With summer just a couple of weeks away, I know many of your are looking for lighter and lower alcohol reds. Ca La Bionda's Valpolicella Classico is exactly that! It is also a masterful version of this classic Italian red, and it is one I can't wait for you all to try.
Don't think just because it's light in body that it's lacking in flavor or character. Far from it, this is a wine that offers up Red Burgundy and Cru Beaujolais-like nuances of freshly picked cherry and raspberry, with pink peppercorn and violet notes adding depth and complexity. I was lucky to get 10 cases of this micro-production wine. That is all we'll see for the vintage.
2020 Ca' La Bionda Valpolicella Classico
If you love Pinot Noir and/or Gamay, you need to try this lovely organic red!
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Alessandro Castellini makes one of the prettiest Valpolicellas I've ever tasted. It is a wine of elegance, sophistication, and beautiful aromatics, and it comes from a wonderful, certified organic, family-run estate. At just 12.5% alcohol, it truly is "joy in a bottle." Not too heavy but certainly not light, this is my idea of the quintessential summer red.
Imagine an elegant Red Burgundy crossed with a snappy Fleurie or Morgon, and you'll get a good idea of what this wine is like. I don't know if you have checked prices on high quality Red Burgundies or Cru Beaujolais' lately. I have, and both start at $30 and go up from there. That is why this is such a stellar value and one of the top Italian red wine deals out there.
Valpolicella is located in Northeastern Italy, just south of Verona. For years, the wines from this region that made it to the US far from thrilling -- think Bolla and Folonari. They were fine for washing down pizza and spaghetti, but they weren't very thought provoking. Ca La Bionda's version is exactly the opposite -- this is a wine that is both easy to drink and contemplative, and I love it!
For Alessandro Castellani and his family, this wine is their passion project. Sure, they also make an incredible Amarone, and we stock that too, but this is the wine they are trying to prove something with. They are doing just that by working with old vines, farming organically, harvesting and sorting by hand, and fermenting with native yeasts. Their hard work has paid off, and I'll bet you a bottle of this that their wines will soon be the "talk of the town" among sommeliers and wine critics and writers.
For those looking for a lighter, lower tannin, and lower alcohol red that is still full or charm and character, this is the ticket. Mainly Corvina with the balance in Corvinone, Rondinella, and Molinara, this is fermented in stainless steel to preserve freshness and verve. Aged for 3 months to let the wine settle, the finished wine is lively, easy-drinking, and ideal for everyday drinking with good company.
This is not a Ripasso or an Amarone folks. It is a much fresher, brighter, and aromatically pleasing red that showcases aromas and flavors of freshly picked red berries, flowers, crushed peppercorn, anise, and exotic spices. At the end of the day, this is my ideal red wine to enjoy when the temperatures are rising.
As with many Pinot Noirs and Gamays, I prefer to drink this wine slightly chilled (55 degrees). This helps to showcase the glorious red fruits, and it also makes the wine even more refreshing. Enjoy with everything from wood-fired pizzas, roasted pork loin, or spaghetti with marinara. I'm getting hungry and thirsty just thinking about it!
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