Very dark blackish ruby-garnet. Utterly classic Ripasso nose of earthy, brandy-macerated fresh and dried cherries, with a hint of tar and eucalyptus. Dense, full-bodied, yet with lively, almost prickly acidity. Intensely "winey" and dry flavors of dried chokecherries with a hint of prune (in a good way!). Lengthy, minerally finish. Very very nice. 90. Imported by Banville & Jones Wine Merchants (NJ). Was $18.95 at Central Market, making it a very good value for a Ripasso.
* Ripasso refers to the dual fermentation this wine gets. In Valpolicella, they make both straight Valpo and Amarone di Valpolicella. Straight Valpo is usually fairly light and refreshing. Amarone is made from grapes left to dry for a few weeks before crushing. It makes a rich, high-alcohol wine with deep, dark, dried fruit and tar flavors. Ripasso Valpos are regular Valpos to which the crushed, used skins of the grapes used for Amarone are added just after the Valpo has fully fermented. This triggers additional fermentation and extraction of some of the flavors of the Amarone style wine.