by Marco Giovanetti
The wines of Valpolicella are not new to me since my formal briefing on Italian wine was with this important wine region.With time, I have passed to learn about other styles and regions but you never quite forget about that important introduction.
A month ago, I got myself a nice refresher on the wines of Valpolicella with the visit of Andrea di Sartori from Sartori di Verona in Montreal. If you don’t know, Sartori is one the Veneto’s “Big Five” wine producers” and much of its international fame can be attributed to Andrea’s leadership.
It is easy to understand why. Andrea strikes me as a maverick with a international business vision for his family wines. It is rare to find business people in the Italian wine world that can conciliate the pragmatic side of selling wine with the romantic aspect of making it. Thanks to Andrea, today Sartori has a strong international presence in 50 countries worldwide.
I also learnt that Andrea is a fan of Tuscan cigars and a great collector of old Amarones. He told me that everytime older vintages of his wines come in the secondary market, they are acquired for his estate wine library. Andrea is the 4th generation of a family saga that has been making wine since 1898, celebrating 120 years of history.
The wines tasted with him included a stylish 100% Garganega named after her grandmother. Marani Sartori 2017 Bianco grapes hails from the region of Soave from rocky and chalky soils. It has a beautiful nose displaying hints of acacia, chalk with chamomile, Round and creamy with a precise expression. Beautiful underlying elegance and harmony. Available from the fall at the SAQ
Next came a sassy Valpolicella Superiore 2016 ( SAQ # 26021, $13.60). A blend of Corvina Veronese, Corvinone, Croatina and Rondinella. It has delicate notes of black cherry and licorice complemented by raspberry coulis. It stands out for its elegance in the palate. Excellent price/quality ratio
Moving on the pre climax of the tasting was the Valpolicella Ripasso Sartori 2015 ( SAQ # 10669242, $17.30). A fluid ripasso with beautiful berry concentration and outstanding elegance. Gorgeous retronasal flavours of cocoa, dates and cumin. Long and racy finale.
The climax of the tasting was the Amarone Sartori DOC 2012 ( SAQ # 11035882, $39.85). Floral with a hint of cocoa, exotic moroccan and indian spices. The palate is round with supple tannins. This is a classic Amarone built for the long haul.
A surprise for the tasting with Andrea was the Amarone Corte Bras 1995. This Amarone was incredible youthful for its age showcasing incredible aromas of chocolate and cigar box. Decadent yet with a terrific elegance. Well made Amarone can age for a long time especially if its made by Sartori
The tasting took place at Restaurant Graziella and the invitation was a courtesy of its importer Sylvestre Vins et Spiriteux