Winery of the Month
For October we will stay on the east coast but head North to Valpolicella. Here we come across a family that has changed the wine making for an entire region. The Allegrini family has been involved with wine since the 16th century, but their fame stems from loss. In 1983, the Patriarch of the Family, Giovanni, passed. At this point the winery was small only producing less than 10,000 barrels a year. With no clear direction the siblings Marilisa, Walter, and Franco took the reins. On a sales trip to America, Marilisa realized that the style of Amarone they sold was unpopular and needed a facelift. To accomplish this the siblings worked together and changed the way the wines were made. They realized that the main complaint with Amarone of the time was oxidation and a surprising culprit was found, Botrytis. This fungus is desirable in desert wine production but not for dry reds. They began by hand sorting the grapes and then realized that it could be on the stems and the traditional Bamboo drying mats. The brothers were able to switch to a cleaner plastic drying crate and built a state of the art drying warehouse. In this warehouse, everything is controlled from temperature and humidity to air flow. The facility has been so successful that several other wineries now use it as well.
The Allegrini family were also pioneers of Ripasso wines. In this method, the left-over skins and seeds from the Amarone are added to a base Valpolicella to start a second fermentation. The resulting wine is in between a basic Valpolicella and an Amarone. Today, the Allegrinis have extended their reach with two properties in Tuscany as well as a second label consisting of wines made with bought fruit. As the 7th generation prepares to take control, the family and their wines continue to show the quality that has garnered them such fame. It is rare in the wine business that you can find wines from a winery that truly built a region or wine style that have remained affordable.
This is the basic table wine of Veneto. The wine is full of bright ripe red berries and light touches of herbs and pepper. This is a great wine for anti-pasta, light pasta dishes, and white meats. It is also great in the summer with fish. This “basic” wine is anything but.
Regularly $19.99 Sale $14.99
Allegrini Palazzo della Torre
Here we have a Ripasso wine done with a slight twist. Most of the wine is made like a regular Valpolicella but a small portion of the grapes are held back and dried. After the drying is finished the juice is added back into the finished wine and a secondary fermentation takes place. The resulting wine is rich with a combination of red fruit and plums. Light baking spice notes add depth to the light vanilla and hints of cedar. Great with rich dishes like Risotto.
Regularly $23.99 Sale $17.99
This comes from a special vineyard that was purchased just before Giovanni passed. The vineyard is planted on the top of a hill with a south-east exposure. The resultant wine is dense with plum and black berry flavors. Secondary flavors of herbs and baking spice with lightly grippy tannins make this a big wine. Serve with rich heavy meats.
Regularly $35.99 Sale $27.99
Here is the wine that led to the more modern approach to Amarone. Bereft of the oxidation and overly rasiny flavors of older style Amarone, this is soft with finesse and yet still maintains the power and weight of Amarone. Black fruit jam, plum, Asian five spice, smoke, bacon this wine is complex and ever evolving. Definitely let it breath for at least 30 minutes before serving.
Regularly $79.99 Sale $59.99