Domenico Fraccaroli "Grotta del Ninfeo" Valpolicella Ripasso 2016

Corvina Blend|Valpolicella, Italy

Today's wine is one of the most unique in the wine world. The style is a ripasso: a wine re-fermented on the skins of Amarone – a bold, powerful wine that regularly fetches hundreds of dollars in the market.

The grapes are a blend of Corvina, Corvinone, Rondinella, and Molinara, traditional local varieties. The oldest vines planted in this vineyard are 35+ years old. The harvests are carried out by hand, and the fresh juice is added to the Amarone skins, pulp, etc. and co-fermented together (the ripasso process), extracting the concentrated, port-like qualities from the Amarone, over a period of four days, before aging again in French oak for over a year, then refined in bottle for eight months before release. All of this work and love for a mere $30 – incredible for such a labor-intensive process.

The nose on this wine is intoxicating and complex. Savory, rich, soft-fruited, and oh so long. One gets cigar box, woodsy spice, cedar, cracked pepper, dried flowers, black raspberry, and brandied cherry. The palate has loads of sweet spice, that Amarone-esque concentration, ripe tannins, and a lip-smacking, plummy, velvety finish. 

With food, go big – pair it alongside something braised or stewed, with some gremolata (a lemon, parsley, garlic condiment typical to this region) and voila: instant, effortless magic.

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