How do you make a great Ripasso? Start with the harvest of the classic Valpolicella varietals from Marano di Valpolicella—Corvina and Corvinone, Rondinella, Croatina, and Molinara. After harvest in autumn select grapes are chosen to make Amarone and Recioto through the “appassimento” method whereby the fruit is dried in wooden racks for nearly 100 days. The remaining fruit is immediately pressed and put through an initial fermentation to make Valpolicella Classico. In the February timeframe, the semi-dried grapes are then pressed and fermented with their skins to produce Amarone and Recioto. The skins are removed prior to placing the wine into wooden barrels for aging.
Get ready! This is where it gets interesting. The skins (lees) from the Amarone are reintroduced to the Valpolicella, and the wine undergoes a second fermentation, hence the term Ripasso, which means to “review” or “pass again”. The result is sweet cherry flavors of the Valpolicella with the firmness and complexity of the Amarone. You can see why this wine is sometimes referred to as a "baby Amarone".
While the exact origin of the ripasso style of winemaking is unclear, I have found references that date this "appassimento" method (drying grapes prior to pressing) back to ancient Greek and Roman times. What is clear is that this style of winemaking produces a truly unique and complex wine unlike any other.
Our Valpolicella producer, Fabio Corsi, has crafted an amazing Ripasso. I tasted it for the first time in Fabio’s cellar in Valgatara. My son, Tony, was along for this search; and on this day we were previewing all five of Fabio’s wines. In full disclosure, we had just toured his ancient, 16th century underground stone cellar where I imagined all the great wines aging over the centuries.
Ok, this may have influenced my tasting experience. After all, context makes a big difference when experiencing wine. We had started with Fabio’s Valpolicella Classico. It was just that—classic, with great cherry flavors balanced with soft, barely noticeable tannins Next, we moved to the Ripasso; and the moment Fabio poured it in my glass, the color grabbed my attention. Tony and I swirled, sipped, and swallowed at about the same time. We turned and looked at each other; and without uttering a sound, our eyes said it best, “We must have this wine!” My next thoughts went right to the Amarone. If the Ripasso was this fabulous, then the parent Amarone must be….! Let me give you a preview. It didn’t disappoint, but I will save that for another post.
Nestled between the villages of Saccol, Santo Stefano and San Pietro di Barbozza in Valdobbianene County, lies 106 hectares (260 acres) of the steepest hillside Prosecco (Glera) vineyards. Over 100 different families own and manage this vineyard known as the Cartizze, and the sparkling Prosecco that is produced from these prestigious vines is commonly referred to as the Grand Cru of Prosecco. The steep grade, unique soil, and ideal exposure produce Glera grapes of exceptional quality but limited quanity; consequently, a Cartizze will typically command a price 2-3 times that of another DOCG Prosecco. Cartizze Prosecco is known for its floral nose and hints of pear, apple, and apricot in the finish. Its characteristics make it a perfect aperitif before a meal or with sweet desserts at the end of a meal.
We are very proud to be the exclusive importer and distributor of Paolo Zucchetto Cartizze in the U.S. Winemaker Carlo Zucchetto has created an exceptional cru from the 2012 fruit that was harvested on September 15, 2012, and released on February 15, 2013. It is extremely well balanced; and the finish? Well, "simply elegant." We hope you enjoy!
We knew it was a matter of time before the world discovered the wines of Fabio Corsi. His passion for his craft was apparent the moment we met him at his cantina in Valgatara. Congratulations to the entire Corsi family for being selected by "AIS VENETO" (Association of Italian Sommeliers) as one of the 100 of best wineries in Veneto region. The wines evaluated by AIS were the Amarone CampoRocco, Recioto CampoGerico and "El Nane". Fabio crafted "El Nane" in loving memory of his grandfather who cultivated and cared for the vines. Congratulations Fabio! El Nane would be very proud!
Land and Family -
As we travel the backroads of Italy's wine regions and meet the winemakers of the classic, ancient Italian varietal wines, we are deeply touched by their commitment to their land and their families. It is clear to us that it is not just about the wine, but also the land (la terra) and the family (la famiglia). Our mission is to bring you exceptional Italian wines, and connect you to the winemakers, their wines, their lands, and their families. Explore "Our Producers" and watch a video interview with the winemaker. Meet the families that have been growing and producing for generations, and read about their family histories.
Enjoy Wines of the Veneto Region -
Coming Soon- Wines of the Barolo! -
We are very excited to have our first wines on their way to Northern California. The wines are being loaded on the container ship, SCT Zurich, as I write this article; and the ship will depart the Port of Livorno, Italy, on February 28th. The SCT Zurich is expected to arrive in New York on March 17th. After clearing customs, the wine will be transported by refrigerated truck to our warehouse in Santa Rosa. We are looking forward to celebrating the arrival of our first shipment!
Eight wines from two producers in the Veneto are included in this shipment. We are excited to offer you three different Prosecco wines from Paolo Zucchetto--a Brut, an Extra Dry, and the famed Cartizze. We are also very excited to introduce for the first time in the US, five Valpolicella wines from winemaker Fabio Corsi at LeMarognole--Valpolicella Classico, Ripasso, Amarone, Recioto, and the "El Nane" Rosso Verona. These are fabulously rich and complex Valpolicella wines! Click on "Our Wines" at the top navigation bar to read about each wine.
Since we focus on small producers, this shipment will consist of very limited quantities.