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Return of Saturday Sips + Saturday Sips Review Package: Lake Garda’s Version of Amarone & Valpolicella – The Wines of Comincioli

Saturday Sips is back! We are applying in-store tasting protocols to ensure everyone stays safe and will limit the number of people tasting at any given time and adhere to proper social-distancing using assigned tasting spots marked on the floor. Our tasting glasses will be one time use for the day but feel free to bring your own glass if you wish. We hope to see you soon.

Along with his wife Elisabetta and sons Roberto and Andrea, 13th generation farmer Gianfranco Comincioli presides over 34 acres of vineyard and 64 acres of olive groves. The farm lies in Puegnago, in the Valtènesi sub-zone, the most venerated of the district. Valtènesi is distinguished by superior exposure to the sun and moderating breezes from the lake. For context, Comincioli’s vineyards are almost directly across the lake from Valpolicella, where Italy’s famous Amarone is produced. Indeed, many of the same techniques for producing Valpolicella and Amarone wines are used at Comincioli.

While Comincioli wines are world-class, it is for the amazing (if somewhat controversial) olive oils for which Comincioli is most well-known. Yet the wines are made with the same painstaking care as the oil — soaked in a philosophy based on an unwavering respect for traditions and the environment. Gianfranco and family are dedicated to not only preserving their region’s indigenous grape varieties but to use them to produce wines of the utmost quality.

Harvesting the fruit takes place exclusively by hand, using small crates to avoid stress and prevent squashing of the grapes. Hand-sorting is done to remove any inferior fruit. There are four harvests in a single vintage. The first harvest, from the oldest vines, is directed at grapes destined for raisining (drying the grapes before vinification to concentrate the fruit’s sugars and flavors). Subsequent harvests are done on the basis of ripeness, the age of the vines, and the altitude of the vineyard. Work in the cellar is just as meticulous, with concerted effort to avoid any unwanted oxidative effects. The result is a group of unique wines that express both sense of place and purity.

Saturday Sips Review: $199 — 6 Bottles from Azienda Agricola Comincioli (All Included and Delivered)

 

The price for this Saturday Sips Review Package includes tax and delivery, as well as a 10% discount. We will also honor a 10% discount on any bottles you might wish to add to the Wine-Aid package.

Included in Saturday Sips Review are the following bottles:

1 BOTTLE “Suler” (Riviera del Garda Classico DOC Rosso Superiore 2015) Regular Price: $74

Valpolicella is on the other side of Lake Garda from Comincioli and is world famous for the production of Amarone in the “appassimento” style of drying the grapes before vinification to concentrate the fruit’s sugars and flavors. This regional style is uniquely conveyed in the cuvée “Suler.” A mix of the smallest bunches and “straggly clusters” of Sangiovese, Marzemino, Groppello, and Barbera grapes from Comincioli’s oldest vineyards (40 to 90 year old vines) are placed in shallow, ventilated crates for a period of 20-30 days. After aging for 24 months in stainless steel tanks, 30 months in oak casks, and then another 18 months minimum in bottle, “Suler” delivers with the weight and concentration of big, ripe fruit that Amarone lovers cherish with the aromatics and flavors exclusive of Valtènesi.

 

3 BOTTLES “Riviera” (Riviera del Garda Classico DOC Rosso 2015) Regular Price: $26

Cuvée “Riviera” is based on a little over half the native Groppello variety with the remainder a blend of Sangiovese, Marzemino, and Barbera. The wine is aged in stainless steel tanks and oak casks. Full of juicy red and black berries with intoxicating floral and spice aromatics, it’s reminiscent of the Valpolicella Ripasso from the other side of Lake Garda but with a vibe all its own. It’s ideal balance will pair beautifully with most classic Italian pasta dishes.

 

2 BOTTLES “Diamante” ROSÉ (2019) Regular Price: $29

A rosé with a little more sap than the typical light and airy numbers made only for summer drinking. The cuvée “Diamante” is mainly produced from the native Valtènesi grape Groppello with the remainder a blend of Barbera, Sangiovese, and Marzemino. A brief contact on these “black grape” skins results in a wine of ideal balance with aromatics of rose, alpine strawberry, and pomegranate. Vinification and aging in stainless steel tanks keeps the wine crisp and refreshing without being simple. This is a wine to pair with everything from spicy seafood dishes to roast lamb.

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Posted on 2020.09.30 in Saturday Sips Wines, Italy, Lombardy

 

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