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A second serving of Valpolicella: $19 Ripasso!!

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Cantina di Negrar
2020 Valpolicella Ripasso Classico Superiore

Well, sub-$30 Amarone didn’t last long, but we’re prepared with another helping of Valpolicella for you.

We stay with Cantina di Negrar, and serve up their Ripasso this time. 90 points to boot, and the price drops down to $19! Happy Thanksgiving indeed!
 

This is the “baby” Amarone, a Ripasso. Ripasso is a singular style, whereby the crazy Italians take an already delicious Valpolicella and repass (ri-“pass”-oh-so-good) it through still fermenting, sugar-rich dried grape skins of Amarone they just made, which in itself is a style they charge an arm and a leg for, because making a ‘dried grapes only’ wine makes them lunatic in the first place! A great Ripasso attains complexity levels that can normally be achieved only by the priciest Amarone, which was pioneered by Negrar!
 

Slightly lighter than their Amarone, but it’s absolutely full of flavor with a rich full body. It’s rocking with ripe cherry, raspberry and dried red plums, some baking spices and lovely acidity. It’s fresh, lively, and dangerously easy to drink.


The Wine Economist has the story: “Take the cooperative winery in Negrar - Cantina di Negrar. This is where Amarone was born in 1936 when the cellarmaster lost track of a tank of Recioto, that fermented dry by accident instead of the yeasts being stopped with some residual sugar remaining. A catastrophe - except that it was really good. Not bitter ‘Amaro’ but smooth and dry Amarone.”
 

Wine Advocate adds “Cooperative wineries are often seen as the ugly ducklings of Italian wine. But the dynamic Cantina di Negrar with 220 members who farm a total of 600 hectares is maturing into a graceful swan. The co-op is very active when it comes to experimentation with sustainable farming methods and innovative winemaking. I was absolutely captivated…”


If Wine Advocate knew we’d be giving these away at these prices, how much more “absolutely captivated” would they be?
 

90 points - James Suckling

“Ripe blackberries and currants with forest-floor and nutty notes. Medium body with fresh, citrusy acidity and lightly firm tannins. Tasty young Valpo to drink now.”

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