This coming weekend sees us in Washington DC alongside all 11 fellow members of the Amarone Families. Our wines will be on tasting in the morning in the Washington Marriott Wardman Park Hotel as part of the National Italian American Foundation’s (NIAF) 40th Anniversary Gala Weekend. The wines will be on tasting (in our case Villa Rizzardi Amarone Classico 2009) from 1:30pm to 3:00pm.
On the evening of Saturday the 17th approximately a thousand guests will attend the NIAF’s gala dinner, the dinner will be accompanied exclusively by wines from the Amarone families and it is sure to be a memorable evening.
Following this we will be present and pouring Calcarole Amarone Classico 2009 on Sunday the 18th in the Italian Embassy, Washington from 11:30 to 5pm. It promises to be a busy weekend and a great showcase for our Amarone
Calcarole Amarone 2006 (Centenary, Limited Edition) was submitted to all the major Italian guides for their 2016 editions.
Vini Buoni d’Italia as usual is the first of those guides to announce its top wines – Le Corone (The Crowns) – and we are delighted to say that the 2006 Calcarole CE has received the top accolade of Un Corona.
This limited edition Amarone (3,333 bottles) spent an extra year in large oak and a total of three years in bottle before its due release date. It was released last year to mark the centenary of the modern company through of the union by marriage of two historic winemaking families the Guerrieri and the Rizzardi. Calcarole 2006 CE has already picked up 93 points from Monica Larner for the Wine Advocate and 94 points from Marcus del Monego MW so this is a nice addition to its list of achievements.
This year, on June 25th, we are delighted to be taking part in The Definitive Italian Wine Tasting in London.
Seen as one of the UKs most important Italian wine events and running for 17 years the event is attended by sommeliers, buyers, journalists and other key members of the UK wine trade.
We will be showing 6 of our wines at the New Generation Wines table:
Calcarole Amarone Classico 2009
Villa Rizzardi Amarone Classico 2009
Pojega Valpolicella Ripasso Superiore Classico 2012
Clos Roareti Veneto Merlot 2009
Munus Bardolino Superiore Classico 2012
Soave Classico 2014
If you are in London, we hope you can come visit us at table No.35.
Thursday 25 June 2015
10.00 – 19.00 hrs
The Lindley Hall, Royal Horticultural Halls
Elverton St, London SW1P 2QW
Villa Rizzardi Amarone Classico 2009 – 91 points
“A well-knit red, with lightly chewy tannins framing the subtle flavor range of plump cherry, black licorice drop, fresh forest floor and espresso crème. A hint of cocoa powder mixes with the sweet fruit on the finish. Drink now through 2025” (April 2015)
Soave Classico 2013 – 88 points
“Light-bodied and zesty, this fresh white offers a spicy streak of minerality and subtle notes of yellow apple, spring blossom and sliced almond, revealing a hint of beeswax on the finish. Drink now through 2018..” (April 2015)
Calcarole Amarone Classico 2006 Centenary Edition – 93 points
“The 2006 Amarone della Valpolicella Classico Calcarole Centenary marks the 100th anniversary of Guerrieri Rizzardi in its modern form. One barrel of the 2006 Amarone Classico Calcarole was set aside to undergo an extra year of barrel aging. It then rested in bottles for three years before its release in 2014. The blend is roughly 70% Corvina, 20% Rondinella and 10% Barbera that sees a total of four years in wood. This celebratory wine is extremely elegant and fine with aged aromas of pressed fruit, cured meat, spice and licorice. Smooth tannins and bright acidity will help the wine age for ten more years.” (Monica Larner Feb.’15)
Calcarole Amarone Classico 2009 – 91 points
“The 2009 Amarone della Valpolicella Classico Calcarole opens to dark fruit layers, juicy berry flavors and loads of exotic spice and tobacco. The wine is comprised of 60% Corvina, 17% Corvinone, 10% Sangiovese, 10% Barbera and 3% Rondinella. This creative blend of indigenous Italian red grapes does not follow the traditional formula for Amarone. It does offer bright intensity, balanced acidity and pretty endnotes of pressed rose and violet. The terraced Calcarole vineyard has calcareous soils with a shallow substrata of rock.” (Monica Larner Feb.’15)
Villa Rizzardi Amarone Classico 2009 – 89 points
“The 2009 Amarone della Valpolicella Classico Villa Rizzardi is a dark and deeply concentrated wine with loads of dark fruit and spice that lift heavily from the bouquet. Thick streaks of pressed blackberry, cured meat, teriyaki and barbecue smoke run though this fleshy Amarone. The finish is dense, soft, chewy and slightly sweet.” (Monica Larner Feb.’15)
Soave Classico 2013 – 88 points
“Floral scents of peach blossom, broom and a whiff of pear mingle in the glass. On the bright palate, toasted almond and aromatic herb give interest to the core of Golden Delicious apple and citrus. It’s refreshing and balanced with vibrant acidity.” (Kerin O’ Keefe 2015)
With over 350 years of passion in Valpolicella wine Guerrieri Rizzardi joins the Amarone Families
As of today Guerrieri Rizzardi has officially become a member of the Association of Amarone Families. The Association founded in 2009 brings together the most important companies in Valpolicella, companies united in their care of production, preservation of historical heritage and commitment to the international promotion of Amarone, the most prestigious of Veronese red wines.
