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 2016
Aromas of plums and old roses evolve into flavors of dark cherries, pomegranate, blackberries, rhubarb, and cranberry. There is a very pleasant medium to full mouthfeel that is balanced across the palate along with interesting accents from the wine's rich and sweet tannins.
Food pairings are quite versatile and would include veal, grilled chicken, New York Steak, Filet Mignon, leg of Lamb, pork shoulder, sausages, rich pasta sauces, and grilled vegetables.
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 2016
This is a delightful Corvina with very striking fresh fruit flavors. Aromas of plums, cherries, and violets introduce the wine before progressing to flavors of cherries, mild raspberries, and hints of chocolate. The wine's medium mouthfeel has an even more elegant feeling as it is very smooth, silky, and perfectly balanced across the palate.
Although just delightful and refreshing to sip on, there are many food pairings which would include veal, grilled chicken, beef stew, Asian beef and pork dishes, both creamy and spicy curries, charcuterie, sausages, pate, pizza, a wide variety of salads, quiche, sautéed mushrooms, and a wide variety of cheeses including fontina, provolone, and gorgonzola.
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.