Valpolicella - Italy - $18.00
Wine Gent - 91 points
Sometimes it takes years of cellaring to allow wine to develop properly. When it does have time to develop - it is generally a joy to drink. Every once in a while you can find one that is ready to drink right away. Often these ready to drink wine lack the depth and layering of flavor that wine lovers crave. Sometimes you can get lucky and find both....
I have always been a sucker for wines made in the Ripasso style. These wines include Amerone which can be one of the more enjoyable (and more expensive) wines you can find from Italy. Usually made with a blend of grapes from the Veneto region which include Corvina, Rondinella and Sangiovese - there is an extra step in making this wine that contributes to its depth of flavor.
70% of the grapes are juiced at harvest. They are vinified and stored in the traditional fashion in wine casks. About 30% of the grapes are air dried until December - only then is the fermented juice and lees added to the balance of the juice. This process gives the wine its rich, layered flavor.
This wine is deep ruby red and stains the glass sides. Aromas of expresso, chocolate, leather and dark fruit come in waves. You can sense the richness of the wine just by the nose. The wine has good density in the mouth - almost chewy like a good Cabernet. The black fruit, chocolate and coffee notes lead to a long layered finish. Although this wine is in no way soft - the tannins are in balance. There is plenty of muscle to pair beautifully with a rich rib roast or steak. You can let it breathe if you like - but it is beautiful right out of the bottle.
This wine is fabulous and a fantastic value. List price on this gem is $18. It is difficult to believe you can get this much bang for the buck. Don't miss it -and be sure to ask for the 2007. You may see this start going on sale - as vendors are making room for newer vintages. Buy a case at a time and enjoy!