Sunday, January 19, 2014

2006 Nicolis Valpolicella DOC Classico

My goodness, but there is just something about the delightful refreshment of Italian wine. No jam jars, no claims about "old vines," no labels literally breathing fire or monstrousness or prisons.

A pretty brick-cranberry color -- meaty aroma like rare roast beef -- very light bodied, fresh

Its tannins will not shout "structure" and its acids will not chorus "age me," but it was delicious and different. The blend is made of 65% corvina, 25% rondinella, and 10% molinara grapes. Together, they make the wine named for the place, Valpolicella, in northeast Italy.

A quick brush-up of old homework:

  • Valpolicella, Valpolicella classico, and Valpolicella superiore are all wines made from the three native grape varieties mentioned above. Classico indicates a wine made from a smaller and more select subregion of Valpolicella, superiore means the wine has been aged longer and has a higher alcohol content. 
  • Recioto della Valpolicella is a wine made from the same three grape varieties, after they have been dried to a concentrated sweetness -- the result of course is a sweet wine. 
  • Amarone is a recioto wine, fully fermented so that all that sugar becomes alcohol. (Amarone means bitter.)
  • Ripasso is a Valpolicella of either of the first three types -- in other words, not a recioto and not an amarone -- which has been made as usual but then held for two or three weeks in casks still containing the sludge of yeasts and grapeskins from a previous batch of recioto or amarone. It's been "re-passed," you might say, over these old lees. The trouble is, to find a ripasso you must do yet more homework, since Italian law forbids the use of the word ripasso on these wines. Go figure.  

Retail, about $18.

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