Tedeschi : Making Beautiful and Authentic Wines from the Valpolicella
The world of wine is constantly changing and at such speeds that it is sometimes hard to keep up. Same is true when it comes to one’s palate. Where one may have bitten by the wine bug with a nice Californian cab, tastes usually evolve into more light terroir driven reds, or refreshing whites…..and in some cases, orange or natural wines. Is this because as wine drinkers our palate becomes slightly more sophisticated? Or is it to simply follow what’s trendy?
Whatever the reason, what if we could find wines that have the best of both worlds? Wines that have all the concentration, intensity and allure with a refreshing vibrancy and texture, so well structured and authentic, that it can please the likes of all enthusiasts? What if I said one of those wines could be a Valpolicella?
It was roughly 400 years ago when the Tedeschi family started making wine to sell in their small wine bar in the Valpolicella. Today, the winery is still family owned and operated with a strong devotion and care for the vines, grapes, and of course the wine making. The vast majority of their vineyards are on the slopes in the Valpolicella Classico, where the soil is poor and free draining, allowing for more complexity and structure in their wines. Even if they are traditional in the sense that they use only native grape varieties like Corvina, Rondinella, Corvinone and Oseleta, they are always seeking improvement and constantly experimenting.
For example, in years past they have experimented
with dry farming: leaving the roots to find water for themselves, without any irrigation in the vineyard. The results were disappointing however, with unbalanced phenolics, poor acidity, and funky aromatics leading to an unbalanced wine. Today they do carefully irrigate their vineyards.
Tedeschi is also encouraging the slow ripening of the grapes, by delaying the harvest for as long as possible aiming for lower sugar levels, but with very ripe in phenolics. This careful attention to detail transcend to their wines. With Tedeschi, terroir is just as important as the winemaking.
The wines of Tedeschi are perfect for anyone who loves big flavour with a lot restraint. Overall, they are bursting with concentrated and intense fruit with a vibrant and wonderful acidity that make them age worthy. Although they can be anywhere between 14-16% in alcohol, this is not evident as the wines are very well made and seriously structured.
All the wines offer excellent value for money and although they drink well all on their own, they are best paired with food. Roasted or braised beef accompanied with a mushroom sauce and roasted root vegetables would be my meal of choice with these wines, perfect for the cold wintery nights ahead. A comforting wine and food pairing, indeed.
In a world where light reds are in vogue, Tedeshci is making some seriously delicious and approachable wines that are endearing and so easy to enjoy. I encourage you all to try a few bottles and taste for yourself. See below for my top 4 recommendations.
Photo: Myself and winemaker Riccardo Tedeschi of Tedeschi Wines. Special thanks to La Céleste Levure for organizing this stellar tasting and meal at La Chronique, here in Montreal.
San Rocco Ripasso Valpolicella Superiore 2013
SAQ: 972216 $21.05
Beautifully balanced, there is blackberry and ripe dark cherry fruit with bits of cigar notes and autumn leaves. Very nice acidity with youthful tannins create an interesting and endearing texture. Excellent finish. Ready to drink, but still a bit youthful, so best to give it a little more time to develop in the bottle over the next few years.
Maternigo Valpolicella 2014
SAQ: 12968748 $29.90 *Arriving in January 2018
This wine has the best quality for price. Loads of aromas and flavours happening here with an excellent concentration of black cherries, blackberries and blueberries. Bits of clove and pepper fall into place as well as some meaty notes. There is a wonderful complexity with this youthful refreshing wine, having a long and very pleasant finish. Drink now or within the next 7-8 years.
Amarone della Valpolicella Classico 2013
SAQ: 00522763 $41.60
Wonderfully aromatic, dark cherries, blackberries and lush raisin fruit dominate. The round palate shows notes of caramel, and bits of fruitcake with well integrated tannin for texture and complexity. Juicy, fresh acidity with a nicely balanced finish. Drink now or in the next 8-10 years.
Monte Olmi Amarone della Valpolicella 2011
SAQ: 12448451 $85.75
Pretty aromatics of blackberries, prunes and subtle violet notes on the nose. The juicy and elegant palate is bursting with fig, cassis, and plums. There are some tertiary elements here…a bit forest floor and hints of leather. There is some sweet oak spice that plays on the palate with some refined tannins with a very long persistent finish. Mature, complex flavours that linger on the palate. This is quite the wine. Drink now or in the next 8-10 years.