Friday, 18 November 2011

Wine of the Week - Valpolicella Ripasso (Red/Italy)

Hi all,

I was held back in the great city of Zurich for the 58th VinoExpo until late yesterday so a late post this week. Good news: I tried some great Swiss, French and Italian whites and reds and will be hunting them down in the UK. Watch this space!

In the meantime, I am really getting into Italian wines and have found this good red wine for a warming weekend's tipple!
What it is
A red wine from the region of Valpolicella in the province of Verona in the North of Italy.It is made from Corvina, Rondinella and Molinara grapes. It is a Ripasso, which means the wine has been in contact with the unpressed skins of the dried grapes used for Amarone (see Did you know for more).

What to expect
Medium ruby colour with some purple tones.
A relatively subtle nose with aromas of dark cherries, plums and little bit of chocolate.
The palate is smooth and elegantly building in complexity: from a light, fresh and fruity (raspberries) wine to a rounder and darker fruits (dark cherries, plums) and a slight bitter-sweet finish (coffee-toffee). The tannins are relatively low and dry.
Score: 7/10 (wine shown)
Have it with
If it’s your first drink of the night, have it with some Prosciutto or salami. The meatier, the better.
I would recommend a beef stew or a Funghi Porcini risotto.
Where to find it
1) Waitrose - £10.99. A tad over the £10 mark which it should stay at or under.
2) Tesco
- £6.99
3) Majestic - £14.99

Did you know
> Valpolicella is derived from Latin and Greek and can be translated as ‘the valley of many cellars’.
> As for most Italian wines, the term ‘Classico’ only means that the wine was made in the historical region, the heart of the wine region.
> There are 4 types of Valpolicella:
1) The Classic Valpolicella – A light, fresh and fruity wine with flavours of sour cherries. Although often suffering from bad publicity, it can be velvety and gorgeous (try the Allegrini Valpolicella from your local wine shop for £10).

2) The Valpolicella Ripasso – Same grapes but different vinification: the wine if fermented/macerated with the unpressed skins of the dried grapes used for Amarone. The result is a wine with more alcohol, flavours and body. On many aspect, an ‘in-between the Classic and the Amarone.

The dried grapes that are then used for the Amarone
and, which skins can be use for the Ripasso.

3) The Amarone della Valpolicella – Same grapes but different process again. The grapes are manually selected and air-dried for up to 4 months and then only pressed into wine. With the drying, the grapes concentrate the sugar, colour and flavours, which then results in a wine with a very dark colour, high alcohol and very strong flavours of dark cherries, plums and coffee.

4) The Recioto della Valpolicella – Sweet red wine from the area.

Feedback, complaints, questions all very welcome!
Happy Italian tipple!

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