Thursday, 26 April 2012

Pra “Morandina” Valpolicella Superiore DOC (2010)

Pra’s “Morandina” Valpolicella Superiore is a relatively new addition to the Pra winery’s portfolio of wines. Traditionally known as a well respected producer of Soave from within the historic Soave “Classico” zone commune of Monteforte d’Alpone, the Pra winery only purchased and planted the land from which the grapes that form this Pra “Morandina” Valpolicella Superiore DOC are drawn in 2001.

Located on a hillside 500 metres above sea level in Mezzane (not far from Verona), these previously unplanted slopes, set amongst woodland, now yield just over 10,000 bottles of Valpolicella-based wines per annum. Set at altitude, with austere soils, vine yields from the Corvina, Corvinone, Rondinella and Oseleta vines used to craft this Pra “Morandina” Valpolicella Superiore are naturally low – a factor that packs intensity into the resultant wines.

First released with grapes from the 2006 vintage, the vines that produce the fruit for this Pra “Morandina” Valpolicella Superiore DOC have been organically tended since they were planted.

This 2010 Pra “Morandina” Valpolicella Superiore qualifies for “Valpolicella Superiore” classification as it is aged for more than 1 year prior to release and exhibits an alcoholic content greater than 12% abv.

Once ripe on the vines, the grapes destined for this 2010 Pra “Morandina” Valpolicella Superiore were partially severed from the vines (to prevent nutrition from reaching them) and then left in this position for one and a half months to allow a slight natural raisining to occur. When ready, the grapes destined for this 2010 Pra “Morandina” Valpolicella Superiore were picked and then further allowed to raisin in wooden crates for two and a half months prior to pressing.

In the glass, this 2010 Pra “Morandina” Valpolicella Superiore is an intense ruby red with flashes of a more vivid violet towards the rim. It is worth noting that this 2010 Pra “Morandina” Valpolicella Superiore does not see an extended period of oak maturation (unlike some Valpolicella Superiore) and is only fermented in large oak casks before being passed to steel. This time in large oak has a minimal affect on the appearance of this wine.

Once swirled, the elegant perfume of this 2010 Pra “Morandina” Valpolicella Superiore is released. Pure cherry fruits lead, with floral notes wafting upwards and a hint of darker fruit lying within. Beguiling and deeper than much Valpolicella, this is a result of the air-drying of the grapes for this 2010 Pra “Morandina” Valpolicella Superiore.

In the mouth, this 2010 Pra “Morandina” Valpolicella Superiore is medium bodied but intense. Vibrant red and black fruit notes are moderated by a touch of sweetness brought about by the air-drying of the grapes destined for this 2010 Pra “Morandina” Valpolicella Superiore. As well as fruit notes, Oseleta-derived spice notes also appear in the mid-palate of this 2010 Pra “Morandina” Valpolicella Superiore, but these are nicely in balance with the fruit. The tannins of this 2010 Pra “Morandina” Valpolicella Superiore are silky and accentuate the smooth elegance of this wine. The finish shows long and lifted fruit.

Weightier than much Valpolicella, but retaining a sense of elegance, this 2010 Pra “Morandina” Valpolicella Superiore is suitable for drinking throughout many dishes in a meal. One can begin with cured meats as antipasti, pasta dishes with a meaty sauce, or game as a main and this 2010 Pra “Morandina” Valpolicella Superiore will also pair well with hard and mature cheeses.
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Pra “Morandina” Valpolicella Superiore DOC (2010)

Score: 87/100 – This 2010 Pra “Morandina” Valpolicella Superiore is an elegant and well made wine that offers substantially more interest and nuance than much Valpolicella. Much is made of the lack of suitable environments for “true” Valpolicella outside of the “Classico” zone of production; however this 2010 Pra “Morandina” Valpolicella Superiore shows that excellent wines can be made well outside of the more acclaimed zone.

Value for Money: 8/10 – Valpolicella Superiore such as this 2010 Pra “Morandina” Valpolicella Superiore often carries a significant price premium over and above “simple” Valpolicella (many producers use the “Superiore” classification for their best grapes and mature for longer than the minimum required period). This 2010 Pra “Morandina” Valpolicella Superiore is priced at a keener level (£11 per bottle) than many of these offerings and offers excellent quality.
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