30 Second Wine Advisor: Double your pleasure with Ripasso 30 Second Wine Advisor: Double your pleasure with Ripasso

Today's Sponsor

The Saratoga Wine Exchange
The Saratoga Wine Exchange is your source for fine wines online, offering more than 15,000 wines to choose from, including a large selection of Ripasso wines.
The Saratoga Wine Exchange

Double your pleasure with Ripasso

I'm a great fan of the red wines of Valpolicella, a pretty, hilly region not far north of Verona toward the Italian lake country, but I won't try to tell you that the everyday Valpolicella red ranks in the top tier of "serious" wines.

Not that there's any shame in that: Wine would be a pretty serious business if we had to drink "great" wines every day, although I might be able to try it for a while.

But seriously now, folks: Made predominantly if not entirely from the local Corvina grape, Valpolicella doesn't generally profess to be anything more than an everyday table wine, and there's no shame in that. Like Beaujolais and Cotes-du-Rhone in France and dozens of light, simple and refreshing Italian wines, there's a place in life for a refershing quaffing wine that goes well with food and even for sipping without it.

Indeed, so many of Valpolicell's best Corvina grapes go into the full-bodied and strong Amarone and the "Ripasso" that we'll be talking about today, that local wits call the regular Valpolicella "twice-skimmed milk" because the fruit left to make it has been well picked over.

Ripasso sounds like and means "re-passed" because of its unusual double-your-pleasure wine-making process: In the spring, after fermenting over the winter in the usual way, select batches of regular Valpolicella are transferred into casks holding the grapeskins that were left over after its bigger brother Amarone was made.

This process of "re-passing" the lighter wine over the bigger wine's "squeezings" adds body, color and flavor, and kicks off a secondary fermentation that boosts its alcoholic content. The result? A fruity, complex and bigger-bodied red that goes very well with red meat, game or sharp cheeses.

If you're shopping for Valpolicella, take extra care to check the label. If the word "Ripasso" is there, you've got your hands on something completely different from the everyday wine.

Today's Ripasso (see my tasting report below) is one of this month's selections from California Wine Club's International Selections. It comes from Guerrieri Rizzardi, one of the Veneto's most historic wine makers, whose roots go back to 1678. Its Pojega vineyard is in the village of Negrar, near the celebrated gardens created by Conte Antonio Rizzardi in 1796.

It's a perfect fit for this month's Wine Focus in the WineLovers Discussion Group, which takes on the topic Diverse Italy, covering all the regions of Italy outside the widely discussed and often tasted regions Tuscany and Piemonte.

We invite you to bring your tasting reports, comments and questions about your favorite less-known Italian wines and wine regions, from Valle d'Aosta in the north to Sicily in the south. The discussions are open for public viewing, but you must register to post. Registration is free and easy; we ask only that you join following our Real Names Real Format system, using your real name in the format "John Doe" or "John D".

Once your registration has been approved, which usually happens quickly, you'll be able to participate in all our online wine, food and travel forums.


Today's Sponsor

Saratoga Wine Exchange

The Saratoga Wine Exchange is your source for fine wines online


The Saratoga Wine Exchange is your source for fine wines online, offering more than 15,000 wines to choose from. Spend less time searching the Web for hard-to-find wines. Sign up for our email list to get special offers and discounts only available through our email list.

Find a large selection of Ripasso wines available by following this link: Ripasso

Browse our selection of wines that have been recently rated by clicking "Professional Ratings."

Our goal at the Saratoga Wine Exchange is to provide our customers with the best selection of wines at competitive prices. As wine lovers ourselves we understand how difficult it can be to find all the wines you love in one spot. We work hard every day to find additional sources for fine wines. We look forward to helping you find the wines you love.


Today's Tasting Report

Guerrieri Rizzardi 2006 "Pojega" Valpolicella Classico Superiore Ripasso ($32)Guerrieri Rizzardi

Dark reddish-purple with a clear garnet edge. Very distinct dried-cherry flavor, typical of Valpolicella, with a pleasant touch of "sappy" herbal notes and subtle brown spice. Mouth-filling and ripe, good acidity adds a mouth-watering snap to bright dried-cherry fruit. There's warmth in the finish, but it carries its 14% alcohol well, and goes very well with rare beef. (U.S. importer: Enotec Imports Inc., Denver, for California Wine Club's International Selections. (Jan. 19, 2010)

FOOD MATCH: It was great with barr Farms Kentucky grass-fed beef rib eye, pepper-crusted, pan-seared with garlic and oven-finished. Try it also with lamb, game or meatless dishes featuring Cheddar-type cheeses.

VALUE: A quality Ripasso is not an inexpensive wine. The double-fermentation process requires extra time and effort in the winery, and the result is rarely available in large amounts. That said, the $32 restock price from California Wine Club's International Selections is certainly fair for a red wine of this quality.

WEB LINK: Click here for an extensive fact sheet on Guerrieri Rizzardi's Ripasso "Pojega."

FIND THIS WINE ONLINE:
Guerrieri Rizzardi 2006 Ripasso "Pojega" is this month's selection from California Wine Club's International Selections, the primary U.S. vendor for Guerrieri Rizzardi. Click for more information.

Click here to find international vendors for Guerrieri Rizzardi's wines on Wine-Searcher.com, and click here to query Wine-Searcher.com for Ripasso wines in general.


Talk About Wine Online

If you have questions, comments or ideas to share about today's article or wine in general, you're always welcome to drop by our online WineLovers Discussion Group, the Internet's first and still the most civil online community. To find our forums, click:
http://www.wineloverspage.com/forum/village

Discussions are open for public viewing, but you must register to post. Registration is free and easy; we ask only that you join following our Real Names Real Format system, using your real name in the format "John Doe" or "John D". Anonymous, cryptic or first-name-only registrations are discarded without notice.

Once your registration has been approved, which usually happens quickly, you'll be able to participate in all our online wine, food and travel forums.

To contact me by E-mail, write wine@wineloverspage.com. I'll respond personally to the extent that time and volume permit.


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