My Verona

10 Nov

I recently attended a Bottlenotes’ Taste Around Town event at  Greenwich Project  featuring wines from Verona area of Northern Italy. I was able to taste nine wines from Cesari, a manufacturer that is imported to the USA by Opici Wines, who arranged the tasted and poured for us.

The evening’s tasting of wines that ranged in price from $9-$70, I hope my notes will help provide a sense of the region,  the individual bottles, and the brand, starting with the light-bodied wines moving to the full-bodied, high end, with MSRP in $USD and alcohol by volume listed after my tasting notes. If you see something that peaks your interest, I bet you can find it easily to purchase locally or using a search engine. If you get stuck, try the Opici website link above. They are very nice, intelligent wine-lovers who are passionate about their work the same way we are about wine.

Duetorri Pinot Grigio-100% pinot grigio, fresh and crisp, a good demonstration of the grape, fragrant citrus and white pear with nice, tight acidity and minerality. $9/bottle,  12.5%ABV.

Duetorri Pinot Noir, 100% pinot noir- very gentle, easy to drink pinot with bright cherry nose and palate and high acidity. Matured in stainless to highlight the grape, this is a nice entry-level wine that shows the basic grape with some flint notes from the terroir with mild tannins and a comforting acidity.  $9/bottle, 12.5% ABV.

Bardolino Chiaretto – With a nose of wildflowers and bright ruby color, cherry dominates the mouth with strong acidity and mild tannins. 60% Corvina with Molinara and Rondinella grapes in the blend, an easy-drinking, rosé that was designed to be enjoyed with food. $11/bottle, 12% ABV.

Valpolicella Classico DOC.  A blend of 75% Corvina and 25% Rondinella, a nice example of a classic Italian table wine, capable of pairing almost anything. Perfect first-course wine if you want to move to the expensive upper crust, or very comfortable to enjoy throughout an entire meal. Feels fresh, tasty and local.   $12/bottle, 12.5% ABV.

Mara Valpolicella Superiore Di Ripasso. A blend of corvino, rondinella  and molinara grapes that is made with a secondary fermentation on Amarone grape pressings for great depth (hence the term, ripasso). The wine offers a bright ruby color with floral nose, the flavors are concentrated and fuller-bodied with a velvet texture in the mouth and compares well to a beaujolais or burgundy. “Mara” would pair well with fowl, white or red meat and game. $19/bottle, 13.5% ABV.

Jema (2008) Made of 100% corvina.  This wine starts with ripe red fruit aromas and flavors and shows beautifully subtle notes of cocoa, roasted coffee bean, cloves, old wood and chalky soil that add marvelous depth. A lengthy process is used to achieve this enjoyable wine which is a great demonstration of small, old-world winemaking that really shows in the depth of flavors and lingering finish. Priced in the Mid-$30’s. ABV 13.5%.

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Amarone Della Valpolicella Classico DOC (2008). An aromatic nose with red fruit and spice; cherry, leather, and tobacco on the palate.  This full-bodied wine will compete nicely with some of your favorite Barolo wines. Big, very dry, and long on the finish. The blend is made from 70% Veronese corvino, 20%  rondinella, and 5% molinar grapes. Low-Mid $30’s/bottle, 15.3% ABV

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Amarone Della Valpolicella “Il Bosco” DOC (2006) This blend of 80% corvina and 20% rondinella shows off huge nose of black fruit and dried flowers. In the mouth, black plum and cassis are dominant with a gentle hint of wood. Full-bodied, producing a powerful, lengthy finish with a delicate and velvet texture. Impressive.  $70/bottle, 15% ABV.

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Bosan Valpolicella Superiore Ripasso (2004) Comprised of 80% Corvina and 20% Rondinella, this DOC wine uses the same Ripasso technique to re-ferment the wine on the dried skins prior to barrel and bottle drying to provide an excellent, well-made wine. Floral notes with licorice and tobacco on the nose, the palate shows over-ripe black cherry, dried plum, and boysenberry with notes of bittersweet chocolate, allspice, and toasted vanilla bean.  Mellow acidity and mature tannins show that this is a perfect age for this wine though it could age another ten years, at the current age it demonstrates a medium long finish that adds residual oak and some chalky clay to the back palate. Delicious, crowd-pleasing, and a great example of wonderful winemaking from the region. Unlike some wines only show best when paired, this wine also shows wonderfully alone and could be an excellent after-dinner or “meditation” wine. $70’s/bottle;  15.8%ABV.

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With the options available from Verona, it’s no wonder Shakespeare waxed poetic about the region, her people and wine. If you don’t know the wines from the area, you owe it to yourself to try them with some of your favorite Italian food.

And since I jokingly referred to it in the title, here’s a VH1 video of The Knack’s “My Sharona” for you 1970’s music fans. Enjoy!

à votre santé!

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