Castellani 2013 “San Michele” Valpolicella Classico Ripasso

Posted by Keith Wallace

Some call this style a “Baby Amarone,” which is kinda like comparing a ribeye steak to a cheesesteak. Sure they come from the same place, and they both are damn delicious, but that’s where the similarities end. If you aren’t sure what an Amarone is, you can check out this description.

Castellani 2013 San Michele Valpolicella Classico Ripasso
Castellani 2013 San Michele Valpolicella Classico Ripasso

In a Ripasso, the leftover grape skins from Amarone are added to a batch of Valpolicella. This brings some extra tannins, yeasts, and grape sugar into the mix. The result is a totally new style of wine that originated in the late 20th century.  It’s the wine version of shopping at a second-hand boutique. You get a lot of classes for a lot less money. At the same time, the average Amarone costs around $40, a delicious bottle of ripasso costs less than $25.

This ripasso offers up rich earthy notes up front, with a hint of smoked game. There is a comforting softness on the palate, fresh blueberry, and a hint of garrigue on the mid-palate. The finish moves toward toasted hay and licorice. Very nicely done. A great wine to have with grilled lamb kebabs.

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