VALPOLICELLA RIPASSO: winemaking and food pairings.

Valpolicella Ripasso is one of Tenute Salvaterra’s premium wines and its crafting was a landmark in the history of Veneto winemaking.

The fascinating story behind this wine began last century in times when the needs of everyday life dictated that “nothing must be thrown away”, not even grape skins.

In those days, Valpolicella was made with varying percentages of Corvina, Corvinone and Rondinella grapes, but the wine turned out to be light, excessively fresh, difficult to conserve and characterless. Then someone had the idea of steeping the grape skins leftover from the making of Amarone and Recioto in the Valpolicella and fermenting it a second time.

Today, the basic technique is still the same; maceration and fermenting times differ, but the Veneto’s tradition of “Ripasso”, i.e. ‘repassing’ the wine over the skins, lives on. Although this method is unique to Veneto, it is a distant relative of the “Governo” technique used to make some Tuscan wines.

Use of the “Ripasso” technique provides Valpolicella with character, roundness and colour. During its 15-to-20-day maceration period, it absorbs the skins’ residual tannins and their deep anthocyanins to turn a traditional product into a superior quality wine. As a mark of its quality, Valpolicella Ripasso was awarded Italy’s Controlled Designation of Origin (DOC) status in 2010.

Since then, it has enjoyed a surge in popularity, and today Valpolicella Ripasso is a preferred choice for wine-lovers of all ages.

Its deep ruby red colour, garnet hues and full body combine with intensely spicy notes and high alcohol content to pair perfectly with a wide range of food. It has even been called a “meditation wine”.

Valpolicella Ripasso pairs beautifully with Lardo di Colonnata on toasted bread, as well as with the strong flavours of the Veneto’s renowned cuisine: from duck in a salami and anchovy sauce, Treviso’s radicchio risotto and Belluno’s Casunzei beetroot ravioli, to its traditional meat and delicate game dishes.

INTEGRATED VINEYARD MANAGEMENT. Sustainability and eco-compatibility: two of Tenute Salvaterra’s missions.

Rational, modern management of vineyards and their soil has proven to be an excellent means of safeguarding the environment.

One reason Tenute Salvaterra is integrating its vineyard management is to enhance quality, but principally it is to ensure greater eco-compatibility and economic sustainability.

 

Assessing a vineyard and then applying integrated management are labour-intensive and complex operations that comprise a wide range of action geared towards reducing the impact of grape-growing on the soil, local population, air and water.

 

Integrated management involves the responsible use of key farming practices, such as irrigation and pesticides. However, regardless of whether producers use green manure, living mulch or slash pesticide use, what matters is that major progress has been made in recent years and awareness has been raised that pesticides have great potential, but need to be used responsibly.

 

Tenute Salvaterra has always done its utmost to ensure that its grapes are grown with a respectful use of resources.

Consequently, we see soil as a unique and unfortunately finite asset, and we recognise that it is the key to a magical, extraordinary product: wine.

 

The values behind our work philosophy—respect, love, patience, flair and passion—provide a solid foundation for our mission, which is to safeguard soil, the origin of our wine.

 

The main objective of Tenute Salvaterra is to strike a balance between work and life, as it is this very balance that governs the natural environment where our wine begins.

 

Terroir and territory: recognising wine by its ties to a region.

In Veneto, wine is spoken of as an absolute concept, as it encapsulates values and tradition, habit and innovation, conviviality and respect, resemblance and difference.

As you journey from Verona to Padua, via Vicenza, and then head to Treviso and Venice, the countryside is covered with vineyards that stretch towards the horizon, giving the impression that Veneto is one large vineyard. Nothing could be further from the truth.

 

Valpolicella, Amarone, Rosso Veneto, Cabernet, Recioto, Pinot, Raboso and Tocai are just some of Veneto’s wide variety of successful wines.

Though short, this list illustrates that the hallmark of this rich and varied region is its diversity.

Veneto is often associated solely with Amarone and its many prestigious variations, but this would not do the region justice.

 

Its characteristic terroirs have left their mark on an extremely long list of wines.

Minerals, body, intense aromatic bouquet and grape-growing tradition are as prominent in the region’s most illustrious wines as they are in its lesser-known small-scale varieties.

 

Terroir is thus an essential feature of Veneto winemaking, as it is for a host of other regions as well.

Terroir is often erroneously associated solely with soil composition, with the unbreakable bond between vine and soil.

 

The term, however, comprises all of the hidden intrinsic characteristics that can only be perceived on the palate, as well as production methods and grape-growing techniques.

 

Terroir is everything that enables a wine-lover to taste a region and its traditions.

It is what imprints wine with its own distinctive identity, which is highly sought both on the label and on the palate.

A wine should reflect ourselves, and we need to recognise the origins and hallmarks that entice us to buy it.

 

Terroir is also the relationship between producer and vine: the job and passion of everyone at Tenute Salvaterra.

 

MORE THAN JUST REDS. Tenute Salvaterra cracks open its Pinot Grigio to usher in the summer.

Summer is coming. Routine and pace of life change, and with them our taste in wine.

