Valpanera

I enjoy exploring the different flavor profiles of indigenous regional grape varieties and native to the Friuli-Venezia Giulia region is the red grape Refosco.  I had once tried a glass of Refosco in a wine bar in San Francisco and thought it was interesting with having some similarity to Cabernet Franc but with some hints of cocoa and chocolate.

 

Azienda Agricola Valpanera is primarily focused on making world class wines from Refosco but they also produce a lot of other well made wines as well.  A delightful surprise from its growing region is that very refreshing, mineral driven, and very well balanced wines can be produced from many different varietals.  As such, I've selected of variety of "every day" wines from Valpanera in addition to an initial selection of one of their Refosco wines.

Valpanera's vineyards are situated on alluvial clay and sandy soil which produce the pronounced fruit qualities in their wines.  Guyot, the cultivation method of its vines, has one annually renewable cane faced to the sun in order to fully benefit from its warm sunlight rays.  Being a family-run business, family members personally oversee every aspect of the
management and the winemaking production, from the vineyard through vinification and aging and then finally to bottling.
Their combination of innovation and tradition focuses on producing the highest quality wines.  Their Innovative techniques but which are grounded with their local knowledge of their growing region result in both delightful wines and in respecting their environment and their heritage.

Refosco grape clusters

Vineyards close to harvest

Valpanera's modern vinification equipment

Barrel tasting before blending

The Wines

Valpanera produces its wines under both the Valpanera brand for its aging worthy wines and using the Ca' del Borgo brand for its more casual everyday drinking wines.  My initial selection from Valpanera includes two wines from the Valpanera brand and four wines from the Ca' del Borgo brand.

Valpanera Refosco Dal Peduncolo Rosso 2015

Aromas of old rose, plums, blackberry, raspberry, and brushwood evolve into flavors of cherries, plums, and a hint of cinnamon.  The medium mouthfeel is very well balanced across the palate and the smooth tannins complement the flavors.  Food pairings would include Filet Mignon, NY Steak, grilled pork chops, lamb, swordfish, salmon, red snapper, charcuterie, and rich cheeses.

Vinification is with destemmed grapes being fermented for eight days with skin contact at a controlled temperature. The separation of the skins takes place with soft pressing.  Decanted several times, the wine matures in stainless steel tanks between one to two years until there is perfect harmony between its tannins and flavor components.  Aging potential is five to six years.

Valpanera Bianco di Valpanera "Le Tre Uve" 2016 (60% Chardonnay, 30% Sauvignon Blanc, 10% Verduzco)

Aromas of white flowers along with hints of grapefruit, pear, and honey introduce flavors of apricot, refreshing minerality, and a hint of saline similar to a Chablis.  The medium mouthfeel is balanced across the palate but with the perception of a more full finish.  Food pairings would include shrimp, crab, trout, pork and veal cutlets, pork tenderloin, chicken, creamy pasta dishes, sautéed mushrooms, spicy Indian cuisine, light appetizers, mild charcuterie, and mild cheeses.

Vinification starts  with immediate destemming and crushing of the grapes.  Crushed grapes are stored at 41 degrees for maceration to extract the primary aromas and obtain more structure.  Skins are removed the next day through soft pressing the must.  The wine is then racked followed by fermentation in stainless steel tanks at a controlled temperature of 60 degrees. 

Ca' del Borgo Chardonnay

Aromas of mild white flowers, apples, breadcrust, vanilla, and hints of lemon evolve into flavors of apricot and nectarine accompanied by a delightful freshness.  Medium mouthfeel is balanced across the palate and is perfect for food pairings such as risotto, sole, swordfish, shrimp, scallops, many types of salads (green, seafood, pasta), light appetizers, mild cheese, or just as delightful aperitif.

 

Vinification starts  with immediate destemming and crushing of the grapes.  Crushed grapes are stored at 41 degrees for maceration to extract the primary aromas and obtain more structure.  Skins are removed the next day through soft pressing the must.  The wine is then racked followed by fermentation in stainless steel tanks at a controlled temperature of 60 degrees. 

Ca' del Borgo "Ideale" Rosato (100% Refosco)

This is a very interesting rose with it being made completely from Refosco.  Aromas of strawberry, cherries, and watermelon progress into flavors of rich cherries, strawberries, raspberries, elderberries, and a hint of rhubarb.  Its medium to full mouthfeel is balanced across the palate along with invigorating freshness.  Food pairings are diverse from the richness of the Refosco fruit and would include salmon, crab, shrimp, grilled chicken, BBQ ribs, pork shoulder, charcuterie, Indian curries and Tandoori, salads with a balsamic vinegar dressing, sautéed mushrooms, pasta with a light tomato sauce, risotto, bruschetta, and appetizers.

 

Vinification starts with grapes being immediately pressed and destemmed.  As soon as yeasts become active, part of the must and wine is collected from the lower part of the fermentation tank.  This part of the wine will end fermentation without any skin contact and when re-blended will result in the intense rose color of this wine with its bright reflections. 

 

Ca' del Borgo Cuvee Extra-Dry Spumante (50% Glera, 50% Chardonnay)

This is a very pleasant and refreshing sparking wine with more depth than a typical Prosecco.  It has lively fresh aromas of apples along with hints of breadcrust and yeast.  Flavors include ripe apples, peaches, and nectarines along with hints of fresh baked bread.  It is very well balanced across the palate and finishes with a refreshing dose of minerality.  Food pairings would include sole, crab, shrimp, branzino, steamed clams, fried anchovies, risotto, cream soups, lobster bisque, fish chowders, vegetable casseroles, and salads.

Vinification includes the first fermentation at a controlled temperature of 60 degrees.  Refermentation then follows the Charmat method.

Ca' del Borgo Cuvee Extra-Dry Rose Spumante

This is an elegant, bright, and silky rose sparkling wine with a color resembling peach blossoms.  Aromas are of wild strawberries, plums, cherries, and raspberries along with hints of citrus fruits.  Flavors are of strawberries, ripe watermelon, and cherries.  There is a velvety smooth mouthfeel, very harmonious balance, and a long fruity finish.  Pairings would range from an aperitif before dinner, through courses such as light appetizers and seafood dishes, and extending into fruit based desserts.

 

Vinification starts with grapes being destemmed and gently crushed followed  by 12 hours of maceration on the skins.  After a first racking, grapes undergo a soft pressing.  The first fermentation occurs at a controlled temperature of 60 degrees.  Refermentation uses the Charmat method for a period of at least 90 days.

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