A wine assumes a special significance when it is accompanied by a story. At a wine dinner held last a few days back at Chez Nini by the Delhi Wine Club , the Export Manager of Cesari Wines, Joao Carlos Vale , explained to the members about one of the wines served ,the Cesari 2009 DOC Mara Valpolicella Superiore Ripasso , which a lot of us were probably tasting for the first time. This is a red wine which is produced near the city of Verona, in the Veneto region of Italy.
Ripasso is not as well known as the more famous Amarone from the Valpolicella region. It uses the same combination of grape varieties from the Valpolicella zone, the Corniva , Rondinella and the Molinara and has similar aromas, though it was a little less full bodied and flavorful than the 2008 Amarone della Valpolicella Classico, which was the other wine that we tasted.
Since most of us were not familiar with the “Ripasso” method, Signor Vale explained to us that the term means ” repassed” which is a production process whereby a regular fermented Valpolicella is added to a cask containing the skins and lees left over from fermented Amarone wines. So technically, the wine undergoes a second fermentation. This process of “repassing” the “lighter” Valpolicella over the “bigger” Amarone imparts colour, texture and flavour and also boosts the tannins and the alcohol content in the wine. It is for this reason that these wines are often referred to as “baby Amarones”.
I found it to be an elegant wine with aromas of ripe cherries, blackfruit, spice, coffee, wood and earth on the nose. On the palate it was dry, medium to full bodied, a very pronounced cherry, fig and espresso and olive flavours. It had a smooth feel and a warm finish. Would recommend it to those who like to try out something a little different and less familiar.
– Lavina Kharkwal