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Open Mike: Valpolicella.

by Bob Parsons Alberta » Thu Oct 26, 2006 9:21 am

Lots of discussion this week about Ripasso, Superiore, Amarone so I have gathered up a possee and I think we are about ready for another roundup!! Sure should be some more interesting discussions but this time we get to taste so see what is available in your area and yee-ah we`re off!

This will be an interesting tasting exercise if you are new to tasting and there should be some nice entry level wines in your area. I am sure someone will chip in with some producers to look out for, without breaking the bank!
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Re: Open Mike: Valpolicella.

by Mike B. » Thu Oct 26, 2006 12:36 pm

This is a great one, Bob.

Valpolicella used to be one of my favourite wines about 10 years ago. That was long before I started my obsession with fine wines, so it will be interesting to revisit it again.

I used to always get the Folonari Val; wonder if I'd like it now? And my sister-in-law loves Masi, which has a pretty good offering.

This weekend I will be trying the La Casetta Ettori Righetti Ripasso you recco'd. I'll post notes on it here.
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Re: Open Mike: Valpolicella.

by AaronW » Thu Oct 26, 2006 3:26 pm

Bob Parsons Alberta. wrote:Lots of discussion this week about Ripasso, Superiore, Amarone so I have gathered up a possee and I think we are about ready for another roundup!! Sure should be some more interesting discussions but this time we get to taste so see what is available in your area and yee-ah we`re off!

This will be an interesting tasting exercise if you are new to tasting and there should be some nice entry level wines in your area. I am sure someone will chip in with some producers to look out for, without breaking the bank!


I have a bottle of "Bolla Valpolicella". Anyone know what i might expect from this. It was only about 10 bucks. You're saying things like- "Superiore" and I'm wondering where I need to go with this. Please help,thanks.
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Re: Open Mike: Valpolicella.

by Mike B. » Thu Oct 26, 2006 4:34 pm

Hey Aaron, you're not alone. That's why this forum rocks - so folks like you and I can try new wines and learn about them.

I googled valpolicella and came up with this. It provides a description of the differences between Classico, Classico Superiore, Reicioto, etc, and explains the Ripasso technique.

I know nothing about Bolla, but the site mentions that it is one of the best known producers. Bolla's web site is here.
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Re: Open Mike: Valpolicella.

by DebA » Thu Oct 26, 2006 5:04 pm

AaronW. wrote:
Bob Parsons Alberta. wrote:Lots of discussion this week about Ripasso, Superiore, Amarone so I have gathered up a possee and I think we are about ready for another roundup!! Sure should be some more interesting discussions but this time we get to taste so see what is available in your area and yee-ah we`re off!

This will be an interesting tasting exercise if you are new to tasting and there should be some nice entry level wines in your area. I am sure someone will chip in with some producers to look out for, without breaking the bank!


I have a bottle of "Bolla Valpolicella". Anyone know what i might expect from this. It was only about 10 bucks. You're saying things like- "Superiore" and I'm wondering where I need to go with this. Please help,thanks.


Aaron, Bolla's Valpolicella is one of my favorites, but my catalogue of Val experiences is limited. I am not familiar with the ones Bob mentioned, but look forward to branching out and giving something new a try, just like you. :cool:
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Re: Open Mike: Valpolicella.

by Bob Parsons Alberta » Thu Oct 26, 2006 5:45 pm

Here are some names to look out for, recd.from my pals in the UK.

Zenato.
Allegrini.
Rugate.
Bonacosta.
Quintarelli.
Bussola.
Tedeschi.
Masi.

I would think most of these wineries are putting out some pretty good amarone too!!
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Re: Open Mike: Valpolicella.

by Bob Parsons Alberta » Fri Oct 27, 2006 1:05 am

Mike B. wrote:Hey Aaron, you're not alone. That's why this forum rocks - so folks like you and I can try new wines and learn about them.

I googled valpolicella and came up with this. It provides a description of the differences between Classico, Classico Superiore, Reicioto, etc, and explains the Ripasso technique.

