In the last Vinexpo which took place in Bordeaux, I was lucky to meet Tommasi Family Estates. Of course, it was not just a coincidence that I met this winery, since I’ve already read about them in many magazines and start to be curious about their wines. So, as soon as I arrived to Vinexpo salon, I’ve head to their stand where I met the co-owner, export and marketing director of the winery, Pierangelo Tommasi, who welcomed me, introduced me the wines and the estates.
We can simply say that, Tommasi takes its strength from the family. The company was founded in 1902 and since then they have been producing wine, now it is run by the fourth generation of the family. The wines that I’ve tasted are from Tommasi Viticoltori which is situated in Veneto, in the Valpolicella region, moreover the company has been growing with wineries in 3 other regions in Italy; Lombardy, Tuscany and Puglia.
Before going into details of the wines, I have been also informed about the characteristics of the Valpolicella region. It is situated in the province of Verona. In appellation of Valpolicella, DOC (Denominazione di Origine Controllata), only red wines can be produced, and typically used grape varieties are Corvina Veronese, Rondinella and Molinara. Among this varieties, Corvina has the highest proportion in Valpolicella wines, and it is known with giving acidity and red fruit flavors rather than a dark color.
After this small introduction of the winery and the region, we started the tasting.
The first wine that we tasted called Rafaèl, Valpolicella Classico Superiore, from 2013. The grapes for producing this wine are coming from a single vineyard of the estate in hill. The varieties used are Corvina Veronese in 60%, Rondinella in 25% and Molinara in 15%. The aging of this wine is made in Slavonian oak barrels of 65 hectoliters for 1 year. It has 12.5 % alcohol. It was vivid in nose like a garden full of red fruits, also complex with spicy notes. In mouth it was fresh and balanced which makes it easy to drink along with its soft tannins.
The second wine that I’ve tasted was Ripasso 2013. Mr. Tommasi told me how this wine is made after the tasting of Amarone, since they are produced consequently, so I will do the same. Ripasso has 13% alcohol. As I taste it, I was surprised by the complexity of aromas that I’ve found in my glass, both in nose and mouth. Really pleasant and round in the mouth.
Finally, I tasted Amarone, which is a special and traditional wine made from dried grapes. The wine is called Amarone Riserva, Ca’ Florian, from 2008. For producing this wine, the grapes are dried in big trays for approximately 100 days until they lose 50% of their water, in this stage the place is ventilated naturally with cool breezes. So unlike the normal winemaking schedule of north hemisphere, for this wine the fermentation finally starts in January. It is aged for 4 years Slavonian oak casks, which is followed by a year of aging in bottle before being ready for the market. As I tastes, it left a real pleasure in the nose with its complex and intense aromas which resembles to the drying process, full of dried figs, raisins and cacao. In the mouth it was full-bodied and long. Although it has 15% alcohol, it doesn’t show it with its elegancy. With all the characteristics it has, it deserves respect and an empty space in our glasses. As far as I read, this wine is recommended with heavy roasted meats or ripe cheeses, which I will definitely try this combination soon.
So, going back to Ripasso, since it means ”re-passing”, the process starts after the fermentation of Amarone. The dried grape skins which are left from Amarone (still full of sugar and aromas) are mixed with Valpolicella wine and left to ferment for the second time. Thanks to this method, a structured and round wine which is suitable for aging is obtained.
All in all, this process are traditional and suitable for the climate of this region and shows the characteristics of the area in a really natural and strong way. For this reason, I enjoyed a lot this visit to Tommasi stand. I also appreciate a lot the importance they gave to being a family and representing their homeland. I believe that the wines which are produced with these values are taste even better since they are produced with reliance and love. I strongly recommend a bottle of Amarone, especially in upcoming season of autumn to share it along with warm conversations.
All images © 2015 by Neslihan IVIT. All rights reserved.