Tue 29 Jul 2008
Santi’s Solane Valpolicella Classico Superiore, made by the ripasso method, is one of the world’s great wine bargains. The blend of grapes is traditional for this area of Italy’s Veneto region: 65 percent corvina, 30 percent rondinella and 5 percent molinara; not a hint of cabernet or merlot! Ripasso means that the wine is re-fermented on the skins of grapes that made Amarone wines, a process unique to Valpolicella and one that contributes depth and power to the wines.
Solane 2005, which ages a year in Slavonian oak and “a short period” in new French oak, sports the requisite deep purple, like-unto-black, color of a ripasso wine. It’s deep and rich and warm, spicy, robust, bursting with scents and flavors of black currants and plums etched with orange rind and a backnote of fruitcake. It grows more intense in the glass, opening to reveal touches of lavender, smoke, potpourri, and it grows earthier and takes on more minerality too. The texture is seductively dense and chewy, almost viscous.
We drank this last night with a pasta that had spicy Italian sausage, tomatoes, arugula and caramelized onions. That’s the kind of robust and flavorful dish this wine calls for.
Very good+. About $15.