Posts Tagged ‘Amarone’

Wine of the Week: Cesari Mara Valpolicella Superiore Ripasso DOC 2009

I know, I know, the wine name is absurdly long.  But trust me, it’s great wine.

Valpolicella is the region where the wine is made in northeastern Italy called the Veneto.  The grapes are three – possibly three you’ve never heard of: Corvina, Rondinella and Molinara.

Sometimes called a “baby Amarone,” the secret to this wine is the Ripasso method—a technique that passes the juice over the skins and seeds from an Amarone fermentation. This sets off another fermentation, taking the cherry fruit flavors of Valpolicella and creating a much richer, spicier wine with more tannin, and a bit more alcohol. You get lots of blackfruit, coffee, figs, and raisins, and much of the intensity and pleasure of Amarones at perhaps a quarter to a third of their cost.

You can find this wine at about $13-16 in most good wine shops.

Wine Of The Week-Good Pinot Grigio

I know, I know, everyone reaches for Santa Margherita at a holiday party or a restaurant. Hey, they spend a lot of money on advertising and the brand name is well known. But between us, it’s not really good wine, and it’s absurdly expensive for what you get.
That’s why the Wine of the week is Maso Canali Trentino Pinot Grigio.

Why is this really good wine? Well I could blather on about late-harvested grapes, stainless steel fermentation, lots of contact with the lees, the fact that the same family has been farming there for 500 years, or that they don’t do malolactic fermentation.

The most important reason, though, is that the good folks at Maso Canali use the Passito process; they keep about 7% of the grapes back, and dry them separately on special racks, wonderfully concentrating their flavors, aromas and sugars.  These dried grapes are pressed, and this concentrated juice is then added to the base wine which has been fermented normally. Passito is the same process used to make the famous and expensive Amarone red wines, the difference being pretty much all of an Amarone comes from dried grapes versus only a few percent here.

Bottom line: this wine has delicious tropical fruit flavors, real body, aromas and complexity that put most Pinot Grigios to shame. Try it!