I know nothing about Bolla, but the site mentions that it is one of the best known producers. Bolla's web site is here.


Thanks for this Mike. Went to the Empson tasting today but no Valpolicella, lots of Sicily and Brunello, plus some excellent wines fron Jermann. Will post some impressions after the weekend.
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Re: Open Mike: Valpolicella.

by Jenise » Fri Oct 27, 2006 2:42 am

Bob, Valpolicella's a problem for me and I'm not likely to particpate. The only thing I see around town (in the non-Amarone class) is the Tommasi 02. I'm including Zenato Ripasso in the Amarone class, btw, though I undersand the difference. Trouble is that even if I do find something, it's going to be a possibly iffy 02 or the torrid vintage of 03. The post of mine that (I think) prompted your interest in this topic, was presuming I'd still be able to buy vintages like 01 and have them shipped to me for tasting in a few months or even years. Can't do much now, I'm afraid.
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Re: Open Mike: Valpolicella.

by Bob Parsons Alberta » Fri Oct 27, 2006 7:02 pm

Jenise, what about a nice bottle of Masi?!!
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Re: Open Mike: Valpolicella.

by Robin Garr » Fri Oct 27, 2006 7:56 pm

Bob, I picked up a Mazzi 2004 Valpolicella Classico Superiore today, and we'll probably open it tomorrow night. Thanks for the nudge!
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Re: Open Mike: Valpolicella.

by Mark Lipton » Fri Oct 27, 2006 11:19 pm

Well, here goes with a wine at least tangentially related:

1999 Allegrini "La Grola" IGT Veronese

nose: initially, a big whack of cherry liqueur, almost medicinal, later growing more berryish and even later developing a hint of tarriness

palate: soft entry, medium body, cherry liqueur, fine grained tannins, a bit thin in the midpalate and a shockingly low acidity in the finish

Backstory: This wine, despite coming from the estate vineyards of Allegrini, entirely inside of the boundaries of Valpolicella, is labeled an IGT because of Allegrini's decision to not include Molinara in the encepagement (as required for DOC labeling) and instead add such non-traditional varieties as Syrah and Sangiovese. In this year, the actual blend was 70% Corvina, 15% Rondinella, 10% Syrah and 5% Sangiovese. Add to that its elevage in French Oak and what you get is a quite modern wine somewhat in the Valpolicella mold.

My own take is that this wine is way too modern for my tastes, especially since I love the rusticity of a good Valpolicella Classico and the controlled power of Ripassos and Amarones. It went well enough with our dinner of chicken with broccoli, but ultimately was a bit lacking.

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Re: Open Mike: Valpolicella.

by Tom N. » Sat Oct 28, 2006 1:16 am

Bob Parsons Alberta. wrote:Zenato. "Good"
Allegrini. "Better"
Rugate.
Bonacosta.
Quintarelli.
Bussola.
Tedeschi. "Nice"
Masi. "also nice and reliable"

I would think most of these wineries are putting out some pretty good amarone too!!


Bob,

Good list and as I am a Valpolicella lover, especially ripassos, I have tried half the Vals on your list. I even have the occasional amarone (Tedeschi makes a nice one that is affordable but not cheap) when I feel like splurging a bit. One of my favorites, which I don't know if you have imported in the US is Sa' Solin Val Ripasso by Corte Zovo (check out my WTN of a week or two ago). I have had the 2002 and the 2003 and loved both, especially since it is a good QPR. I live in an Italian dominated town (Sault Ste. Marie, ON) and valpolicellas are popular as they go well with Italian food, especially tomato sauce pastas. Since we eat quite a bit of pasta (with homemade sauce and meatballs), I generally keep a stock of Vals in my cellar. Right now I have 6 in stock, 4 Sa' Solins and 2 Allegrinis. I try not to be without them for long, as I miss them when they are gone. But, they do get drunk fairly quickly at my house. :) But, that's what the are for, Right?
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Re: Open Mike: Valpolicella.

by Bob Parsons Alberta » Sat Oct 28, 2006 2:08 am

Mark.

