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The Valpolicellas of Veneto

by Jenise » Mon Oct 23, 2006 6:10 pm

I'm a real novice when it comes to Valpolicellas, having experienced a mere handful of amarones, Zenato Ripassos and the vapid jug Valpolicellas we bought in England when I lived there in the 80's, pre personal wine epiphany. I have no experience with the good Valpolicellas of the classico and classico superior levels. I'm looking to correct that and add a few amarones to my cellar at the same time.

Searching around the internet, here are a few of the wines currently available. I've ignored any listings for wines younger than 2001. Does anyone have any recommendations?

01 Bussolo Val CS $37
00 Zardini Amarone $49
99 Masi Vaio Amarone $75
97 Quintarelli Val CS $65
95 Quintarelli Val CS $80
97 Sartori Corte Bra Amarone $50
95 Giacomo Montressor Val CS $45

Also, any reccos on Gini Soave or Botter PG? When I saw the name "Botter", a light bulb went on. I could swear I remember someone moaning aloud over a Botter wine, and I'm especially inclined to think it was Hoke. Gini I'm unfamiliar with, but I adore the Pieropan style (vs. Inama, say) and would love to try some others that are similar.
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Re: The Valpolicellas of Veneto

by Mark Lipton » Mon Oct 23, 2006 6:27 pm

Jenise wrote:01 Bussolo Val CS $37
00 Zardini Amarone $49
99 Masi Vaio Amarone $75
97 Quintarelli Val CS $65
95 Quintarelli Val CS $80
97 Sartori Corte Bra Amarone $50
95 Giacomo Montressor Val CS $45


Masi and Quintarelli are both top quality producers, but the prices asked for the Quintarelli CSs would give me pause (are they Recioto perhaps?). The Masi Amarone ought to be great (I've had their '99 Val CS and it was lovely).

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Re: The Valpolicellas of Veneto

by Hoke » Mon Oct 23, 2006 6:40 pm

Jenise:

I don't doubt that I was moaning over something ( I'm prone to do that), but it wasn't over the Botter. I don't know from Botter.

You already got some good advice from Mark, so all I have to add is

...Quintarelli is good, yes, but be aware that it can lean over towards the opulent, extravagant style sometimes (i.e., more globalized than traditional).

...to get a spectrum analysis, you should probably pick up some Tomassi and some Bertani versions of Amarone. Especially the Bertani, because it is sourced from a different valley than most other top-end Amarones. Both Tomassi and Bertani have distinctive styles.

... I adore Gini Soave. I let it out of the bottle as often as I can. :) You might also try the Soaves from Pra; harder to find, but they are out there, and lately they've been in a very crisp and lively style that I like.

With Gini, the only thing that bothers me is a distressing variability. I've had some cork taint, along with some really funky bottles, with lots of biological stuff going on. Sorta like Coturri, if you know what I mean: could be wonderful, could be dreck; you just never know what you're going to get.
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Re: The Valpolicellas of Veneto

by Jenise » Mon Oct 23, 2006 7:01 pm

Mark, no those aren't reciotos. The reciotos are twice that--for 375's. The regular CSs seemed to have been high 40's on release, but since these are past vintages the prices are higher.

Hoke, I don't expect the Quinarelli to be my style of wine as an acquaintance who has a nearly 4000 bottle collection of primarily cult Cal cabs also collects Quintarellis. They would seem to be of a type. I still would like to try one, though, just to know.

Re the Botter, just to set the record straight I just checked the old data base and found only one TN, and it was neither yours nor glowing. Not sure what I got into my head there.

Thanks to you and Mark for your comments on the other wines. You've scared me right off the Ginis, I'm not very tolerant of that kind of variation.
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Re: The Valpolicellas of Veneto

by Hoke » Mon Oct 23, 2006 7:04 pm

Thanks to you and Mark for your comments on the other wines. You've scared me right off the Ginis, I'm not very tolerant of that kind of variation.


It was mentioning Coturri that did it, wasn't it? :wink:

Despite your misgivings now, I'd encourage you to try Gini. It really can be good, and worthwhile if you get a good bottle. And if not, hey, that's the romance of wine, right?
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Re: The Valpolicellas of Veneto

by Oliver McCrum » Mon Oct 23, 2006 7:41 pm

Jenise,

There is a difference between normal Valpolicella and those made by ripasso, which are often labelled V. Classico Superiore. These latter are different in conception, closer to Amarone, and more expensive, and it's unfortunate that there's no obvious way of telling the difference.

