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Valpolicella Ripasso

The red wine which is rich in extract is attracting a growing legion of fans. It has long been the flagship of the Valpolicella winegrowing region in northern Italy. In terms of flavour, it resembles the concentrated aroma of Amarone. Its spiciness is a result of the Ripasso method: during a second fermentation with Amarone pomace, the young red wine gains extract and complexity.
A second fermentation process sets Valpolicella Ripasso apart with complex aromas.

Area of origin

Valpolicella Ripasso is a speciality of Veneto. It is produced there from local grape varieties, particularly Corvina Veronese and Rondinella, which grow on the hills of Lessinia, not far from Verona. It is classified as a DOC quality wine with a controlled designation of origin. Only the municipalities from three precisely defined areas are permitted to produce a Valpolicella Ripasso wine, according to DOC regulations. 
To preserve the wine's character and quality, only specific grape varieties are permitted. The proportions must also be just right. Corvina and Rondinella are the dominant varieties. Other grapes from Veneto may only make up a maximum of 15 percent. Other indigenous varieties from Italy should not exceed 10 percent.
The red wine must be produced using the Ripasso method. This sets it apart from wines produced using a similar method. Some wineries use dried grapes during vinification instead of Amarone pomace, which changes the flavour, however. Such products are therefore not classified as DOC wines and may not bear the name "Ripasso". Unlike Valpolicella Ripasso, these are marketed exclusively as "Rosso del Veronese IGT". 

Production process

A true Valpolicella Ripasso wine is made using a precisely defined process: the Ripasso method. Its main components are freshly fermented red wines. These are vinified from the juice of Rondinella, Corvina Veronese and Molinara grapes harvested in the autumn. After these have been fermented, Amarone is added in the spring and later takes on the main role in terms of flavour. It then becomes clear why the Italian term "ripasso" (meaning "repassed") is added to the name: the wines are fermented for a second time, this time with the Amarone pomace. The pomace is far more than just residue from the grape production; it refines the young red wines. The residual sugar and yeast from the grape skins trigger a new fermentation process. They also enrich the Valpolicella with tannins, add extract and raise the alcohol content. The aroma is similar to that of an Amarone but not as strong. The method also reduces the typical bitterness of an Amarone. Valpolicella Ripasso is therefore recommended for anyone who is not a fan of bitter notes.
Valpolicella Ripasso can hold its own with fine Amarone wines. What's more, winegrowers can offer Ripasso at much cheaper prices. Yet its quality is dependent on the Amarone grapes that are used. The drying process and noble rot determine the aroma's concentration. Compared to a single-varietal Valpolicella, a Ripasso wine is more powerful and ages better.

Character of Valpolicella Ripasso wines

The popularity of Valpolicella Ripasso shows no signs of abating. Some wine connoisseurs now even prefer wine made using the Ripasso method. The number of bottles produced has grown rapidly over the past years and now exceeds that of Amarone. It is no wonder because Valpolicella treats the palate to equally complex aromas but with only mildly bitter notes.
Anyone purchasing a Valpolicella Ripasso will acquire a characterful Italian red wine. The full-bodied wine gleams in the bottle with its highly expressive ruby-red colour. If it is aged for longer, the maturity turns it a darker garnet red.
The raisin-like flavour of Amarone dominates, but develops an ever-wider range of fruity aromas. Hints of fruits of the forest, plum and cherry round off the full-bodied wine.

Valpolicella Ripasso wines