The Inside Story from Italian Wine Merchants

Expert Picks: Venturini Massimino and Nicolis

Posted on | October 22, 2015 | Written by Will Di Nunzio | No Comments

will expertLast week, I had the great pleasure of spending some time with an old friend and client. He is hosting a Veneto-themed party, and we decided to taste through a number of incredible wines from the Valpolicella. Many of us forget, or do not know, that the Valpolicella Valley is quite big and is actually three valleys. While wines are made across all three, the ones you and I know about are mainly from the western-most valley called zona classica. This is where Valpolicella’s great winemakers reside, including Quintarelli, Dal Forno, Bussola and many, many others. It’s not often that you get to have a tasting dedicated only to Valpolicella wines, and I was really stunned by two wines that we’ve carried for a long time. I’m sharing them with you.

Venturini Massimino 2014 Valpolicella Classico $15.99

A beautiful estate extending over 110 hectares and at 812 feet above sea level, Venturini has an insane view of the Valpolicella Valley. Located in San Floriano (southwest of Negrar, home of Quintarelli) Venturini produces five extraordinary wines and this Valpolicella is no exception. A blend of Corvina, Rondinella and Molinara, the Valpolicella Classico is a playful, light-bodied red wine that offers delicate fruit, a pretty bouquet and lovely elegance for your small bites this fall. A truly perfect Tuesday night wine!

Nicolis 2006 Amarone della Valpolicella Ambrosan $89.70

San Pietro in Cariano, sits in the heart of Valpolicella’s zona classica. It’s a small village at best, and it’s where Angelo Nicolis founded his winery in 1951. Back then, Amarone was not Amarone; it was Recioto. With the discovery of the “bitter” version of this sweet wine came Recioto della Valpolicella Amarone, a wine that finally got its own DOC in 1969, forever changing the world of wine. Velvety, layered, dimensional, bold, Amarone is a “thinking wine” that’s unique to the Valpolicella Valley. Nicolis, like Giuseppe Quintarelli, understood the wine’s specialness and consistently improved on his Amarone, fine-tuning it to be the masterpiece it is today. Of the many Amarones at this price point, Nicolis’s Ambrosan is likely the best value out there. Tasting it this time gave me the opportunity to concentrate on it, spend time with it and revisit it later that evening. What outstanding balance! Gloriously put together, with fine tannins, and luscious fruit, it was the perfect match for a piece of Parmiggiano Reggiano with a little honey drizzled over it. This was the wine of the night for me.

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