Guerrieri Rizzardi becomes the youngest Associate of the Amarone Families, although its wine history is among the most ancient in the Valpolicella region with the Counts Rizzardi acquiring Pojega estate in Negrar as early as 1649. The marriage, in 1913, of Carlo Rizzardi to Giuseppina Guerrieri – whose Bardolino estate dated back to the XV century – brought about the Guerrieri Rizzardi of today, merging the two historic estates. The first label under the name Guerrieri Rizzardi appeared in 1914.
Since then, the Rizzardi family have developed the company through continuous improvements in the vineyard and in the cellar, to become a producer of complex wines, wines directly linked to the land of origin. The continued aim is to improve the work done in the vineyards and the cellar, allowing ever greater expression of the vineyards in the wines. The company at the same time keeps a clear eye on the future with the goal of protecting and furthering the position of Amarone in the world of wine – a goal shared with the other associates of the Amarone Families.
The entrance of Guerrieri Rizzardi to the association further consolidates this select group of companies dedicated to the enhancement of Amarone, a symbol of Veronese excellence.
The full range is available to taste comprising all the latest vintage releases including; Single vineyard Soave Classico Costeggiola 2014 and Single vineyard Bardolino Classico Tacchetto 2014.
Also on Sunday three vintages of Calcarole Amarone will be available to taste from the recently released Centenary Edition 2006 through the 92+ point 2008 to the 2009 – Italian Red Wine of the Year (Gambero Rosso 2014).
From the walled vineyard of Roverti in the heart of Negrar, this single vineyard Merlot has become synonymous with the Rizzardi Valpolicella estate. The vines were planted at the start of this century in a heavy clay soil that proved perfectly suited to Merlot.
From the experimental first vintage of 2004 our Merlot has won many friends amongst critic, buyers and wine lovers the world over. Only made in the best years when we believe the vineyard shows it’s true merits this 100% Merlot is aged for 12 months in small French oak barrels then allowed to rest in bottle for up to 3 years before release. We skipped 2010 and are just now releasing the 2011 which has really come into it’s own in the last 6 months and we feel is now ready to approached.
We recommend decanting for at least an hour before serving at around 16°C or 60°F.
A LITTLE SUN AMONG MANY CLOUDS …
The harvest year 2014 will be remembered for the very rainy conditions during the growth cycle of the vines: an abnormal vintage, in which the grower has had to try to adapt his work in the vineyard to the conditions. A very demanding year both in terms of the amount of work and the costs involved.
After a fairly mild winter variable weather in Spring led to millerandage (simultaneous presence in the bunch normal grapes and under developed grapes) especially on sensitive varieties.
The rains, constant and regular, fell between May and the end of August, with about 300 mm in July, causing a lot of work to prevent attacks of mildew and other rot. We calculated an increased vineyard work load of between 30% and 40%. Luckily a more normal in September followed which favoured a more balanced vintage. September and October were the least rainy (less than 100 mm per month) of the months from May to August; a very rare event.
