2019 Ca’ La Bionda Malavoglia Valpolicella Ripasso Classico Superiore

Cà La Bionda is located in Marano di Valpolicella, the heart of classic Valpolicella. The winery was founded in 1902 by Pietro Castellani  (namesake of the current owner), and is currently run by fourth generation brothers Alessandro, as winemaker and Nicola, as viticulturist. The winery owns 29 hectares (or approximately 72 acres) of land, mainly cultivated with vineyards, on a hilly terrain at an altitude that varies between 450 and 1,500 feet. The vineyards maintain an easterly-to-southeasterly exposure. The wines produced are a faithful expression of the terroir and of the Marano valley. The grapes in the cuvee are the classic varietals, Corvina, Corvinone, Rondinella, and Molinara, and the vinification and aging techniques are traditional. The company has been certified organic since 2016 and in 2008, together with other producers in the region, it contributed to the birth of FIVI: the Italian Federation of Independent Winegrowers. Members of FIVI are winemakers who manage their entire supply chain: the wineries cultivate their vineyards, make wine from estate-grown grapes, bottle their wines and directly manage sales.

The Malavoglia is a charming wine, made in the traditional Ripasso style, which involves the refermentation of the wine on the skins and pomace of the Amarone wines. The process is used to enrich the color, aromas, and sugars, which when allowed a long, second fermentation, increases the intensity and quality of the base Valpolicella. The refermentation takes place in 2,000 and 3,000 liter oak barrels for about 18 months. The grapes used in the wine are :  70% Corvina, 20% Corvinone, 5% Rondinella, and 5% Molinara. The vineyards supplying the Malavoglia grapes are planted on soil that is mainly calcareous-clay, with a granitic, and fossilized sub-soil. The soil type contributes to the longevity of the wine. The age of vines varies from 3 to 30 years and the yield per hectare is limited to 80 quintals (high volume, commercial vineyards generally produce between 200 and 300 quintals of grapes per hectare) .

My tasting note:

Lovely nose. Crushed rose petals, dried cherries and cardamom notes. Well-balanced with supple tannins and firm acidity. Earthy with stewed fruit and tarry notes. Eucalyptus and violets. Seductive. Long finish. Should improve with some bottle age.