Almadi is a great example of the wonderful but "undiscovered" wines that are produced regionally in every wine producing area around Europe. Located in the Verona area west of Venice, they are an artisanal producer of Amarone, Valpolicella Ripasso, Corvina, and Garganega sourced from family-owned vineyards that have been farmed for over 100 years. The deep rich flavors of their wines are from the very mineral rich soils in the Lake Garda area.
Using exclusively their own estate grown fruit, their annual production will always be limited. As such, they have the opportunity to make the best wines possible every year. I was very impressed when tasting these wines as although each of their wines are attractively priced, the overall quality of their wines and very interesting flavor profiles make the wines great values as well relative to typical wines that are exported from the same region.
You are introduced to enticing aromas of rich old roses, hibiscus, and dark cherries. The aromatic profile produces interesting flavor perceptions of enjoying a refreshing mix of fresh flowers in place of more prominent "fruit" flavors but there are also interesting hints of blueberry, blackberry, and vanilla.
The refreshing mix of subtle flavors is then perfectly complemented by sweet and perfectly balanced tannins along with some interesting port like hints. This is also perfectly balanced across the palate along with a rich and full-bodied mouthfeel and a memorable finish. The overall combination of all these elements is a very sophisticated and sexy wine that would be delightful for just sipping or with the food pairings described below.
Food pairings would include Filet Mignon, New York Steak, Roast Beet, short ribs, Lamb Chops, leg of Lamb, Duck, Venison, Elk, Veal Chops, beef stew, sausages, charcuterie, rich pasta sauces, lasagna, and a delightful accompaniment to chocolate desserts.
The Corvina, Rondinella, and Molinara grapes in the blend are from terraced vineyards on south facing slopes in the Valpolicella area to the north and east of Verona. The vines are trained using the traditional pergola Veronese system. Vinification starts with drying the very carefully selected grapes under controlled conditions for three months until they lose up to 40 percent of their weight. After crushing, a long slow fermentation takes place in stainless steel vats. Part of the wine is refined for 15 months in 225 liter oak barrels. The wine is then aged in large oak vats for around two years before being bottled. The impressive structure of this wine will allow it to age well for at least ten to 12 years.
Valpolicella Ripasso 2018
Aromas include dark plums, dark cherries, ripe strawberries, ripe raspberries, dark chocolate, cocoa, and blackberries. Flavors include nectarines, ripe peaches, strawberries, blackberries, and dark chocolate. There is an elegant and perfectly balanced medium body, good acidity, and a precise and full finish with complementary tannins.
Food pairings would include Filet Mignon, NY Steak, Roast Beef, beef stew, grilled sirloin, rack of lamb, lamb chops, leg of lamb, veal chops, roast pork, pork shoulder, elk, swordfish, grilled shrimp, pasta with meat sauce, lasagna, pasta with tomato sauce, charcuterie, and soft, medium cheeses and blue cheeses (try Cambazola!).
Vinification starts with the new vintage of Valpolicella Superiore wine which then in March following the harvest, is macerated with the skins remaining from the production of Amarone. This is done according to the ancient Veronese technique of "ripasso" which increases the alcohol and enriches the structure of the Valpolicella. It is then aged 12 months in oak barrels to develop further its characteristics. The wine then benefits from a few months of bottle aging before being released. Although drinking beautifully now, aging potential is probably six to eight years.
Corvina Veronese 2018
Aromas include rich old roses, dark plums, dark cherries, rich dark chocolate, and hints of tobacco and wet forest floor. Flavors include blackberries, boysenberries, blueberries, and dark plums. There is a medium body but with a feeling of more “weight” on the finish, good balance and acidity, a hint of tannins, and satisfying saturated finish.
Food pairings would include Filet Mignon, Rib Eye, short ribs, beef stew, rack of lamb, lamb chops, roast pork, pork chops, BBQ ribs, grilled chicken, tuna, swordfish, mussels, clams, pasta with mussels or clams, tomato based seafood soups, pasta with meat sauce, lasagna, Asian Beef, Pork, and Chicken stir fry, lamb curries, Mexican beef or pork dishes, cassoulet, paella, jambalaya, charcuterie, rich, mild, and medium cheeses.
Vinification starts with traditional maceration on the skins after light drying of the grapes in boxes. To accentuate the fruity aromas, fermentation temperatures do not exceed 75 degrees. Initial fermentation is immediately followed by malolactic fermentation in order to provide this wine's soft, silky, and smooth mouthfeel.
Garganega Veronese 2017
The mineral rich soils around Lake Garda result in this being a very enjoyable and refreshing Garganega. Aromas of white flowers and Meyer lemon evolve into flavors of peaches and green apples. The wine's medium mouthfeel feels smooth and satiny across the palate along with a crisp and refreshing finish.
Although perfect as an aperitif, there are also many food pairings which include crab, scallops, lobster bisque, pasta alfredo, fresh anchovies, roast chicken, veal and pork cutlets, Thai food, yellow curries, vegetable stir frys, Chinese chicken salad, eggplant, and hors d'oeuvres.
Vinification uses carefully selected grapes harvested by hand in September. Soft pressing and fermentation follows at controlled temperatures using stainless tanks and modern vinification techniques.