Jul 8, 2013

Valpolicella Tour: Tedeschi


During my visit to Valpolicella, Italy, this July I made it a priority to visit the Tedeschi estate in San Pietro di Cariano, 15 km from Verona. Tedeschi is family-owned and Sabrina Tedeschi herself met us in the morning and gave a tour in the cellar as well as wine tasting.

Sabrina Tedeschi at the wine cellar at San Pietro di Cariano
The Tedeschi family grew their business to larger export sales in the 1980s. Market reception of their wines has been positive as Tedeschi's wines seem to be very approachable in their youth due to their friendly, moderate tannin structure, and the style being fruit-driven. Only moderate tannin is extracted while at the same time fruit extraction is great. Looking at professional reviewers, most reviewers agree on the fruit-driven style however also praise the depth of the wines, which adds to the tasting experience. And the price-quality ratio seems one of the best in Valpolicella for the lower end of their range of wines.

As most consumers drink their wines young, Tedeschi has found a formula for success. Even their 2008 Amarone was already drinking surprisingly well at its youth, however you should not discount their maturation potential, as the amarones are worth cellaring for 10+ years. Big Slavonian oak is used for the amarones.

A few remarks on the most interesting wines below:

The flagship wine - Monte Olmi Amarone 

Tedeschi’s flagship wine, the Capitel Montel Olmi Amarone, is a single cru wine from grapes grown in a 2.5 ha vineyard on the Pedemonte hill in the heart of Valpolicella which the family purchased in 1918. The vineyard faces south-west and its soil is red clay and limestone. The density of wines is only 3,500 as the vineyard is built on terraces, thus reducing the annual production quantity. Interestingly, the wine is a blend of 9 grapes - 30% Corvina, 30% Corvinone, 30% Rondinella, and the rest 10% comprising Molinara, Rossignola, Oseleta, Negrara, Dindarella, Croatina and Forselina. Similar to the Amarone Classico, grapes are dried for 4 months and in January a slow alcoholic fermentation in temperature controlled tanks follows with temperatures as low as 15 celsius.

Given the low temperatures, the fermentation and maceration processes are very slow. The low temperature used in fermentation and maceration is traditional in amarone wine making, portraying the inside temperature in the winter time in Northern Italy in January/February. Slavonian oak barrels are used for maturation for 2-3 years.

The 2007 Monte Olmi had significantly more backbone from higher tannins and grip than the regular Amarone. It is up to the consumer to judge which style to prefer, however this one is made for longer cellaring and should reward the keeper in the long term. The Monte Olmi is a wine with such density and tannin that you should cellar these wines and drink the other Tedeschi wines in the meanwhile as the estate has a range for both short-term consumption and long-term cellaring.

The regular Amarone 2008

Tedeschi’s regular Amarone della Valpolicella is a good deal indeed for its price. Made of grapes grown on the Mezzane and Tregnano hills, the vines have an average age of 20 years and are planted 5,500 per hectare. The wine is a blend of 7 grapes - 30% Corvina, 30% Corvinone, 30% Rondinella, and the rest 10% comprising Rossignola, Oseleta, Negrara and Dindarella. Grapes are dried for 4 months after the October harvest in a humidity controlled facility, after which they are pressed softly. Alcoholic fermentation and maceration are done in a low 15 celsius temperature. Finally, the wine is aged in Slavonian oak.

2009 Corasco Appasimento Breva

From three different grapes, 70% Corvina (grown in Moraine Hills in Valpolicella), 20% Refosco (grown in Aquileia, Friuli) and 5% Raboso (grown in Oderzo, Treviso). The name of the wine comes from the three grapes used in making it, CORvina, RAbosa and refoSCO.

Made in the appassimento style, grapes were dried for only one month which is one fourth of the duration if making Amarones. During the appasimento process, the grapes lose one third of their weight as they dry, thus leaving a higher concentration of fruit and sugar, giving the otherwise fruity dry young wine a feeling of sweetness in the mouthfeel as well as depth.

Matured 1.5 years in big Slavonian oak. A very round wine with ripe fruit and raspberry, menthol, chocolate and spicy notes dominating. Also white pepper, vanillin and cherries. The addition of Refosco gives the wine a nice personality. Acidity is pleasant. A very good everyday wine. For some 13 euro a great buy. Will develop further, however enjoyable now.

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