Well, it's been a bit of time since I last updated this and quite a lot has been going on, especially of a wine-related category. More on that in another post, though....
Your wine this week is the fantabulous Falasco Valpolicella Ripasso (the one I had was a 2004). Valpolicella is traditionally made with corvina, rondinella and molinara grapes (although this specific one is made without molinara). Ripasso is a Veronese term which means "go over again," and this is what is done with this wine.
Ripasso is an Italian process used in Valpolicella to give more richness to the Valpolicella. It also assumes that the grower also makes Amarone.
Amarone is made with dehydrated grapes which have lost 30% or 40% of their juice by drying the grapes in open air (today this is done in modern, computer-controlled conditions; it used to be done in drying houses, which were basically giant barns). The wine is then pressed and that viscous liquid is put in barriques to age from 1 year to 18 months; with time, the lees drop to the bottom and the wine is clear. After bottling, the lees of the Amarone are kept in the cask which is then filled with Valpolicella. The new wine—which is now called a ripasso—stays for about 3 months and the lees are still able to transfer aromatic elements to the new wine which becomes rounder and richer.
So, you get some of the qualities of an Amarone without the steep price! And let me tell you, this wine is a beauty... Plums, cherries, hints of anise. Just delicious! It's got smooth tannins and nice acidity, so you can drink it by itself (which is how I had it) It's a medium-bodied wine, which allows it to be matched with a wide range of foods: pasta with tomato-based sauces, meats, roasted fowl, etc. This wine is very drinkable right now, but you could also lay some down for the next 3-5 years (if you can hold out with it that long!), so it's also a good investment.
The best part? It's $15.00! Considering the price of some West Coast U.S. wines, this is an excellent value. so, go grab some today!