The Production Area
Valpolicella Ripasso is produced in the area situated to the north of the city of Verona. This area has always been very suitable for the cultivation of vines, which have been grown here for thousands of years. Since Roman times, the Verona area has been famous for its great wine products and the name Valpolicella itself probably derives from the Latin expression 'vallis polis cellae', or valleys with many cellars. The denomination includes a wide hilly strip of land that extends from Lake Garda towards the province of Vicenza. The western area is made up of the Classica area, in the centre there is the Valpantena, while the rest of the territory falls within the eastern area. This is a fairly large region, shaped by deep valleys, which descend from the first foothills towards the plain following a north-south direction. The splendid hilly exposures, mainly facing south, enjoy a climate that is particularly favourable for growing vines. The presence of the wide Lake Garda basin contributes to mild temperatures, offering almost Mediterranean summer characteristics. The Lessini Mountains offer natural protection from cold winds and perturbations that descend from the north, reducing rainfall. The soils that give life to Valpolicella Ripasso are rather heterogeneous and vary considerably from area to area. However, they are mainly composed of a calcareous matrix, resulting from the slow disintegration of dolomitic rocks, with the presence of ancient moraine or alluvial deposits and volcanic components, especially in the easternmost area, towards the Soave zone. In general, the soils are very draining, rich in gravel and suited to the needs of the vines. The vines are cultivated up to an altitude of about 500 metres, on slopes that are often quite steep and frequently terraced with dry stone walls.
The Grape Varieties of Ripasso and the Wines of the Area
Valpolicella wines are produced from the native red grapes of the Veronese area. Like all great terroirs, from Burgundy to Bordeaux, from the Langhe to Montalcino, there is a millenary link between the area of production and the vines. This process of deep integration and adaptation has made it possible to select and cultivate the most suitable varieties for the soil and climate, which express the highest levels of quality. Still today, as in past centuries, Corvina, Corvinone and Rondinella varieties are grown almost exclusively, as well as other local grapes such as Molinara and Oseleta. The presence of important native vines of great enological value has always protected the area from any temptation to plant the famous international varieties that have invaded the world since the end of the 19th century such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Grenache and Syrah. This characteristic has made it possible to preserve a feature of authenticity and historical continuity, which represents a real value and allows the production of Veneto wines with a strong identity and distinctiveness. In keeping with the oldest traditions, Valpolicella Ripasso is produced from Corvina Veronese and/or Corvinone and Rondinella grapes, to which a small percentage of non-aromatic red grapes permitted for cultivation in the province of Verona may be added.
The Characteristics and Food Pairings
This Veneto red wine originates from the ancient tradition of grape drying, which has always been practised in the Verona area, and from a particular winemaking process, inspired by the Tuscan use of the Chianti appellation, which consists in a second fermentation on the used marcs of Amarone or Recioto wine. This is a very precise approach that meets the tastes of consumers who prefer smoothness and richness. In order to achieve this result, the vines are managed by favouring low yields, so that they produce few bunches per plant, with intense, concentrated aromas and a good sugar level. This produces a red wine with a good structure, evolved and velvety tannins and a smooth, rich and persistent taste. In terms of sensory profile, it expresses aromas of ripe cherry, blackberry, blackcurrant, black cherry, wild berry jam, hints of violet and spiced notes of cinnamon, cloves, vanilla and black pepper.
Due to its particular characteristics, it is an intense and full-bodied red wine, which manages to combine the fragrance and freshness of the fruit with richer, softer and more evolved aromas, due to the ripasso technique. It is an ideal wine to enjoy with roast meats, red meats, grilled meats, and small roasted or stewed game.
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