If you want to try straight V. I wouldn't omit younger wines, as the forward fruit of that wine is best drunk younger.
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Re: The Valpolicellas of Veneto

by Hoke » Mon Oct 23, 2006 7:45 pm

But, Oliver, isn't it true that the "Superiore" designation CAN mean only that the wine is a degree higher in alcohol (and not necessarily that the wine is 'superior' in any other way)?

I may be wrong, but that's what the Superiore designation always meant to me...of course, in Italy, the rules are always changing. When they even bother to follow the rules, that is. :wink:
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Re: The Valpolicellas of Veneto

by Bill Buitenhuys » Mon Oct 23, 2006 8:26 pm

Ditto what Hoke said on Bertani and Tomassi for amarone. Those two are my faves for sure.
I've enjoyed the Bussola TB val cs too although it was decidedly more concentrated and fairly sweet.
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Re: The Valpolicellas of Veneto

by Bob Parsons Alberta » Tue Oct 24, 2006 12:40 am

Looks like an Open Mike on these wines might be a good idea or even Wine Focus. I wonder what Robin has planned for November? When is he back from his trip?
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Re: The Valpolicellas of Veneto

by Arnt Egil Nordlien » Tue Oct 24, 2006 6:00 am

Jenise wrote:
01 Bussolo Val CS $37
00 Zardini Amarone $49
99 Masi Vaio Amarone $75
97 Quintarelli Val CS $65
95 Quintarelli Val CS $80
97 Sartori Corte Bra Amarone $50
95 Giacomo Montressor Val CS $45



The Bussola is a ripasso, very nice and often a little sweetness. It is a good wine to understand the ripasso-style.

The Masi is probably the Vaio Armaron amarone from Alighieri (owned by Masi). It is a nice amarone, fairly traditional in style, but not as good as Masis two top amarones; Campolongo di Torbe and Mazzano.

Quintarelli is a highly traditional Valpolicella-producer. His Valpo superiore is a ripasso. I love his wines, but they are pricey. It is a very different style from Bussola, so could be worth comparing.

Sartori is a large producer. Mostly middle-of-the-road stuff. The Montressor also, although I have only tasted very few and long time ago. Zardini is unknown to me.

For the cellar I would pick up some Quintarelli. I have had the '90 within the last year. It lasts well. The Bussola I would drink sooner. For Masi; Ask if they have the two amarones I mentioned. They age for a long time.
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Re: The Valpolicellas of Veneto

by Jenise » Tue Oct 24, 2006 11:22 am

Bob Parsons Alberta. wrote:Looks like an Open Mike on these wines might be a good idea or even Wine Focus. I wonder what Robin has planned for November? When is he back from his trip?


November's Focus is port, Bob. You don't want to give that up, do you? :)
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Re: The Valpolicellas of Veneto

by Oliver McCrum » Tue Oct 24, 2006 2:22 pm

Hoke wrote:But, Oliver, isn't it true that the "Superiore" designation CAN mean only that the wine is a degree higher in alcohol (and not necessarily that the wine is 'superior' in any other way)?

I may be wrong, but that's what the Superiore designation always meant to me...of course, in Italy, the rules are always changing. When they even bother to follow the rules, that is. :wink:


Hoke,

My understanding is that VCS has come to imply wines made using ripasso, and all the VCS that I've tasted have been ripasso, but I don't think it's written into the DOC. On the other hand, maybe non-ripasso V. doesn't usually reach the alchohol level of VCS...

Straight Valpo of quality can be truly the Beaujolais of Italy, completely vinous and drinkable, delicious. I don't know how many good examples are imported, though. I haven't had Allegrini's lately, might be good.
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Re: The Valpolicellas of Veneto

by Bob Parsons Alberta » Tue Oct 24, 2006 3:09 pm

Port sounds like a very good focus for next month. I am usually up for that one eh, especially as I have about 10 LBV`s ready to go!! I am planning to do an Open Mike on Valpollicella, who`s game for that?!!
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Re: The Valpolicellas of Veneto

by Otto » Tue Oct 24, 2006 3:15 pm

Bob Parsons Alberta. wrote:Port sounds like a very good focus for next month. I am usually up for that one eh, especially as I have about 10 LBV`s ready to go!! I am planning to do an Open Mike on Valpollicella, who`s game for that?!!


