Saturday, June 16, 2012

Pass Me The Ripasso Per Favore

I remember that I first ran across tonight's wine at the Vancouver Playhouse International Wine Festival a few years ago. I saw the label and, at first, mistook it for a Barolo. I quickly learned that the name might be missing an "a," but it certainly wasn't missing anything in taste.

1173. 2005 Masi - Brolo di Campofiorin (Rosso del Veronese IGT - Italy)

I was advised that the name "Brolo" has nothing to do with the Barolo wines of Piedmont. Rather, "Brolo" is apparently an Italian equivalent of the French "clos" or enclosed - walled - vineyard. The winery decided to name the wine thus to differentiate it from their "standard" Campofiorin wine and identify it as a slightly premium version.

The wine is made of mostly Corvina (around 75%) and is supported by Rondinella - two of the traditional grapes used in making Amarone. The production of this wine also sees the use of the ripasso method that Masi helped pioneer where a young and already vinified wine is repassed over the skins of grapes that have been partially dried and used to make Amarone wines. That repassing creates a second fermentation of the wine and adds a more complex flavour and structure to the wine. Indeed, ripasso wines are generally marketed as wines bridging the gap between Valpolicellas and Amarones.

And, as I've written before, I'm always on the lookout for a good ripasso. This is one of them. The fact that it comes in around half the price of an Amarone in our market doesn't hurt either. I think I picked up this bottle for $25 with its introduction to Vancouver, but I see that the current vintage now goes for $30 at government stores. It's big, with lots of dark fruit and some spice and I'd definitely reach for it again for an occasion where $30 isn't out of line.

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