Corvina, Italy, Red blends, Red wine, Valpolicella Classico

Allegrini Pallazo della Torre 2006

Grape: 70% Corvina Veronese, 25% Rondinella, 5% Sangiovese
Region: Valpolicella, Italy

Named by their beautiful Renaissance Villa and its vineyard in the town of Fumane, near Verona, this is my all time favorite from Allegrini wines. That doesn’t mean that I appreciate their Amarone or Valpolicella, or their superior La Grola or La Poja any less. But the Pallazo della Torre offers an unique blend, it reflects the high quality of all Allegrini wines for a very reasonable price.

Family Allegrini was involved in winemaking at the Corte Giara since 16th century. Today, Marilisa and Franco – and until 2003 also their brother Walter (who passed away unexpectedly), are carrying their ancestor’s art of wine making and the experience passed on them from generation to generation.

I had the honor to meet Ms. Marilisa Allegrini few years ago when she hosted a wine tasting of her family’s wines. I know how very passionate and hard working this family is when it comes to their wines. Most of the wines produced in Valpolicella use a Ripasso method. Allegrini family didn’t hesitate to invest into a brand new facility to innovate drying naturally, yet eliminating high risks that may occur when drying grapes outside.

I am proud that I worked for a wine distributor, that was the first who ever introduced Allegrini wines to the Connecticut wine market.

Grapes for Allegrini Palazzo della Torre came from the family vineyard of the same name. What is the most interesting about this wine is the wine making process. 30% of grapes were picked first to be dried until the end of December. The remaining 70% of grapes were harvested in October, de-stemmed and gently crushed, than fermented immediately. In the January the dried grapes were added to the young wine and it naturally provoked a second fermentation.

Wine than rested in oak barrels for another 15 months, bottled in 2009 and aged another 7 months in the bottles, before released to the market. Quite a labor with one wine, isn’t it?

This Ripasso method gives the wine a super silky, rich fruit expression, and extra body, balance and unique flavors. Palazzo della Torre can easily age for another 10 years. I just had 2006 vintage (the current release) and I must say – compare to what I remember, this wine is getting better and better every vintage!

Tasting notes:
Dark ruby red color, and beautiful aromas of wild berries, cacao and dried fruit. You have to let this wine breathe for at least an hour or decant it. It will reward you with an excellent balance and layers of great flavors. On the palate it reminded me of black cherry, raisins, black currant and blackberries. Some spices from oak and herbs in undertones.

Tannins are velvety and acidity is just right. Perfect wine for food pairing for under $ 20.00. It is a very consistent quality in comparison with previous vintages. A lot of wine drinkers will appreciate this. No matter which wine you chose from Allegrini, this Valpolicella house will never disappoint you!

Dry – Off dry – Medium sweet – Sweet
Light – Medium – Full body
No oak – Aged in oak
Retail price: around $ 20.00

Ideal food pairing:
Rich Italian dishes, sausages and peppers, Lamb burgers, stews, I had this wine with a Beef Chorizo (it definitely stood out to this rich dish as well), Flank steak with shitakee sauce,Easy pork chops with onions and peppers and many more

Italy, Montepulciano, Red blends, Red wine

Avignonesi Vino Nobile 2004

Grape: 85 % Prugnolo Gentile, 10 % Canaiolo Nero, 5% Mammolo
Region: Montepulciano, Italy

Ratings: Wine Advocate: 90 points

The history of the beautiful estate of Avignonesi goes back to the most ancient in Italy. It is not known when Avignonesi’s cellars were built exactly, but there were records stating that Palazzo Avignonesi was built in the 2nd half of 16th century and it has always been the wine cellar.

In 1309 pope Clement V. transferred the papal residence from Rome to Avignon, France. In 1377, when pope Gregory XI moved the papal residence back to Rome, some noble families of Avignon left France to follow him. At that time, one of those families became known as Avignonesi – probably to simplify their foreign name. They soon separated and part of the family settled in Rome, Siena, and Montepulciano.

Today, Avignonesi takes care of 4 different estates – Le Capezzine, I Poggetti, La Selva and La Lombarda. In total the winery owns 225 hectares of land, 109 ha of it are devoted to vineyards and 3 ha of olive trees.

The grapes for Vino Nobile were picked by hand from the best-situated vineyard sites, fermented with skins for 20-25 days. The wine then aged first 18 months in large oak barrels, and then was transferred to French oak barriques for an additional 18 months. The wine is finally released to the market after 9 additional months in the bottle.

Tasting notes:
The beautiful, dark garnet red color and rich aroma of dark plums, black cherries, blackberries, and herbs. The smokey and velvety tannins are soft, it shows a beautiful expression of fruit and great balance with acidity. I would recommend to decant it, as this wine is rich and full-body, while it’s opening up slowly. This is the time to drink this vintage although the maturity will rise for at least another five years.

Dry – Off dry – Medium sweet – Sweet
Light – Medium – Full body
No oak – Aged in oak
Retail price: around $ 26.00

Ideal food pairing:
Stewed meats, game, pork roasts, grilled meats, Flank steak with shitakee sauce , Beef Bourguignon,  Lamb burgers with relish mayo