Tezza: Current Releases of Amarone and Ripasso from the Valpantena Valley
100% organic certified, the Tezza winery in the Valpantena Valley northeast of Verona is now managed by the third generation of the family. They undertook a major renovation of their 28 hectares of vineyards in the towns of Poiano, Nesente, and Sezano in 1998, including replacing old vine training methods by Guyot. The winery was also modernized, and a new drying facility for producing Amarone and Recioto was built with controlled temperature and humidity. The grapes for Amarone are dried from the time of harvest (September/October) until December. The Tezza cousins Flavio, Vanio and Federico have managed Tezza vineyards and made the wine since 1998. The wines are fermented in stainless steel and are aged in Slavonian and French oak barrels.
Amarone della Valpolicella is a dry, red wine made from dessicated (appassimento) grapes. It’s full-bodied, has a delicious dried fruit character, and is typically high in alcohol for a table wine. Valpolicella Ripasso has some of the same dried fruit character of Amarone but with lower alcohol and a significantly lower price.
Amarone is made by drying selected, late-harvested grapes in a drying room (fruttaio) for 4-5 months until the grapes lose about 30 percent of their weight, resulting in the desired sugar concentration. The dried, whole cluster grapes are then pressed and fermented. The juice is then fermented and racked to oak barrels and barriques for periods ranging from 24 to 48 months. With their grapes of high sugar concentration, Amarones are high in alcohol when fermented, usually 15-18 percent; the legal minimum is 14 percent.
For more on Amarone, see our Report # 41 The Amarone Wines of Valpolicella and the articles we’ve written about Amarone and the appassimento process available free on our blog.
US Importer: Regal Wine Imports
Tezza 2017 Corte Majoli Valpolicella Ripasso Superiore ($20) 90 Medium dark red. The Corte Majoli Ripasso is a softly textured, flavorful wine showing dark red fruit aromas and flavors with hints of earth. There’s not a lot of dried fruit character, but it’s delicious and easy drinking. 60% Corvina, 20% Rondinella, and 10% Corvinone aged 12 months in oak.
Tezza 2017 Ripasso Valpolicella Valpantena Superiore ($22) 91 Dark ruby. Sumptuous nose of spicy plum with a dried fruit nuance. Full in the mouth with beautiful, fine firm tannins, excellent acidity, and vibrant flavors that mirror the bouquet. Lovely, long finish. Delicious . 80% Corvina and 20% Rondinella matured 18 months in barriques.
Tezza 2016 Corte Majoli Amarone della Valpolicella ($35) 90 Ruby red. This blend of Corvina (70%), Rondinella (20%), and Covinone (10%) shows appealing aromas of fresh and dried dark red fruit. The palate reveals red berries and cherries with nuances of baking spice and dried red cherry. With round tannins and moderate acidity, this is an easy drinking Amarone. Aged 24 months in barriques.
Tezza 2012 Amarone della Valpolicella Valpantena ($55) 92 Deep ruby. The 2012 Tezza Amarone offers a vibrant, complex nose that evokes Christmas cake laden with juicy, rich dried fruit. On the palate, it’s ripe and generous and multidimensional with layers of dense flavors of dark cherry jam and dried berries with hints of cedar, tobacco, and baking spice. Finishes long and flavorful with ripe tannins. A blend of 80% Corvina and 20% Rondinella matured 36 months in oak barrels.
Tezza 2012 Brolo delle Giare Amarone della Valpolicella Valpantena Riserva ($65) 94 This is a fruit forward Amarone that shows incredible freshness despite being almost 8 years old. The nose reveals dark cherry, kirsch, and spice, which are mirrored on the palate with hints of dried grapes and currants. Beautiful silky mouth feel and a long, long rich finish with firm, round tannins. The concentrated flavors hide the 16.5% alcohol. 80% Corvina, 15% Rondinella, and 5% Oseleta aged 48 months in barriques.