This beautiful, structured Cabernet comes from one of the most-celebrated producers in the region; famed for Amarone and Ripassos of soaring quality, this is almost Pauillac in structure, but with the generosity of the Italian climate, you get a version of this noble grape akin to those of Napa and the Super Tuscans.
It is not a typical Valpolicella style of wine, it is more an expression of the soil and of an approach to a variety that creates a wine that is completely Veronese. A rich, balanced red that has layers of dark berry and currant fruits, cedar spice and a dense and structured mouth feel that opens and develops during each glass.
It's a very classy and special wine.
The Gallis bought the winery in the late 1960s and most of the vineyards were in tatters: overgrown and unkempt. In their surveying of the property they identified a section of Cabernet Sauvignon vines and vinified them separately to incredible results. They have nourished them and developed them ever since, in parallel to the indigenous varieties for the production of their classic Valpolicella wines. It's a remarkable act of research and generosity that we are fortunate to be able to share and witness.
Hard to think that the Valpolicella region was thought of as being was fit for the bottom shelves of supermarkets and wine shops, but, until the late 1960s, that was the place in which the region found itself. The vision and energy of Marta Galli and her husband Arnaldo, drove them to high altitude, old vines and the winery of Le Ragose. Believing that they could extract quality from their native vines, with prerequisites of vine age and altitude, they forced a new vision of Valpolicella on the wine world: one of elegance, complexity, quality and vitality.
The abandoned 70-acre Le Ragose estate is 350m above sea level and this creates practical problems for vine growing (it's why the estate was up for sale in the first place) especially regarding the harvesting of grapes on very steep slopes. However, it is also the key to their quality - steep slopes drain well and, as they face south, there is excellent exposure to the sun for ripening. Add to this the level of altitude which sits them above the fog that causes a serious lack of quality in vines from the valley floor and you have a vineyard area that would be the envy of anyone.
The Gallis began farming in as sympathetic a manner and as naturally as possible. Le Ragose is located in the town of Negrar, the heartland of Valpolicella, to the north of Verona. It is the highest point in the Valpolicella region. The other wineries in the village are also of the highest calibre as they too have established that the climatic benefits and geographical situation are particularly well suited for appassimento, the process of drying grapes which is fundamental to Amarone production. Yes, Amarone really is the pinnacle of the scale here, but if you can't make a good Valpolicella, you're almost certainly not going to make a decent Amarone.
“The quality of a wine cannot be distinguished from the place of origin of the grapes and from the people who produce it” - says Paolo Galli; it's a sentence that really does encapsulate the underlying philosophy and overwhelming passion of the people and the wines made at Le Ragose.
Grape(s): Cabernet Sauvignon
Style: Svelte, Structured, Soft, Smooth, Silky, Round, Rich, Organic, Medium Full, Intense, Fruity, Fleshy, Elegant, Complex, Biodynamic
Best food matches: St Stephen's Day, Soft Cheeses, Roasts, Red Meats, Poultry, Mature Cheeses, Lamb, Grills, Goat's Cheese, Game, Duck, Christmas Dinner, Cheeses, Charcuterie, Beef, Baked Fish