Musky maturity and decadent overtones in a wine that’s sultry, soft and smooth.
Compact ruby colour with garnet reflections, somewhat subdued on the nose with aromas of stewed dark fruits, amarena cherry and chocolate with earthy undertones of moss, forest floor and tabacco, more intense on the palate, soft and mineral with smooth tannins, medium acidity and medium body, well balanced with a spicy finish.
This wine is a bit lighter in body compared to most ripasso wines, but is nonetheless concentrated showing both complexity and intensity making it a versatile pair for pasta dishes, meat courses and aged cheeses. Some examples include pasta Bolognese, roast beef and aged parmesan cheese with fruit compote.
Ripasso is a traditional wine from the Valpolicella region of Veneto in northern Italy, alongside Amarone, Recioto and Valpolicella Classico. It is also known as “Baby Amarone” or “The Poor Man’s Amarone” given the fact that the dried grapes used in the production of Amarone are “Ripassate”, re-passed, in this wine, conferring to it some of the typical aromas and characteristics of Amarone.
Ripasso is, in effect, an elaboration of the easy-drinking Valpolicella Classico. The dried grape skins used in Amarone contain a higher concentration of sugar, colour pigments, tannins and aromas, which give a more compact colour while adding structure and complexity to the original wine. The aromas themselves are more evolved including stewed fruit, dried flowers, and spices.
The result is a concentrated and rich wine that is still round, balanced and ready to drink. So, even though the grapes used for both of these wines are exactly the same, these differences in production create distinct wines of unique character, all without loosing their original identity.
Tenuta Sant’Antonio is a winery run by four brothers from the Castagnedi family. The vineyards were purchased in 1989 and since then the brothers have been focused on creating wines with personality, incorporating both innovation and natural farming techniques.
The winery does not seem to be certified organic yet, but many of their farming practices certainly seem to be pointing that way including the use of vegetable compost, encouraging natural green cover, and the use of insects instead of chemicals to defend the vines.
This wine is a traditional blend of 70% Corvina/Corvinone, 20% Rondinella and 10% Oseleta (a lesser known autochthonous grape of Valpolicella). It is fermented at a low temperature for 8 days with organic yeasts after harvest in October. It then undergoes a second fermentation around December when the grape skins used in the production of Amarone are added to the young wine, followed by malolactic fermentation. It is aged in large oak barrels for 12 months in contact with the grape skins, with regular battonage to ensure a complete extraction of phenolic components. The grape skins are only removed just before the wine is bottled, a particular technique of the winery used with all wines they produce.
Here’s a useful info graphic showing the production of Valpolicella Classico, Ripasso and Amarone, also used by the Tommasi winery, a renowned producer in the Valpolicella region: