Often thought of as a singular, blended wine style, the prodigious vintners and
their vineyards in the Valpolicella DOC actually produce a spectrum of grape
varieties and blending recipes; finished in a range of grades and styles including
Classico, Superiore, Ripasso, Amarone and Recioto. Alternately referred to as
the Pearl of Verona or Verona’s Garden, the two adjacent valleys and plain that
comprise Valpolicella are nestled among the hills of Monti Lessini with the Adige
River acting as a boundary to the south and west. Apart from the storied city’s
anointment as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, its surrounding agricultural zone
is also recognized for the fashioning of youthful wines that unabashedly display a
vibrant and fruity character; intended for early consumption within 3-5 years. In
this week’s DéClassé feature of Storia Antica Ripasso Valpolicella 2013, many
of these attributes shine and are amply demonstrated in the bottle.
The typical vine stock planted here is Corvinone, Rondinella, Molinara and the
region’s signature variety: Corvina Veronese. One of the many local methods of processing wine is called Ripasso (to go over again). This is an ancient vinification
technique that likely was adopted from the Greeks; further developed by Romans
to make sweet Recioto della Valpolicella, then later refined for making the region’s fulsome wine star: Amarone. What all these styles have in common is the grape
drying process called appassimento, whereby optimally ripe grape bunches are
picked long after the main harvest and laid out to dry on Arele (bamboo racks).
Having reaching the desired concentrations of sugar and glycerin content, the
withered grapes are slowly pressed to yield the fermenting nectar that will over
five long years become Amarone; the residual pomace is re-purposed by being
added to a partially aged Valpolicella base wine, prompting a second fermentation
that elevates the alcohol content by 2% while adding tannin, colour and richness.
Add a year spent in barrels – it becomes Ripasso della Valpolicella Superiore.
The style has again become popular with red wine lovers longing for somewhat
bolder versions of the easy drinking, regional blend though still nimbler than the heavyweight and significantly more expensive Amarone version. Given the effort
that’s been invested in this bottling; paying a few extra dollars above the average
price-point for standard Valpolicella is more than justified. It’s ready. Decant.
STORIA ANTICA RIPASSO VALPOLICELLA 2013
VINTAGES – LCBO Product #273672 | 750 mL bottle
Price: $ 15.95
Wine, Red Wine
Sugar Content Descriptor: D
Made in: Veneto, Italy
By: Le Ville Di Antane S.R.L.
Release Date: Sept. 19, 2015
A nicely extracted Ripasso with delicious aromas of blackcurrant, chocolate and
peppery spice. Medium-bodied, dry and flavourful with a pleasing, zippy freshness.
An excellent choice for barbecued beef, mushroom risotto and aged cheeses.