Sure sounds like a spoofy wine to me...LOL. Seriuosly though, good job posting on this one. Yup, a little bit different.

Tom.

Have not drunk too much straight Valpol. recently so good to be opening one this evening. I missed an Amarone tasting due to family stuff so have some catching up to do.
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Re: Open Mike: Valpolicella.

by Bob Ross » Sat Oct 28, 2006 2:34 am

Bob, anyone, here's a note from nine years ago, soon after I got serious about wine. Does anyone know if this waiter was right about "valpolicella"?

7/26/97 1992 Cesari Amarone della Valpolicella Classico Quinxano Veneto Italy. Dinner with Michael, Sybil and Janet at Casa Bella, 300 Rte. 46 Denville NJ 201-627-2003. Broiled calamari and veal osso bucco. Every one said they liked it, especially Janet.

Part owner of the restaurant said that “Valpolicella” has three parts: Valley + of the little + Po. The valley of a tributary of the Po, which leads to Germany and Switzerland, to the Northwest of Venice.

Deep red color; excellent fruit aroma; intense fruit, spice and berry taste, slightly sweet; full mouth feel; ten to fifteen second finish. 4*.


According to the OED's first reference in English, this derivation may be correct:

1903 N. NEWNHAM-DAVIS Gourmet's Guide to Europe ix. 164 A bottle of Val Policella is exactly suited to this kind of repast.

But Wikipedia's take is quite different, two valleys, not one: "Valpolicella" appeared in charters of the mid 12th century, combining two valleys previously thought of independently. Its etymology is unknown; it might derive from the Latin for "Valley of Cellars." http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Valpolicella

Darned if I can figure it out -- anyone know?

Regards, Bob
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Re: Open Mike: Valpolicella.

by Bob Parsons Alberta » Sat Oct 28, 2006 2:48 am

Good question Bob! Guess there will be some answers when all the experts have googled away!!! Maybe one of those Italian books will have the answer..what was the question again!!!!!! LOL.

Burtons book mentions..."the name originally applied to the southwestern corner of the Monti Lessini in the valleys formed by the Fumane, Marano, Negrar and Novare streams".

Does that help Bob?
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Re: Open Mike: Valpolicella.

by Bob Ross » Sat Oct 28, 2006 9:21 am

Jeez, Bob, you and Burton are making it worse -- four streams?

Google translator defines Valpolicella as "Valpolicella", and from time to time I've Googled for other sources of the word. No luck so far.

Thanks for the Burton quote -- I had forgotten to check him.

Regards, Bob
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Re: Open Mike: Valpolicella.

by Hoke » Sat Oct 28, 2006 12:57 pm

Bob (ross):

All I can add is anecdotal---but is from the natives of Verona and the Val di Negrar, Fumane, and even the Valpantena.

All the people I have talked to there have told me that Valpolicella comes from the Valley of the Many Cellars.

No one ever said it had anything to do with the Po River---that's south of Valpolicella. But it was suggested that the "poli" came from "polis", or city. I'm not sure about that thought.

If you look for pictures of Valpolicella DOC, you might find one that shows the topography of the area. You'll see the map shows the prominent valleys that make up Valpolicella DOC. It's fairly obvious from looking at the map why the DOC conforms to the valleys.

It's probably because I'm an uber-geek, but to me the best way to get a focus on Valpolicella is not to focus on Valpolicella, but to set up a four tier tasting: Glass #1--Bardolino, Glass #2--Valpolicella, Glass #3--Valpolicella Ripasso, Glass #4--Amarone della Valpolicella. And if you're really uber-geeky, throw in Glass #5--Recioto!

That way you've got an interesting (if not fascinating) situation where you've got the same basic blend of approved grape varieties, but easily noticeable variations because of place (Bardolino being on the shores of Lago di Garda, Valpolicella being inland and upland above Verona) and style (Garda eats more fish; Valpolicella likes more sostanza and meat in their cuisine...mountain food.).

