We will be at Barker Hangar pouring the Tre Bicchieri winning Calcarole Amarone della Valpolicella Classico 2011 as well as Pojega Valpolicella Ripasso Classico Superiore 2014 (Due Bicchieri Rossi) and our Valpolicella Classico (Due Bicchieri).
How do you improve a Cru vineyard? The answer is with a lot of care, maintenance and hard work and then on top of that a renovation!
That is exactly what we have done to the historic, Cru vineyard of Pojega in the heart of Negrar in Valpolicella.
The vineyard was replanted in 1978 in neat rows of high trellised vines (double Veronese pergola). Now, decades later, every year calls for regular work in the vineyard: the replacing of the supports, trimming of edges, replanting of spent vines.
However this year saw an even bigger project at Pojega. This year we removed all excess vegetation from the eastern side of the vineyard and made room for at least two new rows of vines to be planted. Two rows that will run the entire length of the vineyard.
At the northern part of Pojega, by clearing and preparing the land, we have created space which will allow us to extend each row of vines by several metres.
In addition removing excess wild growth around the edges of the vineyards can help to improve the health of the vines themselves. Being sensitive pants grapevines proximity to other large plant growth can cause problems.
All of which means that Pojega vineyard – from which comes both Villa Rizzardi Amarone Classico and Pojega Ripasso – will cover approximately an extra 1/3 of a hectare and one day those extra vines should be the source of over 2,000 bottles of much needed (as it runs out earlier and earlier every year!) Pojega Ripasso.
In its 87th edition the Bardolino Grape & Wine Festival attracts thousands of visitors every year. Set along the lakeshore, the festival is an arcade of stalls where visitors get the chance to sample a plethora of Bardolino wines from many of the region’s key producers. Alongside the wine there is plenty of food on offer and entertainment too.
Central to the festival is the annual prize giving in which a select number of wines and vineyards are awarded each year, vineyards or wines that have shown themselves to best the DOC’s finest. The awards are conferred upon the producers and wine estates by the Commune di Bardolino.
This year we are very pleased with a triple haul of gold medals, two of which were awarded to our vineyards and one to our Bardolino Classico DOC 2015.
It is particularly rewarding for us to see the vineyards (Tacchetto & our organic vineyard) come out on top and adding to lasts year’s vineyard award. Fitting well with our belief and philosophy, which centres on concentrating our efforts on the land and on the vines.
MERUM, the specialist magazine on Italian wine which boasts a wide readership in Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Italy has just completed a review of Bardolino wines.
Renowned wine journalist Andreas März tasted over 50 Bardolino reds, mostly from the 2015 vintage. The wines came from 45 different producers and of the 50 wines ten received the highest rating of 2 hearts.
We are delighted to say that two of those wines were from Guerrieri Rizzardi. The Bardolino Classico DOP 2015 and ‘Tacchetto’ Bardolino Classico DOP 2015 both achieved a 2 heart rating.
The 2015 will long be remembered as one of the region’s best in recent years and we are particularly happy our vineyard expression ‘Tacchetto’. We believe Tacchetto has the potential to age and as it develops to show a more complex side to Bardolino red wine.
Often Amarone production is cited as one of the wine world’s most labour intensive processes and with good reason.
To get things right does take a lot of work from the handpicking, to hand selecting, to grape drying and constant reviewing of the dried grapes, to the long fermentation, blending, barrel aging. bottle ageing etc. etc.
But even before any of that starts there is work to be done and in our pursuit of wines that are pristine expressions of the vineyards, cleaning the very boxes the grapes are carried in is no mean task!
Although not as romantic as straw mats we made the switch several years ago to these white boxes, the choice was one of hygene, here everything shows up and can be cleaned away.
The next step is to wet the boxes, softening up the residue and getting them ready to enter the box washer.
The ‘box washer’ is like a large powerful dishwasher and it successfully annihilates any residue left on our boxes
The boxes are then stacked by hand and placed in columns then with the aid of the forklift they will be put aside in clean condition to await the first harvest, which this year – judging by the incredible sunshine – could only be around 10 weeks away!
A couple of days of rainfall, a couple of thunderstorms and temperatures soaring up over 27°C and Ravei has changed quite a bit in the last three weeks.
The vine growth has been excellent and the leaves are glossy and healthy and should these weather pattern continued for the early part of the summer then the young vines will be off to a very good start.
Ravei sits on a gentle slope that faces south west giving it good exposure to the afternoon sun, it is also quite sheltered, a little bit of a suntrap.As can be seen from the photograph below the vineyard is nestled between an ancient olive grove and in the foreground another vineyard.
Here can be seen the contrast between the traditional ‘pergola’ trained vines and the neat rows of trellis posts which will eventually be used to ‘train’ the vines of Ravei in rows.
The advantages to us of this ‘single Guyot’ training system are numerous, not least is the equal, well displaced exposure to the sun that each vine will receive.
Some changes already underway for our new vineyard ‘Ravei’. A few days of rain interspersed with sunny spells followed by several warm sunny days has resulted in a good burst of growth in the baby vines.
Breaking through the wax coating we are expecting rapid growth over the next few weeks.
At first the vines are free standing but already trellising posts are in place and soon the wires will go through each of these posts providing the structure for these little vines.
As with all our vineyards, this will be a place in which we encourage biodiversity, here are some of nature’s best pest controllers in action, happy to see this ‘coccinella’ in the vineyard:
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