A broad, flavour-filled, smooth, sumptuous and approachable Ripasso from one of the wineries that put quality Valpolicella on the map. Made from grapes grown in the Classico heartland of the Valpolicella zone and fermented to the high standards of the Superiore designation, this is then made into a Ripasso, for extra layers of complexity, texture, quality and flavour. It is a serious wine that is seriously delicious!
The Valpolicella from Le Ragose is lively, bright and juicy - this Ripasso is made form a wine like that and then undergoes a second fermentation when introduced to the used skins of Amarones (which have masses of potential top give, even after they have made their own, stellar wine). The residual sugars, colour and tannin in these skins act as a catalyst for the second fermentation and typically increase the alcohol levels by one to two percent alcohol. They also increase the sensation of body and weight in the wines, the colour and the flavour characteristics - often taking the red fruit flavours and converting them to notes of dried fruit, leather, black cherry and Christmas Cake.
Ripassos can come and go, with some underwhelming and disappointing; but the best are like a combination of the vibrancy of Valpolicella and the richness of Amarone. This Ripasso from Le Ragose is certainly one of the latter - a serious proposition for serious fun.
Hard to think that Valpolicella was thought of as a wine style and region that 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.
You get so much quality in this bottle it's unbelievable! A worthy owner of the Ripasso name.
Grape(s): Rondinella, Corvinone, Corvina
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