Tommasi Vintners is a fourth-generation family firm founded in 1902 and situated in Pedemonte in the heart of the Valpolicella Classico region. The estate extends to over 135 hectares and six Tommasi family members work in the business, each with their own defined area of responsibility. Ninety five hectares of the company’s vineyards are in Valpolicella Classico, from which Giancarlo Tommasi makes not only the region’s red but also the other distinctive styles of Vallpolicella, such as Amarone, Ripasso and Recioto. The other 40 hectares are for the production of DOC wines in the Veronese regions of Soave, Lugana, Bianco di Custoza, Pinot Grigio and Bardolino.
Corvina, Corvinone, Rondinella, Molinara
The province of Verona, in the Veneto in northeast Italy, is home to one of the country’s most famous wines – Valpolicella. This red wine should have a lovely cherry colour and flavour, a gentle sweet smell and a trace of bitterness on swallowing. Unfortunately, as has all too commonly been seen in Italian wine growing, Valpolicella’s production area was greatly increased when it achieved DOC status in the sixties to include the more fertile plains as far as the boundaries of the Soave DOC to the east. The result is a huge variance in the quality of the wines. Only the original production area can label its wines Classico and it from these low-yielding hillsides that the best examples generally come. Valpolicella Valpantena is a permitted subzone, lying to the east of the Classico area and also producing some good wines. The climate here is continental, while the soils can be anything from calcareous to clay depending on exact location. As well as producing Valpolicella, the area is also known for its highly concentrated dried-grape wines, particularly the dry Amarone. This is made by taking superior whole bunches of grapes and drying – or raisining – them in special rooms before pressing and fermenting, then ageing the wine in wooden casks. The finished wine follows the same labelling criteria as Valpolicella – either Classico or simply Amarone depending on the production zone – and is rarely released until five years after the vintage. Recioto is the sweet version. The Italians also use a technique called ripasso, which adds extra flavour and alcohol to Valpolicella by refermenting it on the pressed grapes skins after an Amarone has finished its fermentation. The resulting wine is labelled Valpolicella Superiore.
Shiraz and Zinfandel both feature here due to the ripe fruit flavours overlaid with spice. For Shiraz you’ll notice white or black pepper on the nose where Zinfandel will remind you of a spicy fruitcake, think cherries & cinnamon. These wines smell good, look good and taste good.
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