I’ve made no secret of the fact that I adore Italian wines, both red and white, but believe me when I say that I tasted this bottle as subjectively as possible and it still came up trumps. And when I say ‘came up trumps’ I mean it was one of those wines that as soon as it hits the tip of your tongue your just know you’re going to go back for another mouthful IMMEDIATELY, not only because it’s so delicious but because you want to try and pick out all the flavours you missed the first time around.
Our Wine of the Week is the Torre del Falasco Valpolicella Ripasso.
So let me first tell you a little bit about Valpolicella before I explain exactly why this wine is so good…
To find the grapes for this type of wine, you have to travel to northern Italy and the vineyards surrounding the historic town of Verona. There are three varieties that traditionally make Valpolicella – Corvina, Rondinella and Molinara – and most basic Valpolicella is typically light in body and flavour. However – and this is where it starts to get interesting – there a few different types of Valpolicella that couldn’t be more different in style from the light, Beaujolais-style quaffing wine that makes up most of the region’s production. Probably the most famous is Amarone, the heavy duty fruitcake-flavoured wonder that is made by pressing semi-dried grapes.
This wine from Torre del Falasco falls into another category – Valpolicella Ripasso. The Ripasso method will appeal to not only the red wine lovers out there, but also those who are all for recycling and reusing. This is because the leftover grape skins and seeds from that Amarone production are added to the Valpolicella wine during the maceration stage or secondary fermentation stage, giving it an extra dimension of richness and flavour.
So what makes the Torre del Falasco so fantastic? Well, for starters, that richness is apparent before you even taste the wine, with its intense aromas brimming full of red and black cherries, soft vanilla oak, blackberries and a touch of sweet almond. The thing that initially struck me about the taste is not any particular flavour (more about them in a bit), but the unbelievable smoothness of the palate. There is tannin there too, of course, but it is so well-integrated, it just adds to the experience. The flavours on the palate are similar to the aromas – plenty of ripe black fruits and a touch of mouth-watering sour cherry, and there’s also a healthy streak of acidity to hold the whole thing together.
This would be the perfect wine for those who are committed to the ways of the New World winemakers and are convinced they would find any European red too dry, tannic and ‘stalky’. This perfectly encompasses what makes Italian wine fantastic but also giving it a contemporary feel with its forward fruitiness, and yes, its smoothness. Food and wine pairing can be fun with this style of wine: the notes of chocolate and cherry in the wine can be matched with desserts containing those ingredients, or if you’re going savoury, the likes of pork, duck and pates can work wonders with the sour-fruit flavours.
But my favourite thing about this wine? Has to be the price. A serious bargain.
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