Posted by: tomciocco | April 5, 2011

VALPOLICELLA – THE VALLEY OF MANY CELLARS INDEED

There is almost no crack in the Italian boot where the vine is absent, and likewise there are also places along the same stretch of the Alps to the Mediterranean that seem to be true pulsepoints of viticulture, and Valpolicella is one of them. Just drawing a few lines in the name, and a rudimentary acquaintance with Latin gives us “Valley of many cellars”  and indeed for over 2000 years, this sweet, warm landscape has been covered with vines – probably better than a score of cultivars that are with us today, a few of which are unique to this region.

The past is storied and the future for this region continues to brighten, but here, today, right now, among the many fine producers, there are unfortunately a few too many plonk pumpers, turning out rivers of dull, innocuous wine that flood the market, and diminish the reputation of one of Italy’s greatest and stylistically most varied wine regions.

Monte dall’ Ora is definitely one of the good guys. This wine, and I believe all of their wines, are made from organic grapes grown in their own vineyards, and are fermented naturally and spontaneously with wild, ambient yeasts. This particular blend (the “intro. level” bottling) is made from a decidedly traditional grape blend of 40% Corvina, 30% Corvinone, 20% Rondinella, and the remaining 10% a combination of Molinara and Oseleta, vinified competely in stainless steel.

Light but sassy-styled Valpolicellas this one are great with simple, rustic food, and we were due, so I made pizza – with melted leeks. Stop.

Monte dall’Ora Valpolicella Classico “Saseti” 2009

Lovely just transparent dark ruby color. Penetrating, somewhat austere nose of cherry, wild berries, spice, grape jam, dried leaves, and “seaside” notes. The is body is lean, spunky and rustic, but nonetheless very well blanced and cohesive. The wine is well structured with honed tannins and a tart acidity and crunchy strawberry and raspberry fruit. Finishes with nice complexity and flaors of mushrooms and savory spices. An elegantly simple and honest wine. 

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