It's interesting simply to taste Bardolino, then taste Amarone, and be amazed to realize that the same basic blend of grapes made both of these----and they are so very, very, essentially different from each other.
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Re: Open Mike: Valpolicella.

by Bob Ross » Sat Oct 28, 2006 1:59 pm

Thanks, Hoke.

I do know there are several important caves in the region, and I suppose with so many vineyards a name based on the cellars makes sense.

I found my notes from an earlier search about the name; the local historical society's version:

Some centuries later, a list of villas (small housing complexes), drawn up in 1184, after the Peace of Costanza, includes thirty villages, almost all still in existence.

The fragmented life and administration of the area has deep roots. For example, at this time, in Negrar valley there were about ten castles with village populations often being no more than twenty or thirty people.

The name Valpolicella dates back to this time; it was probably given to the valley by administrative officials of Verona, which took control of the valley once more in the twelfth century, along the river Adige as far as Pol (Santa Lucia di Pescantina), with tax collection and the administration of justice in Ospedaletto and subsequently San Pietro: then Valpolesela, valle di Pol.


http://www.valpolicella.it/eng/lev3.asp ... %20cultura

***

Thanks also for the suggested tasting -- I'll read your list against your description on how to conduct a tasting and see if I can find enough folks to actually have one. Thank you.

Regards, Bob
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Re: Open Mike: Valpolicella.

by Bob Parsons Alberta » Sat Oct 28, 2006 7:29 pm

Now that suggested tasting would be spot on!! Great idea, who is going to try to organize!!? A sort of Mega Open Mike. Mind you guys, Wine Focus would be a good place to do it. December after the Port month, hello Robin, wakey wakey Jenise.
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Re: Open Mike: Valpolicella.

by Jenise » Sat Oct 28, 2006 7:33 pm

A question for Hoke or Oliver: Considering that the grapes are essentially dried, how many pounds of grapes does it take to make one bottle of Amarone vs. a typical bottle of dry red wine from fresh grapes?
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Re: Open Mike: Valpolicella.

by James Roscoe » Sat Oct 28, 2006 8:17 pm

I would have thought January would be better as December ought to be eternally reserved for the fizz!
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Re: Open Mike: Valpolicella.

by Bob Parsons Alberta » Sun Oct 29, 2006 1:06 am

Well, here is my contribution to the new Open Mike. I have not been a regular taster of wines from this area so this was to be, hopefully, a pleasant experience. Well-known producer but a lousy vintage so lets see what the winery turned out. Ripasso style and Classico Superiore, at 13.5% alc. Natural cork, not decanted.

WTN: `02 Valpolicella "La Casetta di Ettori Righetti"--Domini Veneto.

Color. Ruby-red, medium hue intense centre. Starting to show slight tinge of brick on the rim.

Nose. Opens out quite nicely after 10 mins. Rose petals, perfumed, hint of alcohol, raspberry and cherry. Very fruit forward nice!

Palate. Initial mouthfeel entry is ripe, elegant, juicy, soft tannins, chokecherry. As it opens out, good acidity and black fruit balance. The dried fruit and herb comes out with some airing, nice finish with raspberry and chokecherry. No bitterness the first day, fruit was quite ripe I think? This wine has appealing roundness and rich, very well received the 2nd day with the servers at the Grill!! An off-year but no complaints here.

Cost was $22 Cdn.
Food, NY steak with hummus dip. Good matchup for sure.
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Re: Open Mike: Valpolicella.

by James Roscoe » Sun Oct 29, 2006 1:27 am

Sounds great Bob. We bought a Valpo, but one of my favorite wine guys talked me into opening a malbec reserve tonight. It was too big even for a grilled strip steak. It tasted like burnt chocolate. After three hours in the decanter the burnt taste went away, but I wished I had opened the ripasso
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Re: Open Mike: Valpolicella.

by Bob Parsons Alberta » Sun Oct 29, 2006 3:12 am

Thanks James, a nice break from the mourvedre thread. Really thinking Amarone right now but past midnight!!! Also thanks for PM and I have forwarded to Robin.
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