New Allotment exclusive: Le Ragose, Valpolicella
I’m delighted to have landed a new and exclusive range of wines from Valpolicella producer, Le Ragose.
And with the wines comes an amazing story of understanding potential, maintaining a vision and belief.
A bold statement, perhaps, but without this winery we wouldn't have the Valpolicella we have today.
It all started with the "First Lady of Wine", Marta Galli and her husband Arnaldo, who bought an abandoned 70-acre estate in the town of Negrar in 1969.
Thought as too difficult to farm on account of the steep slopes, the place was abandoned.
The Galli family had other ideas. It was their firm belief that it was these very slopes that were key to unlocking Valpolicella's highest levels.
Farming virtually sustainably and organically, the successive generations have proven the family to be visionary and totally correct.
Set on steep slopes over 350 metres above sea-level, the grapes ripen evenly, above the fog-line of the lower plains where all that bulk Valpolicella is made. These wine are, quite literally, a cut above the rest.
This is a site that has nurtured the family's prodigious reputation over the past five decades; using vines that were already in existence and replanting when necessary, they have built a network of vineyards that is the envy of the region.
Their wines are almost uniformly fermented to dryness, with residual sugars kept to a balancing minimal role, preferring richness of body from phenolic ripeness, lengthy macerations and a maturing that can take years, depending on the wine that each harvest yields.
Their Amarones often age for more than a decade before release. Their Ripassos are always balanced for consumption on purchase, while the Valpolicella is charming and fresh but without the sappy greenness that others grown in less favourable sites have to endure.
The quality certainly comes from the hands of the makers, the privileged aspect of the grapes and the Valpolicella region itself.
As Dr. Paolo Galli, Arnaldo and Marta's son, puts it: "The quality of a wine is a concept that is inseparable from the place of origin of the grapes and the people who produce it".
It is clear that in the case of Le Ragose, the quality of the place of origin is perfectly matched by the quality of those who look after it.
These are sensational wines: soaring quality levels and as authentic an expression of their terroir as you could ever desire to experience.
You can buy the Le Ragose wines online.