The Tasting Panel magazine

August 2012

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Page 66 of 128

ONE-ON-ONE Master of The The Tedeschi 2006 Capitel Monte Olmi Amarone is truly a standout. Amarone, the big burly bad boy of red wine, has been tamed by Tedeschi and become a very elegant gentleman. The smooth concentrated fl avors of spicy black cherries and toasty oak envelope the palate with their richness. It is supremely well balanced, with fi ne acidity and a long luxurious fi nish. It is a wine to seek out, without fail. ooks can be deceiving. A charming, mild-mannered winemaker from the Veneto who bears an uncanny resemblance to actor Rowan Atkinson (aka "Mr. Bean") is producing some of the most innovative wines in Italy. The focus is on reds at Tedeschi Winery in Verona, Italy, and Riccardo Tedeschi, enologist and fi fth-generation wine producer is the utmost authority on wines of the Valpolicella. Tedeschi makes only one red wine (Valpolicella Classico Lucchine) by simply pressing grapes and fermenting the juice. The process gets a lot more creative from there. Each of Tedeschi's other wines has its own style of production, creating a panoply of fl avors and character. At the core is the ancient tradition of drying the grapes before pressing. Tedeschi 2006 Capitel Monte Olmi Amarone. The grapes used for the wines are the traditional local varieties, including Corvina, Corvinone, Rondinella and Molinara with a few lesser-known varieties thrown in for added color, structure and fl avor. The Veronese have been making wine like this for centuries, but Tedeschi has perfected it. His amarones, ripassos and reciotos are strikingly good—and the key to it all is in the drying process, or appassimento in Italian. In the Valpolicella, there are two seasons to worry about instead of just one: the growing season and the drying season. When Tedeschi's father lost nearly half his harvest in 1987 due to mold, Tedeschi began to study the science of drying grapes. He worked with his sister, Sabrina, and experimented to fi nd just the right drying conditions to achieve a perfect result every time. They created a drying room that main- tains the proper temperature and humidity to create optimal conditions to preserve the precious aromas and fl avors of the grapes. 66 / the tasting panel / august 2012 In 1996, Tedeschi built a new facility for the winery to house the drying of all their grapes. The fruit is dried in fl at plastic boxes—not quite as poetic as the wooden boxes often seen in old photographs, Tedeschi concedes with a smile, but easier to store and clean. The grapes are dried for anywhere from two months to 100 days depending on the sugar content of the grapes, with a minimum of 60 days required for complex- ity. This carefully regulated drying process gives roundness and fullness to the wines. Even mold is acceptable in this controlled environment, as now it is considered "noble rot" and gives a raisiny, nutty qual- ity to the wine. Tedeschi's wines are meticulously made. All of the red wines are organic and he is experimenting with the principles of biody- namic growing. Tedeschi is hands-on from the vineyard to the bottle and it shows. Not only are the wines delicious, they are full of character and style. Valpolicella L HOW RICCARDO TEDESCHI PERFECTED THE MAKING OF AMARONE photos and story by Elizabeth Kate

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