our meeting previously: https://charlesscicolone.wordpress.com/2015/04/16/tommasi-la-forza-della-famigila/

Recently, I met Pierangelo again. The occasion was a Master Class on his family’s Amarone.

Pierangelo

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

I have always enjoyed the Tommasi wines and was looking forward to the tasting.

We tasted the Amarone della Valpolicella Classico DOCG 2012, 2009, 2008, 2007, 2000 and 1995.

All of the grapes for these wines come from the La Groletta and Conca d’Oro Vineyards made from 50% Corvina, 15% Corvinone, 13% Rondinella and 3% Oseleta.

Pierangelo discussed each of the vintages. The harvest for the 2012 began on September 10. The residual sugar is 4.87g/l and the alcohol is 15.48.

He said that this will become a great wine with aging potential and will become more powerful over time.

Molinara is no longer mandated for Amarone but it can be used in the blend if the producer chooses to do so. Tommasi now uses Oseleta (it has intense fruit and spice aromas with good structure) instead of Molinara

2009 Made from 50% Corvina, 20% Corvinone, 25% Rondinella and 5% Molinara. The wine is aged for 3 years in large Slavonian oak barrels. Residual sugar is 8g/l and the alcohol is 15.50

Pierangelo said he liked the 2009 better than the 2008. He feels the 2009 is more complex and more approachable.

2008 made from 50% Corvina, 15% Corvinone, 30% Rondinella and 5% Molinara. The wine is aged for 3 years in large Slavonian oak barrels. Residual sugar 7g/l and alcohol 15.5%. Pierangelo has tasted this wine over the years and said it is a very consistent wine but at this point he is not sure that it will get better with age. He said the in some ways 2008 and 2009 were similar vintages but 2008 had a shorter summer in terms of sunlight not temperature.

2007 made from 50% Corvina 10% Corivnone 30% Rondinella and 10% Molinara. Harvest began on September 10. Residual sugar 7.2g/l and alcohol is 15.5

The wine was aged in large Slavonian oak barrels for 4 years. Pierangelo said that 2007 has not peaked yet and will get better with age.

His suggestion was to buy the 2009 to drink now and also to hold because it will age.

2000 made from 50% Corvina, 15% Corvinone, 30% Rondinella and 5%Molinara. Harvest begins on September 10th. The wine is aged in large Slavonian oak barrels for 3 years. Residual Sugar 7g/l, alcohol 15%

For me this is the wine to buy because it is drinking now but will last for a number of years.

1995 made from 50% Corvina 10% Corvinone 10%, Rondinella 30% and Molinara 10% Harvest began on the 18th of September. The wine was aged is large Slavonian oak barrels for 4 years. Pierangelo said this was a great vintage and the harvest took place under perfect conditions. For me this wine was at it peak but will last for a few more years. I drank it all.

Then we tasted the Amarone della Valpolicella Classico Riserva “Ca’ Florian” Riserva DOCG 2009, 2008, 2007and 2003.

All of the grapes come from the Ca’ Florian vineyard and are all aged for one year in used tonneau (500 liters), 3 years in large Slavonian oak casks and one year in bottle before release.

All of the grapes for the Amarone dry for over 100 days from the harvest. Because the grapes have very thick skins, especially the Corvina, Corvinone and Rondinella, they can undergo the long drying process (appassimento).

The Ca’Florian vineyard has always been owned by the Tommasi family and is one of the most historic vineyards. The training system here is the traditional Pergola Veronese.

Pierangelo said that Tommasi makes classic, traditional Amarone. The wines are distinguished by the flavor of cherries. They use traditional large Slavonian oak because they do not release any “flavors” into the wine. Amarone does not need aggressive oak from barriques.

The grapes are picked when they are ripe. He said they do not want late harvest grapes or noble rot and are trying to keep the alcohol under 16%.

There is a larger percentage of Corvina 75% in the Ca’Florin and the Corvinone and Rondinella vary depending on the vintage. All have residual sugar of 4g/l and alcohol of 15.5 for the first 3 wines.

2009 The harvest began on September 12th. Residual sugar 4g/l and alcohol 12.50%.

2008  Harvest began on September 25.

2007 harvest began on September 10.

2003 had 70% Corvina, 25% Rondinella and 5% Molinara The wine is aged in Slavonian oak barrels 35 HL for 30 months and in 6 months on used tonneau

These were more structured wines than the regular Amarone and will need more time. My favorite was the 2007.

Pierangelo pointed out that 2003 was not a good vintage, it was cold with a lot of rain. It will not last much longer but I found it was drinking very nicely now.

For more detailed information on Tommasi Amarone, please go to https://charlesscicolone.wordpress.com/2014/06/03/visiting-the-tommasi-winery/

 

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Anteprima Amarone Tour: Visiting Villa Crine

Another stop on the Anteprima Amarone tour was the Crine winery, which is located in Pedemonte di San Pietro in Cariano, Verona.img_2415

Villa Crine is an entirely family run winery and visiting the winery is like visiting their home. Giovanni Battista Venturini the owner/wine maker, his wife Maria, their children Giuseppe, who recently graduated with a degree in enology and Diletta, a university student, all take part in the running of the winery.

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Giuseppe

Giuseppe, a very personable young man, speaks English well and gave a tour of the winery. He said that he is the fifth generation and they want to preserve the values and techniques from the past but also keep up with any new innovations that would improve the quality of their wines.

He said that all their vineyards were in the Classico zone and showed us the grapes drying on wood mats in a barn that was open on both sides.

