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As we are introducing you, we must say that you are an Agronomist, and today you have become a reference as winemaker in Valpolicella, but we are wondering how you fell in love with the wine? I have always wanted to study to become one day a winemaker, for the strong interest and the idea of working in the wine industry. I am also always been attracted to all that was inherent to the world of taste and nutrition, aspects that are deeply connected with wine. After the experience on the field and an extensive training in the wine segment, I felt the need to know in details the territories around Verona and their wine culture.
Learn about the origins of the names, the story of those who have discovered and then modeled these terrotories in order to interpret the potential of every single valley, its slopes, land, through vineyards to the living. A significant help for my growth was to work for a long time in THE “cellar” of Verona. A reality for excellence, for being the first to expertise in all Verona the wine denominations and spread internationally its products – back in the nineteenth century. Since 2016, I work with Salvaterra. Wines reflects here the terroir with a very classic style, following the wines and its lives, without dictating timeframes and then forcing the hand with too strong oenological practices. A good Valpolicella Classico without short drying grapes, Amarone rich in fruit and nice but who buys complexity only through a long aging in the cellar. Besides the enhancement of Corvina grapes, together with Corvinone, the essence of the typical Valpolicella. We must increase the number of selections and the making of the wine in purity, trying to figure out what Corvina manages to emphasize in terms of freshness, intensity, fruit, body, acidity and flavor in each of our Tenute. Corvina will be more and more the star in this denomination, and for Salvaterra as well.
What is the stage of production that fascinates you the most and why? The production phase that most fascinates me is the fermentation, a kind of alchemy. We know the main chemical processes, such as the conversion of sugar into alcohol, while we are not able to imagine many others. That’s why a fruit of the earth, can be transformed into a product that excites. During this short process the magic passage from sugar to alcoholic nectar can happen. We can get the wine we’ve always dreamt of, we have to bring it to maturity, and avoid the disappointment that makes you wonder where and when you get lost.
A wine that excited you.. The expectation for me is already a thrill, when I open a bottle I do not know what to imagine. One of the last wines that excited me, without listing any particular historic vintage, is the Brunello di Montalcino Riserva 2006 Poggio di Sotto. The exhaust color that hides a surprising and seductive bouquet and then a set of notes on the palate with a long aftertaste, nice and round. A style that emphasizes a great personality.
My first memory of wine.. At six years old, one day in the small cellar at the back of the country house of my grandfather. He was doing the hand-pumping, with buckets in the two fermentation tanks for the daily wine, Valpolicella. I still remember the floral and sweet scent that enveloped everything and the first glass of wine that I carried.
Only two weeks ago the Amarone 2012 was presented. What is your feeling and how it was received by the public? The audience always participates with enthusiasm to this sort of “baptism” as the Amarone enters the market. In the two days at Gran Guardia in Verona, people can meet the companies of the territory, and not only they can choose the Amarone that they prefer but also learn more about the heritage of a wine, its life and characteristics. We must never forget the importance of the relationship and empathy between the wine companies and the wine enthusiast, and when it is established the result is a great loyalty. An event like Anteprima Amarone builds a stable and strong relationship between the great red wines of Valpolicella and international consumers.
What aspects of the wines of Valpolicella affecting consumers and international markets? The common denominator between an international brand such as Amarone, which is the spearhead of the production and the Valpolicella, which is the most simple wine of our winemaking pyramid, is the territory. The uniqueness of the vineyard from which we produce 4 different wines, the aromatic differences linked to the different soils and microclimates, the ability of producers to imparting a personality so recognizable and autochthonous wines made with 3 historical cultivars: Corvina, Rondinella and corvinone and a handful of other local grapes. This is the great strength of Valpolicella that can also be exploited in the challenges of the global market and this is the direction we are taking in terms of production chain.
Ingredients: lasagna (pasta) 4 sheets, 2 parsnips (or 1 depending by the size), raw beet 1 (if small) or just half if large, 1turnip, jam Pero Misso, Blue Val Maira (or aged blue cheese) 50 grams, sweet gorgonzola, very soft 50 grams, milk 2.5 / 3 dl, ghee (clarified butter) 2 teaspoons, salt, black pepper, ras el hanout 1 teaspoon.
Cut with brunoise way and separately the parsnip, turnip and beet, so the cubes will be very similar in size.
Halve the turnip and add equal weight of beetroot and parsnips. Heat two pans and add ghee (a generous teaspoon per pan). Add in a pan beet greens +, the ras el hanout, salt and a pinch of pepper. In the second pan parsnip + turnip, salt and plenty of black pepper mill. Cook for a few minutes on high heat, then lower and add two tablespoons of water in each pan.
Check the cooking: the vegetables should be cooked but crunchy. Remove from heat and set aside.
Prepare the gorgonzola sauce: melt the Gorgonzola cheese in a saucepan, add the warm milk gradually. Simmer for a few minutes. Keep warm.
NOTE: If you prefer a thicker sauce and creamy you can increase the amount of blue cheese. For me it was enough as I added cubes of gorgonzola more seasoned in the preparation.
To prepare the recipe can be used as an alternative to Blue Valley Maira, other cheeses, such as the Monte Veronese Malga, another interesting Slow Food Presidium.
In a saucepan with plenty of salted water, cook the pasta for pre few minutes.
(For some types of lasagna you can skip this step and cook directly in the pan)
Preparation of lasagna: anoint with ghee the baking sheet, prepare the first layer with the roots and pear sauce, a few drops of jam Pero Misso and chunks of gorgonzola cheese. Repeat until you finish the ingredients. Finally, the last layer and the gorgonzola sauce roots. Pour (after having heated) gorgonzola fondue, making sure to cover well the sheets of lasagna.
Serve to bake the lasagna in without letting it dry. Bake at 190 degrees for 20-25 minutes. Check occasionally that the lasagna does not dry out too much. If add a little hot milk.
Serve immediately accompanied the lasagna with a glass of Valpolicella Ripasso Tenute Salvaterra.
All our wines have been reviewed by Gambero Rosso, the Italian prestigious company that since 30 years is considered the most influential guide in terms of judgement of wine and food quality. The symbols of Gambero Rosso – three glasses for wine – have become a coveted goal and a point of reference.
For 2016 we are proud to announce that our Amarone Riserva 2004, Amarone and Ripasso Classico 2008 were awarded with two glasses out of three, a great result and an encouraging recognition that makes us proud of our daily job and efforts to produce an outstanding wine.
“Wine as a culture for us means translating in it the natural elements of the earth” says Paolo Fontana, SalvaTerra Group CEO
Naturalness is, in fact, an important value: Tenute Salvaterra goal is also to produce in an authentic way, so as to safeguard and enhance the biodiversity of the territory, which in the globalization age risks disappearing.
Safeguarding the territory also means protecting the landscape with a reasoned viticulture, difficult but also fascinating in the most extreme territories, such as the terraced vineyards on the upper hills.
In the heart of Valpolicella, surrounded by cypresses, olive trees, stone walls and vineyards you will find the historical and fascinating village of Castelrotto overlooking Tenute Salvaterra.
The soil here is wet, as be between the earth and the rocks there is marl, which takes the water up. This is the natural secret of an incredible wine who is gaining success and consensus internationally. A wine that reflects the essence of Italian lifestyle, the joy of sharing meals with family and friends.