Long dinners and a glass of red by the fireside make way for an aperitif and dinner on the terrace, nibbles and crostini, accompanied by the brilliant notes and fresh, fruity and floral aromas of a glass of white.

 

Here in Veneto, north-east Italy, in an area overlooking Lake Garda, Prosecco vineyards are replaced by rows of a white grape that today epitomises the region and lends its freshness and mineral notes to one of Salvaterra’s finest creations: Pinot Grigio.

 

The Pinot Gris grape was created by a naturally occurring genetic mutation in the more renowned Pinot Noir variety that changed the colour of its berries.

Native to Alsace, it started to make its way around the world from the 1850s. It also reached Italy, where it is known as “Pinot Grigio”, and became especially popular in the north-east, in the area that stretches from Friuli’s Collio to Trentino and the heartland of Veneto. Pinot Gris ripens extremely quickly, despite being highly sensitive due to the size and shapes its fruit. It is therefore ideal for growing at a range of altitudes, as the higher the vineyard, the longer the grape takes to ripen fully.

 

Over the years, oenologists have studied two parallel winemaking methods for this variety. The first involves leaving the juice in contact with the skins; the second more traditional method involves extracting the juice and discarding the skins. The first is a much rarer method, as it is more complex and produces fuller-bodied wines with intense aromas.

 

Salvaterra’s Pinot Grigio is made with the traditional winemaking process. A combination of advanced growing techniques, delaying harvest by about a week, and controlled-temperature pressing contribute to the crafting of an elegant wine with sophisticated notes of acidity and minerals.

 

The result of Tenute Salvaterra’s devotion to traditional winemaking is a Pinot Grigio that is complex, elegant and refined in equal measure, making it the perfect complement to a host of summer dishes. It makes a delightful aperitif, but can also be served throughout a meal. It is a worthy accompaniment to fish antipasti, pasta and risotto dishes, as well as the majority of Mediterranean cuisine.

UNLIKELY PAIRINGS? Amarone and chocolate: the perfect combination!

“Amarone della Valpolicella” is a symbol of Italy’s wine culture and the embodiment of finesse and elegance, tradition and authoritativeness. Its discovery, however, came only after a chance event involving Recioto.

In Roman times, wine was temperamental, making it difficult to transport and store for long periods. To counter this, the Romans began to dry the grapes with a technique known today in Italian as appassimento. Drying the grapes concentrated sugar levels, which made them perfect for making very strong wine.

The story goes that a cellar master forgot to remove the must from a barrel of Recioto, a process that interrupts fermentation and keeps sugar levels high. As a result, the wine had fermented completely, leaving it dry and strong, but it was pleasing to the eye and to the palate. Thus, the cornerstone of Italy’s modern wine industry was created by mistake.

Today, Amarone enjoys international fame and is recommended as a pairing for classic dishes, such as game and rich, fatty food, as well as for seasoned cheeses and charcuterie. But why not move with the times and experiment with wine as people do with cuisine?

Its aromatic notes and full body have made Amarone an established complement for chocolate, but once this pairing would have been frowned upon.

Whether Amarone is used as an ingredient or accompanies a meal, serving it with chocolate creates a match made in heaven.

Below are two simple dishes that use Amarone and chocolate to stunning effect.

– AMARONE VIALONE NANO RISOTTO: cream of smoked aubergine and toasted chopped cocoa beans.

– EXTRA-DARK CHOCOLATE LAVA CAKE: peach coulis and flakes of Maldon salt served with a glass of our finest “Amarone Riserva di Tenute Salvaterra”.

These two dishes demonstrate that this most traditional of wines can be paired creatively and its uses revolutionised.

With clever promotion and raised awareness, Amarone can take centre stage on important occasions, but still be a symbol of Veneto’s proud wine culture and part of day-to-day cuisine.

 

Semptember, October and November: phases of the wine growing

September, October and November are important months in the life of both vineyards and wine. September sees the start of the harvest and leaf-fall stages, during which the vines start to replenish their reserves. Then, in December, the vines begin to fall dormant until the bud-breaking stage in spring.

Not all producers, however, start harvesting their grapes at the same time, and this is even true for vineyards in the same area! Harvesting is governed by a range of factors, including ripeness, exposure, weather, region, and much more. This is why the harvesting stage may run from September to November.

November is an extremely delicate month because the arrival of cold weather puts vine health at risk. One such risk is “leaf-drop”, a disease that attacks the foliage and causes premature defoliation.

Nevertheless, it is the perfect time to visit wineries. Producers have just finished harvesting their crop, and while they, too, are recuperating their strength, they can devote their time to welcoming visitors, giving vineyard tours, and recounting their winery’s history.

November also sees the publication of various wine-rankings and the awarding of scores and acknowledgements, just as the post-summer market gets underway.

Both wine and wineries are bubbling with activity!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tenuta di Cazzano di Tramigna

Tenuta di Cazzano di Tramigna is the only Salvaterra estate with pergola-trained vineyards. This system involves growing grapes on a framework of pillars atop of which sit horizontal or diagonal crossbeams that create a sort of roof. The vines are pruned with a special technique to ensure optimum production. The pergolas, to which the vines are tied, are perfect for steeply sloping terrains and enable maximum exploitation of their exposure to sunlight.

