2009 Quintarelli Rosso Ca Del Merlo

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The wine of Valpolicella is made in various styles. The most common is the light-bodied, dry, fruity red. This wine is most appealing when drunk young and cool. Some producers make a more serious style of Valpolicella using a method known as ripasso. This word is derived from the Italian verb ripassare, meaning "to pass over" or "to do something again." In the late winter or spring, occasionally later, the new Valpolicella is refermented on the grape pomace from the Amarone, which still contains a lot of sugar. The wine is put into the barrels that had been used to ferment the Amarone immediately after the wine is drawn off. The pomace, still high in sugar, nutrients, and extract, activates an alcoholic refermentation. The temperature increases, due to the warming of the season combined with the warm pomace, causes the development of Saccharomyces bayanus yeasts, which bring about the refermentation of the Valpolicella. This adds alcohol, total acidity, dry extract, and glycerine to the wine. The alcohol increases 1.5 to 1.7 percent and total acidity 0.5 to 1 percent. The wine becomes deeper in color, bigger in body, and richer in alcohol, extract and tannin. In fact at one time the wines of the Veronese hillsides were classified by the farmers according to their degree of sweetness, and they were priced accordingly, with the sweetest wines commanding the highest prices. The recioto wines were the sweetest, mezzo recioto was medium sweet, pastoso off dry, and amaro dry. The first two wines here are made from the same varietals as Quintarelli’s Valpolicella, however the Ca del Merlo (NOT Merlot) is aged longer in large wood vessels and comes from a single hilltop vineyard named after a plot of land where a large Merlo (bird) sat perched on a tree overlooking the hillside.


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