I resolved to venture off familiar wine paths more in 2007 (a lot of self-sacrifice involved with this resolution). Italy is certainly an abundant source of interesting wines to try—there’s a lot more than Chianti and Pinot Grigio!
I was making a Calabrian-style lamb chops, so decided to go to the opposite corner of Italy for the matching wine. The 2003 Solane Santi Valpolicella is an interesting bottle from the area near Venice and served as a good match for our meal. Like most Valpolicellas, this bottle blends Corvina, Rondinalla, and Molinara grapes—none of which I heard of before researching this wine (see, resolutions can be followed!).
This bottle uses a technique called Ripasso, which enriches the structure of the wine through its refermentation on the residual pomace of the dried grapes used for the production of Amarone. If like me you know more about wines from California than Chianti, you might not know that Amarone isa red wine that tends to be sweet because it’s made with semi-dried grapes.
OK, enough context, on to the taste! This deep red wine has an earthy bouquet and hints of vanilla. It has a big berry taste along with tones of the vanilla. A smooth drinking wine with some complexity, probably due to the unique wine-making process.
For $14 a bottle, you’re not going to find too many better wines from California. I’ll get more of this, and keep exploring Italy!