Pergola-training is perfect for this estate, as it perches on a hillside ranging from 300 to 400 metres above sea level. Although this type of vineyard dates back to ancient times, when production is limited, it produces superior quality grapes that make thick, elegant wines.

Its grapes are used to produce Amarone, Ripasso, Valpolicella, and Lazzarone.

The village of Cazzano di Tramigna is home to just 1,500 people, but despite its size it contains a number of important monuments, some even dating back to the 12th century. Wine-lovers visiting the area should take a leisurely stroll around the village and then drop by our eponymous estate to see its stunning pergola vineyards.

Tenuta of Mezzane

Tenuta di Mezzane sits on a hilltop, affording visitors breathtaking views of the surrounding scenery. The estate’s lowest vineyards stand at 350 metres above sea level, but the highest perch as high as 450 metres, making them some of the most spectacular locations in Valpolicella.

The particular terrain and high altitude mean that producers have to select the grapevines they plant very carefully. The lowest and steepest vineyards are planted with the thick-skinned Rondinella grape; the middle ground is used for Merlot; and the highest and sunniest slopes are planted with Corvina.

This estate’s soil is a blend of terra rossa and clear fine-grained limestone, which produces grapes that make structured, concentrated, elegant wines.

The grapes from the Tenuta di Mezzane vineyards are used to craft Salvaterra’s Amarone, Ripasso Superiore, Valpolicella, and Lazzarone.

Another hallmark of this area is its wide variety of wildlife, with boar and deer being just two of the animals that roam freely across these hills. Once again, wine embodies a seamless blend of land, life and human passion.

Villa Giona

Villa Giona lies in Cengia, at the heart of Valpolicella, and is one of the Veneto’s regions most breathtaking 16th-century villas. It is a must-go destination for any wine-lovers visiting the area. Visitors can stroll around the villa’s gardens and lake surrounded by hedges and ornamental plants in a setting that combines beauty with nobility.

The vineyards surrounding Villa Giona stretch as far as the premises of Tenute Salvaterra, a winery with its own showroom, tasting room and characteristic ageing-cellar. The winery and the villa stand a short distance apart and are linked by a path leading through the vineyards. From here, visitors can marvel at the cypress trees that dominate the landscape in scenes of incomparable natural beauty.

Villa Giona stands 80 metres above sea level, and its vineyards are planted with a density of 9,600 vines per hectare. This tight spacing makes the vines incredibly hardy, as they are forced to fight for their ration of the soil’s nutrients. Consequently, the vines do not grow very tall and bear fewer grapes, but the wine they produce has extremely distinctive body and structure.

Corvina, Corvinone and Oseleta are the main varieties grown here, and they are used to craft Salvaterra’s Amarone Classico, Ripasso Classico Superiore and Valpolicella Classico.

Villa Giona is unquestionably a must-visit destination for anyone wishing to find out more about Tenute Salvaterra and discover the history and values behind our winery.

Fortunately, Villa Giona is also a hotel, which means visitors can spend a few days here and take a leisurely tour of Valpolicella and the other Tenute Salvaterra estates.

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Our Tenuta di Prun

Tenuta di Prun

“True connoisseurs do not drink wine, but taste secrets.” – Salvador Dalì

What did the great artist mean when he spoke of the art of being passionate about drinking fine wine?
 His words could be interpreted in various ways and, in each one, Dalì implies that wine can sate both palate and mind, being the gateway to a world in which taste is merely one part.

Wine is not only a drink; it is history, passion, work and terroir.

We’d like to dwell on terroir as we tell you about “Tenuta di Prun”, one of the eight estates owned by the SalvaTerra winery.

Prun is a small village in the north of the Valpolicella Classica region. Despite its size, Prun enjoys a certain renown as it is home to quarries from which a special pinkish stone is extracted. Named after the local area, “Prun stone” has been used to construct an array of buildings, including the Verona Arena.

Prun is also the setting for the magnificent Villa SalvaTerra and its stunning vineyard, which has been restored to its original beauty. It is one of the Valpolicella region’s highest vineyards, standing at more than 500 metres above sea level. Its location adds an extra touch of charm, as the vineyard affords visitors breathtaking views across the entire valley.

Prun’s marl soil is covered by topsoil that retains water all year round. Its water reserves, however, are never excessive, making it ideal terrain for growing grapevines, which perform to the peak of their potential when conditions are not entirely perfect.
 The vineyards planted in this soil bear grapes that are used to craft the SalvaTerra winery’s Amarone Classico Riserva Cave di Prun, Amarone Classico, Ripasso Classico Superiore, Valpolicella Classico, and Lazzarone.

Prun, however, is by no means just superior grape-growing country; its vineyards stretch across the entire hillside and surround Villa Salvaterra, creating scenes of unparalleled natural beauty worth a visit in their own right.

The main varieties grown here are Corvina, Corvinone, and Rondinella.