Wednesday, June 8, 2022

Meet the producer: Bertani, Valpolicella, Italy

Andrea Leonardi at LWF 2022
Another classy master class at the London Wine Fair 2022 organized by Enotria&Coe, this time focussing on the wines of a well known Italian producer: Bertani of Valpolicella

Today's presentation was delivered by Andrea Leonardi, COO of the company, which puts him in charge of supervising the wine making teams of the company.

Bertani was founded in 1857, just before Italy was unified as a unitary state, by the brothers Giovan Battista and Gaetano, and it has climbed the steps of fame ever since.

Despite the less than idyllic relations between the UK and fascist Italy at the time, in 1937 its Soave was on the menu for the coronation of king George VI of the United Kingdom.

Below are some highlights from today's tastings.

Soave DOC Original Vintage Edition, 2020
Garganega 100%
Average of 40 years of age for these vines from the Soave hills. About 40% of the grapes are picked in September and the must is kept cold, the rest in October and macerated for 3 to 4 days. Fermentation on skins technically makes this an "orange wine", with high minerality and freshness. Moderate balance, could possibly benefit from a few years in the bottle. Score 86

Valpolicella Classico Superiore DOC Ognisanti 2019
Corvina veronese 95%, rondinella 5%
A classic red from the Valpolicella. Bunch selected, aged for one year in oak. Lovely cherry color, orange to the nose, peppery character, mod balance and length. Score 86

Valpolicella Ripasso DOC Valpantena 2020
Grapes from Bertani's own Villa Novare in the Valpolicella Classico area. Ripasso technique is used, second fermentation in January/February in the Amarone skins. Read this article for an explanation of the difference between amarone, recioto and ripasso. Not a typical Valpolicella, much more structure yet amazing smoothness. Red cherries, pepper, Campari notes. A wine that will improve with further aging in the bottle. Score 88

Amarone della Valpolicella Classico DOC 2007
Corvina veronese 80%, Rondinella 20%
Grapes from the vineyards of Arbizzano di Negrar, in the center of the "classico" region of Valpolicella. This vineyard is devoted to the exclusive production of Amarone. Hand harvest in late September with individual bunch selection. Grapes are then laid to dry in "drying rooms" on a single layer on bamboo racks. After 120 days the grapes are destemmed and crushed. After 20 days of maceration the fermentation process starts for about 30 days in concrete vats at max 18°C. Aging in 60hl Slavonian oak barrels for six years. Only simple natural ventilation is used. During aging they lose up to 25,000 bottles worth to the angels’ share, and refill with the same wine.
A full bodied wine with complex tertiary flavors and a long finish.
Score 90

Amarone della Valpolicella Classico DOC 2001
Same as above but more elegant, plump, longer. A top class amarone.
Score 94

Recioto della Valpolicella Classico Amarone DOC 1972
Incredibly this wine is still fresh, at 50 years of age!
Chocolate notes, tobacco. Drink now and don't push your luck!
Score 92

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