What Did They Ever Do For Us?

neropassoBy Fergal Gleeson*

Neropasso Biscardo, Rosso Veneto IGT 2013

Corvinone, Corvina, Cabernet

There is an Italian invasion afoot. Not the unwelcome sort like the Romans used to inflict on their neighbours in the open toe sandals era. But a wine invasion which is bringing some very interesting wine styles to our shores.

History’s rock stars, the Ancient Romans, made the original plantings of  Valpolicella, a pleasing light red wine, in Northern Italy near the city of Verona.

russell-crowe-gladiatorIn the time since Russell Crowe was a General the locals have developed a pumped up version of the wine call Amarone della Valpolicella. Ever heard of making wine from raisins?

That’s pretty much what the makers of Amarone do to power up the flavour of their red wine. By air drying the grapes they increase the relative amount of sugar in the juice which means more alcohol and power.

Warmer regions like the Barossa don’t have to worry about such techniques but in cooler Northern Italy this is the sort of thing you might do to lift your wine from Fiat to Alfa Romeo status. Amarone is a classic Italian wine style but like a Barolo it’s not one that you can drink cheaply. It starts at $60 and rises steeply. To be fair Amarone uses twice as many grapes per bottle.

If spending that amount on a bottle of wine gives you sweaty palms and a guilt trip try Neropasso Biscardo at a more everyday price. Raisined grapes are used but I’m guessing it is IGT because it’s not from the designated area.

Enough scene setting, this wine is hedonistic pleasure. It’s a mouth filling red, with smoky complexity and is highly drinkable. The finish is a little short but really let’s not be pedantic about such a delicious wine.

Use Mr Google to help you find Neropasso Biscardo and buy a case. If you can’t track it down have a look out for any Valpolicella Ripasso, where they mix Valpolicella with used Amarone grape skins to add complexity. You’ll get the Amarone style without the price. Saluti!

Rating: 3.5/5. RRP $25. For more Wine Reviews read and follow www.greatwineblog.wordpress.com  Drink and be merry!

*Finalist- New Wine Writer of the Year 2016- WCA /Gourmet Traveller WINE

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