Very purple/black in the glass. Brush, black cherry, blackberries and tar on the nose. On the palate it is round, soft and full of fruit. Black fruits galore, cedar shake, olives and that creosote all hit me across the front. The midpalate offers more blackberries and gentle, yet fine grained tannins. The black cherry reappears on the finale with a touch of dryness on the gums that adds to the mouthfeel. 89 points for this $20 Corvina/Rondinella blend and 3 stars. Pair with Pasta, Veal and grilled Tuna from now till 2023. Salut….
I’m excited to try the 2014 version of Zenato’s Ripassa. I reviewed the 2012 version previously. In the glass it is as expected- dark, opaque, thick. On the nose- somewhat fresh, with blackberries, raisins, chocolate ganache and sandalwood. On the palate it is lush, filled with black fruits, purple licorice and mouth coating tannins. It does however leave me feeling a little short changed. I remember this wine as being richer, with mouthfuls of fruit, much more upfront and reduced. This version seems a little more subdued, more mainstream. It’s plenty flavorful, with good balance between acidity and tannic structure- don’t get me wrong. Perhaps they have changed styles into a more refined approach.
The mid palate and finish pretty much carry on from the initial palate and let the tannins crescendo at the end. There is however a slight astringency that hits me on the back end. I cannot quite pinpoint it. Serve with charcuterie or grilled steak from now till 2025. 89 points and 3 stars for this $24 effort. Salut….
Medium opacity purple, with a nice sheen in the glass. The nose offers up bacon, plum paste, raisins and …… On the palate I get nice round blackberry cobbler notes, bright acidity and very fine grained tannins. If you know how Ripasso is made you would expect a bit more weight, extra flavor and a heavier mouthfeel. This wine is a touch more refined, somewhat lighter and a bit fresher. The mid palate has a nice cherry meets plum characteristic that feeds into the decent length finish. The tannins taper off leaving a somewhat astringent mouthfeel right at the end. It’s certainly interesting. 89 points and 3 stars for this $15 blend of Corvina, Corvinone and Rondinella. Drink till 2026. Salut….
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….
Whenever I see a Ripasso in a restaurant, I buy it. I love the elegance of Valpolicella and the brute force that comes when they ‘pass it through’ the Amarone lees and make a Ripasso. Dried cherry and licorice come to mind with some really tasty tannins. The acidic component is slightly off but the fruit over-compensates. This particular bottle was not as aromatic and extracted as I like but it went superbly with our Osso Bucco dinner. 88 points and 3 stars for this $22 effort. Salut….
Dark purple in the glass, opaque AF. The nose is unique…. pomegranate meets cherry reduction and almonds. On the palate I’m confronted with wood bark, black fruits, more nuttiness and a dense stack of tannins. Brooding, rich and foreboding- it is a heavy duty wine with decent balance and good grip. The dryness of the tannins kick in on the finish in a big way. This wine could use a trip through the aerator. I like it as is with some grilled lamb or possibly with pasta after aerating. If you read the label closely you will see that it is made in the Ripasso style, being a blend of Corvina and Rondinella. 90 points and 4 stars for this very reasonable $17 wine. Salut….
One of my sons is 14 and ice-skates competitively in Synchro and Ice Dancing. He has been with his Dance partner for just over 5 months and they qualified to go to the National Skating Championships this weekend in Kansas City. They all left yesterday and I was supposed to join them today, Friday the 13th. My flight cancelled and the weather is supposed to be horrendous out there. Why do I mention all this? Because his partner’s parents gave me this bottle of wine for Christmas, so it made sense for me to open it tonight in honor of the big weekend.
First off, this wine is a really dark purple- I can almost see extraction. On the nose, really nice aromas of plum, black currant and olive strike out. On the initial attack I get more plum, some really prominent tannins that give way to primal black fruits and a hint of the wood. This wine is young but delicious. The mid palate is where the tannins really take over and coat my whole mouth, perfect for Ribeye steak! The finish is rather long and gives out some hints of berry jam, leather and still more lingering tannins. The winemaker does a masterful job of hiding the 14.9% alcohol. The acidity is perfectly balanced and this wine is ready for some cellar time. By all means drink it now, but I think you will be rewarded with 4-5 years in the darkness. Drink till 2028 and pair it with grilled meats, lamb stew or even a rustic wood oven fired Margherita pizza. I am going with 92 points on this and for about $43 this is a 4 star wine. I’m loving it! Wish us luck this weekend and Salut….