Traditional Vintage Valpolicella

Valpolicella style, Italy
Traditional Vintage Collection
Bottled January 2015
12.9%  abv

ValpolicellaValpolicella is, like its cousin GSM (review June 2015), a blend of 3 distinct varieties: Corvina Veronese (usually simply called Corvina), Rondinella and Molinara.

Italy’s wine laws specify the maximum amount of each grape to be present in Valpolicella:

  • Corvina, 40-70%
  • Rondinella, a maximum of 30%
  • Molinara, a maximum of 10%
  • Valpolicella may also contain up to a maximum of 15% Barbera, and a small amount of Sangiovese

Valpolicella is not only the name of the wine but is the name of the area in Italy where the grapes are grown and the wine is produced.

Just to keep things interesting, Valpolicella appears in several different styles:

  • Amarone – fully fermented; powerful flavours, with great ageing potential
  • Classico – grapes originate from a specific area (40% of all of the Valpolicella produced)
  • Recioto – a sweet wine, partially fermented
  • Ripasso – refermented, with greater body and pronounced flavours

Valpolicella&PastaThis Valpolicella was a true cherry colour, with a slight brownish hue. Immediately on the nose were bright, fresh aromas of tart cherry, raspberry, blueberry and earthy undertones. Flavours were less complex featuring cherry and blueberry; a hint of licorice/anise; and a definite earthy component. The earthy note is likely from the Rondinella. Molinara is prone to oxidation, which was, no doubt, the source of the brownish hue. (During the ageing process red wines lighten and take on a brownish cast; white wines darken considerably.) Tannins were not obvious, largely due to the naturally occurring relatively high acidity level. This delicious Valpolicella is balanced slightly toward acidity, making it extremely food friendly.

Valpolicella is meant to be consumed as a young wine, akin to Beaujolais. Slightly chill the bottle before serving to bring out the fresh, fruity characteristics. It’s delicious with tomato-based pasta, veal or chicken dishes; roasts; stews; Minestrone soup; beef carpaccio. I enjoyed my tasting with a fruit and cheese plate, the star of which was Fifth Town Bacchus (Picton, ON).  Bacchus is a creamy, cow/sheep milk cheese, covered with grappa-soaked fruits.  A beauty to behold, simply amazing with the fresh fruit flavours and acidity of the Valpolicella – one of those perfect pairings I’m always hoping for! 

Prepared for Wine Kitz Ottawa Iris
By Wendy Smyth, Certified Sommelier
September 2015

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