If you have never had a Ripasso wine before you need to hurry along and get one. It all starts with the Amarone wines, where the grapes are air dried for several months on wire racks and the fruit loses volume and increases its sugars. Once they press the grapes what is left over are the skins and seeds, minus the juices but still yielding some tannins and flavors that basic Valpolicella lacks. Once they ferment the Valpolicella wine they then ‘pass’ it over the remaining Amarone grape skins to impart a deeper color, structure, tannins and a depth of flavor. Some call them the baby Amarones. I have been a fan of this particular wine for a long time and was super excited to get a bottle the other day. Priced at $24, it is a good intro to the style.
Dark purple, with a nose of raisins, funk and plums (all good I assure you). On the palate I am getting rich plums, black cherry and delightful tannins. The mid palate shows off dried cherry, oak and more tannins which really hit the gums at this point. The finish tapers off with plum jam and raisins. The wine is not as ‘thick and unctuous’ as I remembered nor does it present the depth I have had in other vintages but it is still really good and gets 89 points from me. 85% Corvina, 10% Rondinella and 5% Oseleta. I had an old colleague over for dinner that saw me pair this with Pasta and Meatballs/Mild Italian Sausage. It was a great match and even made the Caeser Salad and Garlic bread more on pointe. The whole evening was a good time but this wine had a special place in our visit. Drink till 2022. 3 stars. Salut….