I'd like to drink some port, and this would give me a great excuse! ;) Not that a person of such weak willpower as I would need an excuse... :roll: I might join a Valp OM, but not too sure as I don't really seem to like them. Depends if I have an appropriate social occasion to open one.
I don't drink wine because of religious reasons ... only for other reasons.
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Re: The Valpolicellas of Veneto

by Bob Parsons Alberta » Tue Oct 24, 2006 3:34 pm

Otto, I think that the idea of Port for November should be toasted with a glass of Valpoll !! That`s social.
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Re: The Valpolicellas of Veneto

by Bob Parsons Alberta » Tue Oct 24, 2006 7:58 pm

Ok, had some ideas flashed via PM`s so goona go with it this weekend!!
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Re: The Valpolicellas of Veneto

by James Roscoe » Tue Oct 24, 2006 8:31 pm

I'm in!
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Re: The Valpolicellas of Veneto

by Bob Parsons Alberta » Wed Oct 25, 2006 7:01 am

OK James, will post Thursday evening. Have a terrific "La Casetta di Ettori Righetti" ready to go, the `02 Ripasso. Could be a good turnout for this one!
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Re: The Valpolicellas of Veneto

by James Roscoe » Wed Oct 25, 2006 11:51 am

I know where to get an old fav. of mine. I think Clinton has written disfavorably about its modern style though.
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Re: Repasso

by Tom V » Wed Oct 25, 2006 2:22 pm

Hi Jenise, I've had Quinterelli Vals going back to the early 80's vintage and always found them impressive. If you go to the website of zachys.com which is the store I recently bought some '97 Quint Val from, which I haven't yet sampled, and put Valpolicella in the Search function, one of the returns is the '97 Quinterelli Val which features a picture of the label which states "Amarone della Valpolicella" and "Classico" beneath that. So this would definitely be repasso I believe if it mentions "Amarone". This wine store runs frequent sales which is when I purchased this wine for about $50. a bottle.
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Last edited by Tom V on Wed Oct 25, 2006 4:48 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Repasso

by Arnt Egil Nordlien » Wed Oct 25, 2006 2:34 pm

Tom V wrote:'97 Quinterelli Val which features a picture of the label which states "Amarone della Valpolicella" and "Classico" beneath that. So this would definitely be repasso I believe if it mentions "Amarone". This wine store runs frequent sales which is when I purchased this wine for about $50. a bottle.
Tom V


I think you mix up a couple of things here Tom. Ripasso is a process of winemaking where you take a normal Valpolicella and do a secondary fermentation on the lees of an amarone (or recioto). So this is not the same process as in making an amarone delle valpolicella. In making amarone della valpolicella you dry grapes as in the recioto-process, and afterwards ferment these raisins.

If a label states amarone della valpolicella, it must be an amarone and not a ripasso in the making. In the case of Zachys internetpage, they use the wrong label. Quintarellis Valpolicella classico superiore is made using the ripasso-process. It do not state amarone on the label.
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Re: Repasso

by Tom V » Wed Oct 25, 2006 4:47 pm

Hmmmm, Yeah Arnt, I knew that once. Falls into that large category of things I knew, forgot, and 'am happy to rediscover.
But are you saying that the label is inherently incorrect, because I do think that is what the labels on my bottles say. Now I need to check. Assuming it is what is on the label, it would then be a Valpolicella made from raisined grapes that have not previously been used to make an Amerone?...no? Ah what the heck, just proves you don't necessarily have to know what you're buying or drinking to really enjoy it! Tom V :wink:
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Re: label

by Tom V » Thu Oct 26, 2006 9:44 pm

Yes, you're right Arnt. The label on the web site is incorrect. I should be so lucky that they sent me the Amarone della Valpolicella! It starts at about $300. a bottle, and that is territory where I do not tread! What I have is either the Classico or Classico Superior. Anyway, it's very fine Valpolicella! Tom V
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Re: The Valpolicellas of Veneto

by Jenise » Fri Oct 27, 2006 8:11 pm

Oliver McCrum wrote:Jenise,

There is a difference between normal Valpolicella and those made by ripasso, which are often labelled V. Classico Superiore. These latter are different in conception, closer to Amarone, and more expensive, and it's unfortunate that there's no obvious way of telling the difference.

If you want to try straight V. I wouldn't omit younger wines, as the forward fruit of that wine is best drunk younger.


Oliver, yeah, I understood the latter (without knowing if there were exceptions). It's just trying to find any that's the problem. Which kind of surprises me in that Italian wines outsell all other imports in my area, even Australian wines--there's a pretty decent selection available. But the only straight Valpo I've ever seen is Tommasi. No help in Canada yesterday either at a store with a very large Italian department.

Anyway, thanks to everyone for your help, I'll keep looking.
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov

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