Okay, I confess. We all know that Italian wines hold a special place in my heart. However, I also have a thing for both the region and the wines of Valpolicella, which is nestled in the heart of the Veneto region in northern Italy. Here’s why. Valpolicella is more than its captivating landscape of rolling hills, valleys and gentle slopes, where history, tradition, and natural beauty converge. Valpolicella also refers to the exceptional wines of the region.
Speaking of exceptional wines, my heart is leaning towards a certain Valpolicella Ripasso. This February, I want Valpolicella Ripasso not just in my heart, but in my wine glass. For several reasons, I specifically choose Famiglia Pasqua’s Valpolicella Ripasso Superiore by Pasqua Wines to be my Valentine. What can I say? My heart (and palate) wants what it wants, but read on as I explain.
About Valpolicella Ripasso
Basically, Valpolicella Ripasso refers to a lovely red wine produced by means of ripasso, which means ‘repassed,’ as it undergoes a second fermentation. Valpolicella Ripasso is produced using partially dried grape skins and seeds that have been left over from the lees and fermentation of Amarone. For this reason, Valpolicella has often been referred to as a “baby Amarone” or second wine from Amarone della Valpolicella production.
Pasqua Wines is located in Veneto and owned by the Pasqua Family. Pasqua Wines, which was founded in 1925, is recognized worldwide as a producer and ambassador of prestigious Venetian wines. Their vision embodies their relentless commitment to innovation in winemaking. In fact, they use the tagname, “House of the Unconventional,” to refer to their winery, which is indicative of their visionary attitude and philosophy towards research and advancement. Pasqua is regularly involved in unconventional projects, including artistic collaborations. Furthermore, from optimized energy consumption, temperature regulation and minimizing packaging waste to maintaining all major quality certifications like ISO, BRC, IFS, Biological and Equalitas certification for Sustainability, Pasqua Winery endeavors to employ sustainable viticulture in all areas of their business.
“House of the Unconventional is the embodiment of a bold spirit that displays a keenness for innovation and curiosity about the world. These qualities inspire our philosophy, vision and daily actions.”
There is no secret as to why Wine Enthusiast Magazine awarded Pasqua Wines the prestigious “Innovator of the Year” award to highlight their outstanding contributions to the world of wine and establish them as pioneers in the wine industry. Pasqua Wines is now the #1 private producer of wines in Northern Italy.
Today, alongside their father, Umberto Pasqua, brothers Riccardo and Alessandro strive to blend years of experience and tradition with innovation, as they believe it is “possible to preserve and innovate at the same time.” For over 100 years, Pasqua Wines has been executing their vision and producing lovely wines, from Valpolicella Classico and Ripasso to Amarone and several others that showcase their craft and innovation.
My Valentine, My Wine
Not too long ago, I was invited to a unique wine tasting experience with Alessandro Pasqua, third generation of the Pasqua winemaking family. I was unable to attend the tasting, but fortunately, I was still able to taste a bottle of their Valpolicella Ripasso DOC Superiore. From the first pour, I wanted more!
When looking for a Valentine or Valentine wine, there are characteristics I seek. Things have to measure up. Famiglia Pasqua Valpolicella Ripasso DOC Superiore has all the qualities one would want in a Valentine’s Day wine. It has intense flavor, a rich and velvety texture, versatility and age-worthiness. Allow me to explain.
Intense Flavor and texture
Valpolicella Ripasso’s intense flavors have to do with the unique way it is made. Famiglia Pasqua’s Valpolicella Ripasso Superiore is a blend of 60% Corvina, 20% Rondinella 10% Corvinone and 10% Negrara (all indigenous grapes). After pressing and destemming, fermentation begins in stainless steel tanks. In alignment with the traditional ripasso method, the wine is then left on the dried skins of the Amarone where it ferments again. Next, the wine is transferred into barriques, where it stays for some months before bottling. The wine is then aged in the bottle for another 2-3 months, totaling at least 1 year of aging before release.
The ripasso or repassing process intensifies the structure of the aromas and flavors of the wine, leading to deep, dark fruit flavors. Depth and complexity are added to the wine. Pasqua Winery’s Valpolicella Ripasso Superiore is ruby red with garnet highlights in the glass. There are intense aromas of ripe red fruit, Morello cherries, blueberries and red currants. The palate is similar with spicy, peppery notes and hints of vanilla. Additionally, Valpolicella Ripasso’s refermentation process imparts a rich and velvety texture to the wine, creating a luxurious mouthfeel that can enhance the overall sensory experience. These intense and complex flavors are most welcomed on Valentine’s Day.
Interestingly, this refermentation process can also be symbolized as giving ‘new life’ to the wine. On a day that celebrates love and renewal, Valpolicella Ripasso is a both a meaningful and sentimental choice.
Versatility and Age-Worthiness
Valpolicella Ripasso’s structure and depth make it a versatile wine that can pair well with a variety of romantic dishes, like pasta dishes with rich tomato sauces, grilled meats and seasoned cheeses. I paired my bottle of Pasqua Valpolicella Ripasso Superiore with a yummy bacon-wrapped filet mignon and sautéed greens. Win-win!
The wine’s fine characteristics don’t stop there. It just keeps getting better and better–with age, that is. This wine is approachable and elegant, with good acidity and tannic structure. Full-bodied with 13.5% ABV. While Valpolicella Ripasso is generally best to drink young and more approachable in its youth, as compared to Amarone, it still has the potential to age gracefully. Its aging potential allows you to enjoy the wine now and, perhaps, on another loving occasion as well.
Clearly, this wine meets all of the qualities one would want in a Valentine’s Day wine!
So, yes. My proposal was official. Valpolicella Ripasso, Will You Be Mine? I already know–the answer is YES! Famiglia Pasqua Valpolicella Ripasso DOC Superiore will be my Valentine, in my heart and in my glass in celebration of love and good wine!
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