Tuesday, June 24, 2014

The Azzurri Have Been Ripassed Over For the Playoff Rounds

I figure I'd best fit another soccer themed wine in as I'm not sure how much time I'll be able to spend on the World Cup once our visiting Aussies arrive tomorrow. Merlot Boy may be a sports fanatic but I think his tastes gravitate more to Aussie Rules footy, swimming and tennis. You know, sports that Australians can generally beat Canadians at on the field. Plus, I have a feeling he and Margarita will be  more inclined to tour our fair city than to sit around watching soccer.

Whether Merlot Boy wants to watch the World Cup or not, we won't be watching the Italians play anymore. The Azzurri lost 1-0 to Uruguay today and are now out of this World Cup. There were no celebrations today on Vancouver's Commercial Drive. Like us, Little Italy will have to drown its sorrows in wine.

Since this was the last Italian appearance in Brazil, I grabbed an Italian wine. That and the fact that I don't exactly have a large array of Uruguayan wines at my fingertips.

1644.  2011 Cantina di Negrar - Le Roselle Ripasso Classico Superiore (Valpolicella D.O.C. - Italy)

Just as Canada is always on the look out for a World Cup bound men's soccer team (the women do us quite proud thank you very much), I'm always on the look out for a nice Ripasso wine. I haven't seen this particular Ripasso before but I've since found out that Cantina di Negrar is a label range that is advertised as the "soul" of Cantina Valpolicella Negrar, a co-operative near Verona that has been producing wine since 1933. The co-operative consists of 230 members and their collective vineyards cover 600 hectares of diverse landscape in the Valpolicella region.

Since I've previously written about the wine style in the blog, I'll just briefly repeat that Ripasso wines are Valpolicella wines that have been "repassed" over the skins and spent yeasts from the region's bigger, more premium Amarone wines. The additional step adds some extra body and flavour profiles to the standard Valpolicella wines. I quite like the additional effort because - as much as I love them - we rarely shell out for the more expensive Amarones. On the other hand, I find most of the Valpolicellas in our market to be a bit light and nondescript for my tastes.

The Le Roselle Ripasso uses both the traditional Corvina and Rondinella grapes in its blend but the wine also contains 15% Corvinone. I don't have any recollection of that grape and I immediately thought it might just be another name for Corvina but Jancis Robinson (and crew), in their tome Wine Grapes, includes Corvinone as a distinct, although somewhat rare, variety of its own. Traditionally used for blending in Valpolicella, Amarone and Recioto, it would be rare to find Corvinone made into a varietal wine but, all the same, I've got me another grape to add to my Wine Century Club tally.

I believe this addition takes me to #173. Slowly, but surely, I'm making my way to that magical #200 grape when I can apply for my Doppel membership with the Wine Century Club.

While this wasn't most intense Ripasso I've had, it acquitted itself quite nicely in the glass. I'm thinking that this Italian wine collective faired a tad better than the soccer collective did on the pitch today.

Next up....Aussies in the House.

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