Monday October 16 started off with a visit to the family-owned Valetti winery, producing an impressive 90,000 bottles a year. Though the winery was built in 1975, it was recently rebuilt in a very modern style that offers a gorgeous 360 degree view from the rooftop.
After a tour of the winery – which has its own bottling line – we settled down for a tasting of the wines in a formal tasting room.
The Chiaretto wines we tried were a gorgeous pale color, in line with the consortium’s highly suggested mandate that producers make the palest rose wine as possible. To ensure this request is met, producers are given a range of color guidelines. Finished Chiaretto wines must be sent to the consortium for approval before they can be sold as such.
Joining Mr. Valetti in the presentation was his Chiaretto-producing neighbor, Cristiana Bettili, who makes wine from organic grapes.
Christiana began by pouring her sparking Chiaretto from the Sorsei range of wines. Sorsei takes its name from an ancient location in the area where everyone went to draw water from the well.
Next, we tried a sparkling Chiaretto from Valetti, a very fresh wine – very crisp and mineral-driven.
The tasting continued, alternating between the two wineries. When the “Christiana” Chiaretto wine is poured, it is very intense, with aromas of small red fruits and stony minerality.
The Valetti Bardolino is a red wine, very light and simple from the Corvina grape. The Valetti Bardolino superiore, one quality level up, is made from mostly Corvina grapes laid on trays and dried for 35 – 50 days, depending on the vintage. The objective with the dried grapes is to give the finished wine more intensity and texture.
Next we try Christiana’s Sorsei Bardolino 2016 which has very intense aromas of black plums, fig, and a very jammy texture. Though it tastes like there is dried grapes in the wine, there are not – just a maceration of 5 – 6 days.
Next, from Valetti, we taste the 100% Corvina IGT with the proprietary name “Berengario.” Following this is the Valetti Amarone Della Valpolicella, rich with aromas of violet and plum, velvet tannins, stewed cherries, raisins, dark chocolate, and licorice.
Christina is quick pour her Valpolicella Superiore, richly concentrated with flavors of plums and tiny strawberries. Christiana’s Valpolicella Ripasso, the next quality level up, has succulent ripe black fruits and notes of licorice, made from Corvina and Corvione grapes.
It was a wonderful visit to two very hard working family wineries in the Bardolino area.