Giuseppe then took us through a tasting of the wines.img_2416

Valpolicella Classico “Il Pigaro” made from 60% Corvina Veronese, 30% Rondinella and 10% Molinara. The Pigaro vineyard has alluvial gravel soil. There is a hand selection of grapes at the end of September/beginning of October. The wine is aged for one year in very old barriques and in bottle before release. This is an intense wine with red fruit aromas and flavors and a hint of black cherries.img_2417

Valpolicella Ripasso Classico Superiore grapes same as above. The grapes are picked at the best stage of ripeness and then they are left to dry for 20 to 30 days in late September and October. Destemming and soft pressing in stainless steel tanks occurs during November. In February re-fermentation occurs on the Amarone pomace and the wine gains fragrances and intensity. The wine is aged in oak barrels for two years. Their wine is bottled and remains in the cellars for one year until release. The wine has hints of cherry, spice with a touch of hazelnuts and cacao.img_2413

Giuseppe said even though the Molinara grape does not have to be included in Amarone any more they use it because it adds acidity to the wine. He said they always used this grape, and as the 5th generation involved in the winery he will keep the traditions.

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Drying the grapes

Amarone della Valpolicella Classico 2011 Made from 60% Corvina, 15% Corvinone, 20% Rondinella and 5% Molinara. Giuseppe said his grandparents and great-grand parents use to place the grapes for drying in the barns at Villa Crine using the “large table mats” which were traditionally used for the cultivation of silk worms. Today the grapes are placed on the mats or in wooden cases in the special drying room, which is controlled on a daily basis in order to check the temperature, humidity and the well being of the grapes.

Destemming and soft pressing takes place during the months of January and February, depending on the vintage, using rubber rollers. Traditional fermentation takes place in stainless steel tanks using techniques which go back to 1893.

The wine is aged in large oak barrels of 10 to 30 HL depending upon the vintage for about one year. It then is bottled and remains in the ancient tuffa cellars, which were excavated at the foot of the mountain, until it is released.

Giuseppe said Amarone can be sold 3 years after the harvest.img_2419

Recioto della Valpolicella same as above for grapes. Giuseppe said the grapes used for Recioto are dried longer because they want sweeter grapes. They press the grapes in February when the sugar lever is high. The juice is removed and the fermentation is controlled by keeping a cold temperature. They need a cold temperature so the yeast remains dormant. The wine remains in stainless steel tanks for one year and 6 months in bottle before release.

This is a one of the best examples of Recioto I have ever tasted. It is very intense and complex with hints of violets, prunes, figs, black cherries and notes of hazelnut. The finish goes on and on and the aftertaste is fantastic.img_2418

They also make a wine from 100% Molinara called “Il Pellerossa.” It looks like a rose wine because the grape has low color extracts. It is produced in a very limited quanity.

In the past there were horses on the property.

We also tasted their olive oil which was very good

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Filed under Amarone, Anteprima Amarone, Recioto, Ripasso, Uncategorized, Villa Crine

Dinner with Andrea Sartori in Verona

One night, Tom Maresca, who was on the Anteprima Amarone tour in Verona with me, arranged for us to have dinner with Andrea Sartori, President of Sartori di Verona. We met Andrea on the way to Trattoria I Masenini, a restaurant I have never been to before. There were a number of other producers in the restaurant and I believe it is one of the city’s best. Tom and I know Andrea for a long time and I enjoyed our dinner conversation. We spoke about wine, people that we knew in the wine business, and had a very nice time.

A

Andrea Sartori

Here is some background on the Sartori di Verona winery

The history of Andrea’s family’s involvement in wine goes back to 1898. As recently as 2002, they owned only 37 acres of vineyards and they purchased additional grapes from individual growers with long-term contracts.  This was not enough, however, since the average vineyard property in the Veneto is just 4.2 acres. Andrea was able to solve this problem by establishing a joint venture with the 800 member Cantina Colognola di Colli.  The Cantina received a small percentage of shares in Sartori, and in exchange Sartori acquired exclusive access to 5,681 acres of vineyards in the Soave and Valpolicella zone. With more mergers and acquisitions, the newly named Collis Veneto Wine Group now has over 3,000 members making it the third largest in Italy.

Andrea brought two wines to have with dinner.img_2517

I Saltari Valpolicella Superiore DOC 2011 made from 60% Corvina, 10% Rondinella 10% Croatina and 10% Corvinone. The vineyards are in the Mezzane Valley on terraces and it is calcareous alkaline soil. Vinification is in temperature controlled stainless steel tanks. After racking the wine is transferred to various size barrels for malolactic fermentation. For 12 to 14 months, the wine goes through regular racking and topping up of the barrels until blending. The wine has hints of violets and blackberries with a touch of cherry and leather. Both Andrea and I had the img_2519Faraona alla Mantovana, tortellini filled with guinea fowl, pine nuts and raisins. The wine matched it perfectly.img_2523

Amarone Della Valpoicella Classico “Corte Brà” 2006 DOC. 50% Corvina Veronese, 30% Corvinone, 15% Rondinella and 5% Oselta. The grapes come from the Corte Brà vineyard in the hills north of Verona. The grapes for this wine are carefully selected, placed in small crates and dried in well-ventilated rooms with fans for 3 to 4 months. When optimal dryness is reached, a hand selection of the best grapes takes place and the grapes are fermented in temperature controlled stainless steel tanks for about 30 days. The wine is transferred to traditional tanks for malolactic fermentation. It is then aged in Slavonian oak casks and French tonneaux for about 4 years. It remains in the bottle for another 2 years before release. Franco wants to release the wine when he feels it is ready. This is a classic Amarone that will age.img_2521

Roast pork cook with crisp skin around every slice was a great complement to the wine.

Andrea said that he did not want to make jammy Amarone that tasted like dessert wine and did not go with food. Both of the wines we tasted had a good balance between fruit and acidity. He feels that all of his wines are food wines.

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Filed under Amarone, Sartori di Verona, Uncategorized, Valpolicella