A Gorgeous Valpolicella Ripasso.
And a couple to note when dining out.
Musella Valpolicella Ripasso (DOC) Superiore 2017, 14%, O’Briens Wine €24.45
Musella is an organic family-run winery and one of the "13 Amarone Families", a group regarded as the best producers in the Veneto region, in the Northeast of Italy. Musella value their local grapes (grown in the predominantly limestone soil), including those in this blend: Corvina and Corvinone 85%, Rondinella 10% and Barbera 5%.
The colour of the blend is a bright ruby red. And the nose draws you in further with aromas of red fruits and spices. The palate is full of vibrant cherry flavours, smooth for sure, and with the most perfect balance. And it finishes well and long with more fruit (raspberry included now) and some herbal notes plus a gentle touch of tannin on the lips. A very engaging Valpolicella indeed, complex yet quaffable, and Very Highly Recommended.
The concentration here is the result of the Ripasso method. Ripasso (re-passed) wines are made by fermenting young Valpolicella wine with the unpressed but drained skins and lees left over from making Amarone and this process can give the Ripasso a “super-charge”. Read more details about the method here.
Suggested pairings are cold meats/pâtés, Duck, Nutroast, Pheasant/Pigeon, Pizza/Pasta, Rib-Eye Steak, Sirloin/Striploin/Rump steak.
By the way, I was just reading there in Vino Italiano that Valpolicella means “valley of many cellars” (vallis polis cellae). The Modern History of Italian Wine though, says the POL refers to large mounds of sand and gravel left behind after flooding in the local river but goes on to confirm that “this great land of wines has always practiced the characteristic technique of over-ripening and drying the grapes”.
Wine Folly has proposed a hierarchy of Valpolicella blended wines with our Ripasso in the middle. Above it are Recioto Della Valpolicella and Amarone Della Valpolicella while below are plain Valpolicella Superior and Valpolicella Classico. So now you know!
The Veneto (capital: Venice) is one of the 20 Italian regions and has a population of about five million.
Two O’Briens Spotted In The Wild
(Well, in restaurants really!)
Bodega Tandem Casual blanco
I was surprised to find this one on the by-the-glass list (also by the bottle of course) in the Michelin Bib Gourmand Restaurant CUSH in beautiful Ballycotton.
You rarely see Viura as a house white in Irish restaurants. Tandem's gorgeous Casual, with its elegant nose (floral and fennel) and its vibrant, fresh and mineral palate, could change all that. The wine, from Navarra, was superb with the halibut.
They like their Latin in this Spanish winery, even the Tandem is Latin. The wine name here is from the word casualis, accidentally, luckily. It is the only thing accidental about this wine though, a beautifully made Viura from a gorgeous plot. Viura is perhaps best known as the main white grape in Rioja but has obviously crossed into neighbouring Navarra. In the rest of Spain it is known as Macabeu.
It has been fermented in stainless steel with its wild yeasts at 15-16ºC for 32 days and aged on its lees for 4 months at 16ºC. Recommended serving temperature is 12 degrees.
Lagar de Costa Geal Albariño
Geal Albariño is made on an artisanal scale by O’Briens Wine Director Lynne Coyle MW and the family owned Lagar de Costa winery in Rías Baixas, Spain. Most of these vineyards are very small and Lynne told us at a recent Albariño tasting that the Lagar de Costa winery has 11 hectares and is regarded as quite large.
The wine was aged on lees in a single concrete egg for eight months bringing complexity and depth. Geal Albariño is dry, refreshing, and lightly textured with green fruit notes, a hint of white peach and a lingering salinity making it an ideal wine for seafood.
Geal by the way is the Irish and Scottish (Lynne is Scottish) for bright. Most of you will have come across it in school; if you don’t remember, check out the pronunciation here.
In Nell’s, the new wine bar in MacCurtain Street, Cork, we took Aine’s advice and ordered a glass of the Geal and it went well with their lovely Fennel infused Nocellara olives.
It is also perfect with shellfish and seafood. The vineyard is right alongside the Atlantic and the vines grow on granitic soil. So that, and the fact the some of the roots are more or less in the water, may account for the traces of salinity in the Geal.