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Kelly Ripassa

[zenato]Zenato 1995 Valpolicella Superiore “Ripassa” (Veneto) — One of those “wait…I still have this?” finds from the move five years ago. Still, I didn’t get around to it until now.

It’s actually holding well — that much non-sugar dry extract has to count for something — and what’s left is like a dense dried fruit residue layered with dried fruit paste. That sounds worse than I mean it, but it’s not really a wine for drinking anymore (which it was in its youth), it’s a wine for contemplating, thinking “huh,” and moving on to something more quenching. (4/16)


Venturini 2007 Recioto della Valpolicella (Veneto) – Concentrated berry residue, sticky and just a bit plastic, with in-control volatile acidity and the requisite tension between light residual sweetness and shriveled-prune tannin. You know, reading back over this note, I should say that I liked the wine more than the descriptors might indicate. It’s no great recioto, but it’s decent enough. (11/11)

Ain’t no Semonte high enough

Venturini 2003 Valpolicella Classico Superiore Ripasso “Semonte Alto” (Veneto) – If someone poured this for me from an unmarked container and told me it was a slightly fresher take on Amarone, I would not be the least bit surprised. Ripasso flavors cranked past 11 to about 15, leaving a thick paste of licorice, strawberry, and quince of incredible density. It seems like it should be structured, but even the tannin can’t really rise to this level of density, and there’s no useful acidity to speak of. It’s actually not bad at all, and would be extremely appealing for those who love this sort of specific gravity in all their wines, but to say it’s more of a spread for toast than it is a wine would not be unreasonable. (11/10)

Come to Pipa

Castellani “Collezione Ca’ del Pipa” 2004 Valpolicella Classico “Superiore” San Michele “Ripasso” (Veneto) – Corked. (1/09)

Righetti & meatballs

Righetti 2004 “Campolieti” Valpolicella Classico “Superiore” “Ripasso” (Veneto) – Starting to show the desiccated layer of rot that eventually dominates many of its Amarone uncles, but right now it’s just a pleasantly complexing element, alongside concentrated strawberry jam, and…well, OK, that’s it. It’s a highly drinkable Valpolicella…sluggable, slurpable, gluggable, and all those other words that turn wine into a children’s boxed juice drink…with a little edge (not just the dry rot, but also a prickle of heat), but I wouldn’t hold it any longer. (12/08)

Speri Top-Siders

[vineyard]Speri 2006 Valpolicella Classico “Superiore Ripasso” (Veneto) – Big acidity, strawberry, chocolate, and butterscotch. Oak? Whatever it is, it’s nasty. I can’t possibly imagine what they were thinking here. (9/08)

Bony Amarone

Masi 1990 Amarone della Valpolicella Classico (Veneto) – Prune and roasted meat, but “balanced” in the context of this very particular style. There’s a bit of offputting rot, but it doesn’t really distract. Nor does the expected VA. What I’d like is a little more complexity, but that’s not easily found in Amarone. (9/08)

Casale & pepper

Castellani 1995 Recioto della Valpolicella Classico “Il Casale” (Veneto) – Dominated by its volatile acidity, with sweet syrup, sweat, and a sticky, nasty finish. Recioto rides such a fine line between drinkability and utter failure, and this crosses the line. (9/08)


Quintarelli 1998 Valpolicella Classico “Superiore” (Veneto) – Concentrated and dense. Black licorice, strawberry, black cherry, and a solid, graphite-textured structure. Gorgeous but still fairly repressed; this isn’t done going wherever it’s going. (2/08)

Into the fire

dal Forno Romano 2002 Valpolicella “Superiore” (Veneto) – Fabric softener texture and aroma. Dense, hard, and absolutely no fun at all. Red licorice dominates the finish. This is pretty awful. Thankfully, it’s neither famous nor expensive. Oh, wait… (2/08)

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