Valpolicella is a wine region 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 these varieties, Corvina has the highest proportion in Valpolicella wines, and it’s known for giving acidity and red fruit flavors rather than a dark color.
Tommasi Family Estates is a winery that 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. Tommasi Viticoltori is situated in Veneto, in the Valpolicella region, moreover the company has been growing with wineries in three other regions in Italy, in Lombardy, Tuscany and Puglia.
Vinexpo, one of the most important wine trade shows, took place in Bordeaux this year. During this exposition, I had the chance to meet the export and marketing director of the winery, Pierangelo Tommasi. He introduced me to the winery and the wines. Three wines that I tasted stood out for me.
1) Rafaèl, Valpolicella Classico Superiore, 2013: The grapes for producing this wine are coming from a single vineyard of the estate in the 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’s vivid in the nose like a garden full of red fruits, also complex with spicy notes. On the palate, it’s fresh, balanced and easy to drink with its soft tannins.
2) Amarone Riserva, Ca’ Florian, 2008: Amarone is a special and traditional wine made from dried grapes. To produce 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. Unlike the usual winemaking schedule of the northern hemisphere, the fermentation of this wine starts in January. It’s aged for 4 years in Slavonian oak casks, which is followed by a year of aging in bottles before being ready for the market. It has a real pleasure in the nose with its complex and intense aromas which resembles the drying process, full of dried figs, raisins, and cacao. In the mouth it’s full-bodied and long. Although it has 15% alcohol, it doesn’t show it with its elegance. With all the characteristics it has, it deserves respect and an empty space in our glasses.
3) Ripasso 2013: Ripasso means ”re-passing”, as the winemaking process for this wine starts after the fermentation of Amarone. The dried grape skins left from Amarone are still full of sugar and aromas. These are mixed with Valpolicella wine and left to ferment for the second time. Thanks to this method, a structured and round wine suitable for aging is obtained. This wine has 13% alcohol. The complexity of aromas found in the nose and palate are impressive.
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 All in all, this traditional method of winemaking is suitable for the climate of Valpolicella and helps to showcase the characteristics of the area in a natural and strong way. In this context, the Tommasi family represents their homeland at its best, with reliance and passion.