VALPOLICELLA RIPASSO: winemaking and food pairings.

Valpolicella Ripasso is one of Tenute Salvaterra’s premium wines and its crafting was a landmark in the history of Veneto winemaking.

The fascinating story behind this wine began last century in times when the needs of everyday life dictated that “nothing must be thrown away”, not even grape skins.

In those days, Valpolicella was made with varying percentages of Corvina, Corvinone and Rondinella grapes, but the wine turned out to be light, excessively fresh, difficult to conserve and characterless. Then someone had the idea of steeping the grape skins leftover from the making of Amarone and Recioto in the Valpolicella and fermenting it a second time.

Today, the basic technique is still the same; maceration and fermenting times differ, but the Veneto’s tradition of “Ripasso”, i.e. ‘repassing’ the wine over the skins, lives on. Although this method is unique to Veneto, it is a distant relative of the “Governo” technique used to make some Tuscan wines.

Use of the “Ripasso” technique provides Valpolicella with character, roundness and colour. During its 15-to-20-day maceration period, it absorbs the skins’ residual tannins and their deep anthocyanins to turn a traditional product into a superior quality wine. As a mark of its quality, Valpolicella Ripasso was awarded Italy’s Controlled Designation of Origin (DOC) status in 2010.

Since then, it has enjoyed a surge in popularity, and today Valpolicella Ripasso is a preferred choice for wine-lovers of all ages.

Its deep ruby red colour, garnet hues and full body combine with intensely spicy notes and high alcohol content to pair perfectly with a wide range of food. It has even been called a “meditation wine”.

Valpolicella Ripasso pairs beautifully with Lardo di Colonnata on toasted bread, as well as with the strong flavours of the Veneto’s renowned cuisine: from duck in a salami and anchovy sauce, Treviso’s radicchio risotto and Belluno’s Casunzei beetroot ravioli, to its traditional meat and delicate game dishes.

MORE THAN JUST REDS. Tenute Salvaterra cracks open its Pinot Grigio to usher in the summer.

Summer is coming. Routine and pace of life change, and with them our taste in wine.

Long dinners and a glass of red by the fireside make way for an aperitif and dinner on the terrace, nibbles and crostini, accompanied by the brilliant notes and fresh, fruity and floral aromas of a glass of white.

 

Here in Veneto, north-east Italy, in an area overlooking Lake Garda, Prosecco vineyards are replaced by rows of a white grape that today epitomises the region and lends its freshness and mineral notes to one of Salvaterra’s finest creations: Pinot Grigio.

 

The Pinot Gris grape was created by a naturally occurring genetic mutation in the more renowned Pinot Noir variety that changed the colour of its berries.

Native to Alsace, it started to make its way around the world from the 1850s. It also reached Italy, where it is known as “Pinot Grigio”, and became especially popular in the north-east, in the area that stretches from Friuli’s Collio to Trentino and the heartland of Veneto. Pinot Gris ripens extremely quickly, despite being highly sensitive due to the size and shapes its fruit. It is therefore ideal for growing at a range of altitudes, as the higher the vineyard, the longer the grape takes to ripen fully.

 

Over the years, oenologists have studied two parallel winemaking methods for this variety. The first involves leaving the juice in contact with the skins; the second more traditional method involves extracting the juice and discarding the skins. The first is a much rarer method, as it is more complex and produces fuller-bodied wines with intense aromas.

 

Salvaterra’s Pinot Grigio is made with the traditional winemaking process. A combination of advanced growing techniques, delaying harvest by about a week, and controlled-temperature pressing contribute to the crafting of an elegant wine with sophisticated notes of acidity and minerals.

 

The result of Tenute Salvaterra’s devotion to traditional winemaking is a Pinot Grigio that is complex, elegant and refined in equal measure, making it the perfect complement to a host of summer dishes. It makes a delightful aperitif, but can also be served throughout a meal. It is a worthy accompaniment to fish antipasti, pasta and risotto dishes, as well as the majority of Mediterranean cuisine.