I’m all ears……Recioto

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Recioto Della Valpolicella is a  sweet, unfortified wine from Italy. It was upgraded to  DOCG status with it’s little brother Amarone, in December 2009. The wine  is named after the ‘ears’ of each bunch of grapes i.e. the ripest grapes.‘Rece’ is Italian slang for ears ‘orecchie’.  Until Amarone’s emergence in the 20th century, Recioto represented the greatest of every Valpolicella producer’s range. Even the Romans raved about it.  Recioto is made using the same ‘appassimento’ process as Amarone but the fruit is left to dry for an extra month, so theyn have to select only the best bunches at harvest.  Once pressed, after at least 1st January following the harvest. The juice’s fermentation is stopped early to capture the fresh, sweet primary fruit flavours. Recioto della Valpolicella gets it’s sweetness from this early stopping of the fermentation, as not all the sugar in the grape juice is converted to alcohol, they are typically around 12% with an elegant warm, rich palate.                                                                                                                            

 The wine is then typically matured for 12 months in small French barriques. Recioto della Valpolicella wine isdium-bodied with a beautiful, crushed velvet texture and a palate brimming with vivid, seductive black fruit and chocolate. Not surprisingly, only tiny quantities are made each year – only about 2% of the total production of Amarone.

The wine of love Amarone………..

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Verona is not only home to the world’s most famous Star Crossed Lovers but also some of Italy’s great wines. Wines like Amarone della Valpolicella, or  just plain Amarone, is a rich Italian red wine made from the partially dried grapes. Usually Corvina, Rondinella and Molinara, grapes with names nearly as seductive as the wine itself.  As of December 2009 Amarone was elevated to DOCG status the highest level of Status in Itlay, with only 39 DOCG wines in Itlay it is regarded as one of Italys top wines.

The secret to amarone is that it is a dry wine which has sweet port-like flavours on the palate. This is achieved through the drying of grapes on straw mats called appassimento or rasinate (to dry and shrivel) in Italian. This concentrates the remaining sugars and flavours of the grapes and the resulting wines.

The final result is a very ripe, raisiny, full-bodied wine with very little acid. Alcohol content easily surpasses 15% (the legal minimum is 14% to be called Amarone).

Barbera-ella

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I know a terrible title, luckily the grape Barbera isn’t as . Barbera was once the poor cousin in its home region of Piedmonte. All the good real estate was given to Nebbiolo, the grape of the great wines Barolo and Barbaresco, and poor barbera was the poorer cousin used mostly if secretly to give greater colour and depth to the Nebbiolo wines mentioned above but all this changed in the 1970s. Maybe it was the timely realise of the film mentioned in the title of this post or maybe it was just an attempt of rebellion for what ever reason barbera got it’s chance.

Some wine-makers and growers began to think what is we planted barbera on the prime real estate, what if we gavve it a kiss of new French oak. Well since the 70s we’ve seen their dream realised. The lightest versions are generally known for flavors and aromas of fresh fruit and dried fruits, and are best drunk young. But the wines with better balance between acidity and fruit, often with the addition of oak; thus giving them complex flavours

Is it a bird, is it a plane no its a Giant Chair

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Friuli is somewhat of an anomaly in Italy located in the far north-east of the country it is heavily influenced by Both Austria and Slovenia. This neat little corner of Italy hides a secret though, and no it’s not the worlds largest chair although they claim to have that too! And a mighty chair it is too, created to honour the fact that this area of Italy produced many a chair, now they have turned their attentions to wine.

And it has emerged as one of the best white producing regions in Europe. They do a mean Pinot Grigio up here, crisp with nice crunchy acidity and lovely mineraly citrus flavours, not to mention their Sauvignon which at its best is more than a match for the french classics from  the Loire. Their reds as well are not to be shirked at. But it is Friuliano the local white grape that is their real secret, original called Tocai Friuliano, the EU have made them drop the Tocai to avoid confusion with the Hungarian Sweet wine, Tokay. Friuliano is a crisp white wine with a medium bodied palate and wonderful pear and citrus flavours. It is works well served with fish and seafood but we reckon it really shows its colours when eaten with prosciutto or any salty cuts of ham. 

Italian Wine

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What is it that sets Italy apart from the rest of the wine world? The sheer variety of grape styles cultivated in the country. Estimates have it that there are over 2000 indigenous varieties (native grapes) spread throughout its regions. Each of Italy’s 20 regions has its own unique tapestry of soils and micro- climates: from the cool areas in the northeast such as Alto Adige and Friuli to the warm, sunny zones of the south such as Campania and Puglia. Italian winemakers have recognized the traditional essence of their offering and adopted where beneficial modern approaches to enhance the quality of the finished product. For our 3rd Annual Great Italian Wine Festival, we have added a number of new wines of which we will write about in greater detail over the coming weeks.