Thursday, 11 April 2013

Pra “Morandina” Valpolicella Superiore Ripasso DOC (2011)

Graziano Pra might have built a reputation as a producer of some of the finest Soave to leave the region each vintage, however this has not stopped him harbouring dreams of producing his own red wines too. Having purchased the “Morandina” Estate in eastern Valpolicella in 2001, production of a range of Valpolicella-based reds began in the 2006 vintage and it would be fair to say these wines have impressed The Independent Wine review since then with notably high scores.

This 2011 “Morandina” Valpolicella Ripasso is the latest iteration of the “middle wine” in Graziano Pra’s range of three red wines, sitting between a “basic” Pra Valpolicella and “flagship” Pra Amarone della Valpolicella.

Produced when Graziano passed a young and fully fermented Valpolicella wine (made from a blend of Corvina, Corvinone, Rondinella and Oseleta grapes) over the pressed grape skins that had already been used in the production of Graziano’s Amarone della Valpolicella, this 2011 “Morandina” Valpolicella Ripasso then underwent a secondary fermentation that added structure, flavoural intensity and alcohol to the wine. Thereafter this Valpolicella Ripasso was matured in large oak casks for 18 months and will be released on to the market in May.

An intense ruby red colour in the glass, Graziano likes to make his Valpolicella Ripasso fairly alcoholic and the obvious alcoholic legs when this 2011 “Morandina” Ripasso is swirled suggest that this iteration of this wine is no exception to the norm. Perhaps not as rich or languid on the nose as you might expect, this Ripasso offers relatively fragrant aromas of red cherry and violets, alongside cedar wood and a slightly acerbic spice.

Medium-to-full bodied in the mouth, this 2011 “Morandina” Valpolicella Ripasso is leaner and more elegant than some modern examples of the Ripasso style of Valpolicella, although there is certainly no lack of intensity of flavour. Based around red fruits such as cherries, damsons and raspberries this taut and lithe Ripasso also displays quite pronounced espresso and anise spice notes. There’s noticeably more tannin here than there was on show in the “basic” Pra Valpolicella (tasted alongside this wine) but there is the same streak of acidity that helps to offset this and lend a sense of drive to the palate. This finishes with a good length.

Already accomplished, this 2011 Pra “Morandina” Valpolicella Ripasso will likely be better again in six months once it’s had a chance for the oak and fruit flavours to integrate more fully and offers cellaring potential out to 2020.

Pra “Morandina” Valpolicella Superiore Ripasso DOC (2011)

Score: 86/100 – A well judged and accomplished Valpolicella Ripasso, this 2011 “Morandina” Ripasso offers a  level of subtlety and elegance that is almost Graziano Pra’s house style.

Value for Money: 6/10Selling from £18 per bottle in the UK this 2011 “Morandina” Valpolicella Ripasso is probably the hardest of Graziano Pra’s wines to justify as good value at this time.