#48 Wine Spectator Top 100 of 2011
The deep ruby red color of the Ripassa, and the intense yet fine aromas come from the mixture of
grapes. It is full bodied, harmonic, and velvety on the palate. Recommended with grilled meat
dishes, Ripassa is excellent with rabbit casserole. This blockbuster wine is one of Winebow's all-time
"There's a symphony of flavor in this medium-bodied red, which offers ripe boysenberry and damson plum fruit overlaid by lovely rose and violet floral notes, with details of loamy espresso, anise and fresh herbs. A finely cut wine, with a velvety mouthfeel coating lightly chewy tannins and vivacious acidity. Drink now through 2022. 13,700 cases imported."
Big & Bold
Tasting Notes: One of my favorite wines in the world is a well-made Amarone. They are produced using a technique that essentially involves drying the grapes until they are raisins before pressing them, which creates incredibly concentrated, rich flavors. The problem is that Amarone is a very expensive wine and the cheaper ones are of poor quality. That’s why I love the Ripasso. Literally meaning “re-pass,” it is a Valpolicella that is fermented a second time on the leftover skins of the Amarone. I like to call it a poor man’s Amarone, but the truth is that a Ripasso from a reputable winery is of much higher quality than some of the lower-end Amarones. This Zenato Ripassa (Zenato is the only winery to call a Ripasso a Ripassa) is a deep ruby red and offers rich, elegant aromas that linger far longer than I would expect. The dried fruit is predominant, such as raisins, prunes, cherries and dark berries like blackberries and raspberries. There is also a scent of vanilla and steamed banana leaf. The wine is so concentrated in flavor it almost has a balsamic quality to it. It has a velvety texture and a long, long, long finish. I love this wine. Food Pairing Suggestions: This wine would be a perfect pairing with game meats like elk and antelope. In fact, we did a dinner party recently with a dish that would have worked well; a Braised Antelope Hind Quarter on Blue Cheese Cauliflower Mash and Shaved Brussel Sprouts. This could also go really well with mushroom-based dishes or aged dried meats. You could also just drink it alone with a loaf of rich bread like a roasted garlic focaccia dipped in olive oil. The bottom line with a wine of this intensity is that you need to double down on the flavor of your food. Whatever you’re cooking, it needs a reduction sauce or other strong, concentrated flavors to stand up to the wine.