This wine is closely connected to the greatest wine of Valpolicella: Amarone. After pressing the dried grapes from which Amarone is made, the Valpolicella wine is passed over the still warm marc of Amarone. A second alcoholic fermentation begins which increases the alcoholic content and the wine becomes richer in colour, bouquet. The grapes are de-stemmed and macerated in stainless steel fermenters for 10-12 days. Once the alcoholic fermentation is completed, the new wine is separated from the skins by light pressing and conserved in large oak casks of 54 and 75 hectolitres until February; this is the period in which the dried grapes are pressed to produce Amarone. At this point, the Valpolicella is passed over the marc of the Amarone for a period of 7-8 days at a temperature of 25-28°C. The wine is aged for 18 months in 500 lt. oak casks and barrels.
Colour: deep ruby red. Bouquet: intense, elegant and persistent. Palate: harmonious and velvety, with a good structure.
Ripasso Wines - For Those Who Like Big Reds But Can’t alwAYS Afford Amarone Ripasso is a red wine from the Valpolicella zone located north of Verona in the Veneto region of Italy. Ripasso is generally less well known than Valpolicella and Amarone wines, also from this area, even though it shares some features of both wines. The term “Ripasso” sounds like and in fact means “repassed.” That refers to its production process whereby regular, fermented Valpolicella (which is a blend of three regional native red grape varieties - Corvina, Rondinella and occasionally Molinara) is added to a cask containing the skins and lees left over from fermented Amarone wines. The process of adding (or “repassing”) the lighter Valpolicella wine over the remainders of the “bigger” Amarone wine imparts additional color, texture and flavor to the Valpolicella wine. Also, it induces a second fermentation of the wine that increases the wine’s alcoholic content. The end result is a wine called Ripasso that retains the vibrancy of Valpolicella but is darker in color, bigger and more flavorful and complex than the original Valpolicella. It’s a wine with sufficient stuffing to go with hearty foods such as stews, braised red meats, game and aged cheeses. In 2009, Ripasso della Valpolicella received its own DOC designation. Ripasso wines are sometimes casually referred to as “baby Amarones.” The same combination of grape varieties from the Valpolicella zone used to produce Ripasso are also used to produce Amarone. The two wines also share some of the same aroma and flavor profiles. The two wines are also made with similar but not identical processes, Amarone (known more formally as Amarone della Valpolicella) wines are made with partially dried grapes in a process known as appassimento and then aged in large wooden casks for at least 2 years prior to release. The use of partially dried grapes and the longer ageing process results in wines that are more alcoholic (usually 15 to 16 percent alcohol by volume), full bodied and flavorful than Ripasso-style wines. The rich aroma and flavor notes of Amarones are often compared to those of Port wines. Like Port, they are also long-lived wines and can take many years to reach optimal maturity. Due to their more intensive production process and longer ageing requirements, Amarone wines are considerably more expensive than Ripasso wines. Whereas Ripasso wines generally retail in the $15 to $25 price range, prices of Amarone wines generally run from $50 on up with Amarones from premier producers easily commanding triple-digit prices. Because they are expensive, most real folks - like you and me - store Amarones in basements or wine cellars, reserving them for special occasions. Ripasso-style wines offer a convenient alternative to Amarone wines. Ripasso wines are also rich and full-bodied and share some of the same aroma and flavor profiles as Amarone wines, just less so. Ripasso wines are more approachable and less expensive than Amarones and, as such, can be enjoyed regularly while saving the Amarones for those special occasions. Ripasso wines can be served with a number dishes such as risotto and hearty pasta dishes. But they are at their best when paired with robust dishes involving roasted veal or lamb or braised or barbequed red meats like steak, sausage and game. Ripasso also goes well with aged cheeses like Parmigiano-Reggiano. My recommendation - try it with a porcini mushroom risotto or braised veal shank with herbs.
Tried it at Nino's $52. Let it breathe a few minutes, it really opens up. Will try again.
Last night in Snowmass. Italian smooth red. Ripassa 2010. Zenato.
Very good. Pleasant deep berry flavor. Rate 90 pts
Robert ParkerRating: 89/100 - As reviewed by Robert Parker on 10/07/2013