We had to undergo strict grape selection in all our vineyards and to bring in only healthy grapes was the primary objective of this vintage – we also encountered some pleasant surprises in terms of quality.
Harvest in Bardolino & Valdadige
The harvest began on August 22nd with Muscat in Bardolino followed by Chardonnay in Valdadige on the 27th : healthy grapes with good ripeness, which gave fresh, fragrant wines with a great drinkability.
For red grapes, we harvested between the 15th and 23rd of September, interrupted by some rain, the younger vines of Sangiovese, Merlot, Corvina and Rondinella. Then, on September 30th , we harvested the most qualitative vineyards, with ripe grapes and strict selection in the vineyard, for the production of our red Bardolino.
Overall, the good and successful management of the windows of good weather that appeared between September and October, has allowed us to select healthy grapes to bring into the cellar. In the end, we are much happier than the bleak forecasts earlier in the year would suggest.
Quantitatively there has definitely been a drop in production, but qualitatively the grapes arriving into the winery were healthy and with good ripeness. The wines had good colour, perfumed red fruit and spice, very fresh and tasty. A more than satisfactory result in a difficult year like 2014.
Harvest in Negrar, Valpolicella
Even in Negrar, until mid-September, we wondered if we would have had grapes with a level of maturity and health status suitable to be put in for drying.
Then the conditions gradually improved and we decided to begin selecting the grapes. We collected between the 18th and 24th of September, in a period of good weather, about 11,000 boxes of grapes, placing only the best grapes in the boxes – well spaced, to promote maximum ventilation.
To date the grapes have dried in a gradual and uniform fashion, benefiting from excellent drying conditions in the fruttai (drying houses).
The grapes in the fruttaio are firstly Corvina (about 40% of the total), then Corvinone (about 30%) and Rondinella (about 20%) with a small part of Barbera, Sangiovese and Molinara (together about 10% of the total). Of the grapes used 85% come from our ‘row culitvated’ vineyards (Rovereti, Calcarole, Vigolo and Tomenighe) while the remaining 15% come from our ‘pergola cultivated’ vineyard of Pojega.
Therefore less grapes from vineyards planted by the pergola system where maturation was undoubtedly more complicated than with rowed vineyards, trellised rows being a distinct advantage this year in terms of sun exposure and ventilation.
The grapes for the production of Valpolicella began on September 15th with the Croatina grapes of Pojega then on September 16th we harvested the Merlot by machine. It should be noted that in late August we carried out, by hand, defoliation of the Merlot vines and the removal of all green grapes or those affected by mould. This was the recurrent theme of this vintage: strict selection to bring into the cellar healthy grapes.
On September 29th we harvested, by hand, the vineyards of Calcarole and Rovereti, then dedicated ourselves from the 7th of October to the harvest of the old ‘pergolas’ of Pojega vineyard and here too strict selection was needed.
On October 15th we concluded with the Corvinone of Pigozzara, a vineyard at the foot of Calcarole where also for the first time we have selected grapes for the drying process.
In Valpolicella we have produced wine which is very fresh and aromatic, with a distinct personality, wine that will please many; not too full-bodied and powerful, more accessible.
Harvest in Soave
Despite some hail on the 25th of June and 3rd of August and the increased rain the vineyards of Soave faired well. With the added benefit that the frequent rains meant we had no need to resort to irrigation rescue, commonly a practice in June and July, especially on land with the volcanic soils.
On August 29th we collected the Chardonnay which was mature and with optimal freshness and aroma and a balanced sugar level. This year the preservation of aromas was the goal of the harvest of white grapes – to grasp the potential of freshness and fragrance of grapes. Then from September the 24th to 25th, the youngest vines of Garganega were harvested, leaving only the grapes in the oldest and best exposed.
vineyard parcels for later.
Finally on the 9th and 10th of October, we picked these completing the harvest Monte Roccheta and then the central part of the hill of Costeggiola – grapes destined to be the foundation of our Cru Soave: Costeggiola.
This year, the freshness and aroma of the wines are the main features of our whites and we can now talk about a very positive vintage.
The wines have typicity and are fresh with pleasant flavour and fruity characters especially of peach, apple and pear, yet also floweral. The grapes ultimately have given wines with an intense and beautiful structure.