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