Hall Pass

So… Bardolino Corvina is a bit “green”, “acidic”, or “harsh” for you? And Amarone is a bit “chubby”, “rich”, and “ripe” for you? Get to know Ripasso. This is the best of both worlds: a little bit of Amarone density, a little bit of oak, ALL of that spicy, vibrant Corvina goodness packed inside. And this one from one of my favorite producers in Veneto. This is a big winery, and they often get marks off for that–naievly–as the family has deep roots in the region and are glorious ambassadors for the history of the area, the community, plus have the structure, funding and modernity to make stunning wines. But this is not to say they have traded in classic Northern-Italian textures for New-World Parkerization–quite the contrary. The wines are just flat-out GOOD.

Glear garnet out to a ruddy rim, a nose sweltering in barnyard funk and deep fruit. Muddled cherry and plum reside in a body positively SWOLLEN with warm August pond-water, lazy shade and green grass. Marzipan and Maytag fill the bouquet, distilled down into rough stone and clay-y minerality. The fruit is drrrrty, edged in wet asphalt and woody shrubbery. Everything blends perfectly.

Tasting it christens your tongue with abrasiveness as ripe nuances soak in slowly. How can a wine be so thin and austere and yet so ripe and languishing in near-syrupy decadence? Pinot does this with aplomb, young Bordeaux as well, and this wine mirrors that experience. Ripasso is truly the best of both worlds: combining velvety, tobacco stone-fruit into a wash of light deliciousness impossible to hate. And unlike many classical regions and producers, it doesn’t *sell out* to the California palate with clean-ness and hi-alc concentration. Sharp and astringent–while full-fruited and blanced–this is near-perfection in red wine.

2019 GUERRIERI RIZZARDI ‘Pojega’ Corvina/Corvinone/Rondinella/Merlot 60/20/10/10 Valpolicella Ripasso Classico Superiore DOC Veneto 14.5


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