Winter Wine Choice 2015

Valpolicella Superiore Ripasso, Torre del Falasco 2012 – DOC

Grapes-growing-in-Valpolicella-regionFollowing an unforgettable period of work experience on the shores of Lake Garda, Italy I became naturally familiar with the local customs, cuisine and wine. Of the latter, I guess the customary choice would be a Bardolino house wine, while a Valpolicella seemed to be a stage higher! The recommended wine belongs to a viticultural zone in the provence of Verona, east of Lake Garda. The hilly agricultural terrain is also home to a famous marble-quarrying industry but is most famous for wine growing. Valpolicella ranks just behind Chianti in total DOC (Demominazione di Origine Controllata) wine production. If I remember correctly, a Ripasso wine was chosen to accompany a rich Pasta dish or sometimes a sweet course and as I taste this wine whilst writing I can see why this choice was made. Quite splendid accompanying my wife Alison’s Genoa Cake!

In the late 20th Century a new style of wine known as Ripasso emerged in this region. It was created by taking the left-over grape skins and seeds from fermented Amarone for the second fermentation. In short, 90% Corvina and 10% Rondinella grapes are harvested from the steeply terraced hillsides and brought to the winery. They are de-stemmed, crushed and fermented in temperature controlled stainless steel tanks where maceration will last for 10 days. A second fermentation takes place on the skins (or “pomace”) of Amarone and the wine will remain in large oak barrels until bottling. What is all this about? The Ripasso process of second fermentation creates a richness that is lifted beyond a traditional Valpolicella Superiore relising a taste of dried cherry and rich plums followed by hints of mocha and dark chocolate. This is a no-nonsense 14% with a full-bodied palate. There is no doubt that the Ripasso method creates an extra raisin and candied peel long finish.

My recommended wine received a Gold Medal from the International Wine Challenge of 2014 (UK)

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