The Rota Fortuna, the medieval Wheel which Dame Fortune spins according to her whims, raising people up and bringing them low, has been busy in Italian wine for decades. In the middle of the last century, Valpolicella rode high in sales, dominating (along with Chianti) the American perception of Italian reds. This was unfortunate, so to speak, inasmuch as the wines were generally mass-produced and insipid, ruining the name for two generations of wine-drinkers. Fortunately, the last twenty years have seen producers like the Grassis take a renewed interest in making wines of character. Grape-growers for generations, in the mid-’90s they began to focus on lower yields and higher quality, farming sustainably, green harvesting, letting the grapes dictate their choices, confident in their quality. Their 2011 Superiore is a combination of equal parts fresh and partly-dried grapes, as is the custom in Valpolicella, which gives the wines delicacy and acidity on the one hand and intensity and concentration on the other. With red berries, dark fruit, and a fascinating under-movement of earth and spice, the nose promises both weight and liveliness. Dark fruit on a full-bodied frame, with earthy, slaty tannins beautifully integrated (it spends 20 months in large barrels before bottling), a touch of sweet fruit from the partly-dried grapes, and red-fruit acidity make for a whole wine worthy of time in your cellar.
Pairing:Have it with beef teriyaki, lasagna alla Bolognese, or chanterelle risotto.
VARIETY: CORVINA, CORVINONE, RONDINELLA, CROATINA
REGION: Veneto, ITALY