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Home Winners > Winners 2018 > ITALY: North-East Reds, Veneto including Valpolicella & Amarone

Winner Details

Italy: North-East - Red,Veneto including Amarone & Valpolicella

2018 Gold 7       Silver 13              Bronze 6              Commended 10
2017 Gold 5       Silver 13              Bronze 8              Commended 15

There are years when the Veneto’s ‘other’ red styles (assorted Cabernets, Merlots and blends) do surprisingly well. But this was not one of them. A huge medal count was totally dominated by the ‘big beasts’ of the region: Amarone and Valpolicella.

Interestingly, for the latter, our team found some really well-priced medals, which isn’t always the case, backing them up with a record number of pricey but fabulous Amarone Golds.

It all made for an impressively well-balanced section of the Gold List, with great wines at every key price point from £8 to £25 and some utterly fabulous show-off wines towards the top end.

Special congratulations to Zenato, by the way. It’s had Gold for its Ripassa in 2016 and its Amarone in 2017. This year both hit the top spot.

FROM THE TASTING TEAMS

‘Amarone is difficult to judge. Nowadays you get styles that are supposed to be drunk now, but other more traditional styles that can age. It depends on the restaurant, but the traditional style works better with food.’ Jacopo Mazzeo, The Pig Hotel

‘At the cheaper end the Valpolicellas can put you off; the quality can be quite low.’ James Franklin, Fenwick

‘As a sommelier, Amarone is not a safe choice, although if someone picks it out that’s a different story.’ Euan McColm, Beaverbrook

‘You need to be careful when someone orders Amarone. You need to sense whether they really want it or not, that they expect that style.’ Aurel Istrate, The Connaught

‘There was a lot of vintage variation. The quality of fruit wasn’t always good.’ Timothy Connor, Core by Clare Smyth

‘For our medals, we put in a spread of styles, from fruit-bombs with rich tannins to the old-fashioned, meaty, earthy styles. We tried to show both sides of Amarone.’ Andre Luis Martins, Cavalry & Guards Club

‘At the lower prices the north-eastern reds didn’t have much personality. At the higher price, they had the potential and were ready to drink – but they were expensive.’ Lionel Periner, team leader

‘People are still attracted to Valpolicella. It’s always reliable, it doesn’t disappoint, it does what it says on the tin. People buy it because they know what they’re going to get.’ Antóin UáRuairc, UK Midland Sommelier Ltd

Award winners

Found 36 wines

Italy: North-East - Red, including Amarone & Valpolicella

Allegrini, Amarone della Valpolicella Classico 2013, Veneto, Italy

Gold medal winner

Our judges were seriously impressed, sending this straight to the Gold podium. Team leader Martin Lam described a ‘savoury then cassis nose, excellent, complex tarry fruit and ripe, savoury palate character with balanced acidity’, and The Pig Hotel’s Jacopo Mazzeo admired its ‘bready, pencil shaving aromas, dried strawberry and sour cherry, long palate with great ageing potential and careful use of oak’, while Nelio Pinto of Candlesticks appreciated its ‘coffee, ginger, laurel and black pepper notes, with an iron finish’.

£41.30 Liberty Wines

Campagnola, Valpolicella Ripasso Classico Superiore 2016, Veneto, Italy

Gold medal winner

As this took its rightful place on the Gold List, team leader Tom Forrest picked up notes of ‘tobacco and clove spice, oak, cacao and dark cherry on the palate’, with a ‘creamy texture and a nice bite to the finish’, while Coq d’Argent’s Andrés Ituarte appreciated its ‘good purity of fruit, with plum skin and redcurrants joined by some toasty spices and some moderate tannins and very good acidity’.

£9.95 Eurowines

Nicolis, Ambrosan, Amarone della Valpolicella Classico 2011, Veneto, Italy

Gold medal winner Critics Choice

The Amarone Golds kept on coming, with this one having a ‘velvety, violet nose’ that led to ‘dark fruits, very well-integrated oak and an elegant finish’, according to The Connaught’s Aurel Istrate, with The Pig Hotel’s Jacopo Mazzeo highlighting ‘firm tannins on a crisp palate of cranberry, raspberry and red cherry fruit, concentrated and balanced, finishing long’. ‘Morello cherry and liquorice, with some raisin and leather notes too’ had Nelio Pinto of Candlesticks thinking about rabbit stew.

£29.10 Bibendum

Zenato, Sergio Zenato, Amarone della Valpolicella Classico Riserva 2011, Veneto, Italy

Gold medal winner

An indisputable and inevitable Gold, Aurel Istrate of The Connaught found plenty to enjoy here, with ‘smokiness, dark and red fruit and a rustic edge on the nose, with very well-integrated oak, peppercorn spice and figs, and with a nice, long finish too’. ‘Very concentrated,’ said The Pig Hotel’s Jacopo Mazzeo, finding ‘sour cherry, kirsch and liquorice notes, coffee and cedar aromas, tobacco and cigar box, mint and eucalyptus’, and ultimately describing the palate as ‘big, with fine tannins’.

£66.45 Eurowines

Zenato, Ripassa, Valpolicella Ripasso Superiore 2014, Veneto, Italy

Gold medal winner

Coworth Park Ascot’s Michael Fiducia was drawn to this worthy Gold medallist’s ‘perfumed aromas of Morello cherry and bramble fruit, with dark chocolate dusting and crunchy fruit on the palate’, while James Franklin of Fenwick was equally impressed by a ‘seductive nose of jammy, ripe fruits, a soft, velvety and warming palate with great tannin and a long, savoury finish’. Mattia Mazzi of Lutyens Bar & Restaurants, meanwhile, found ‘lapsang tea and sweet, baked red and black fruit aromas, with good complexity and length – like a light Amarone style’.

£15.60 Eurowines

Cesari, Mara, Valpolicella Ripasso Superiore 2015, Veneto, Italy

Gold medal winner

A Gold to go with Cesari’s pair of Silver medals, and a couple Bronzes too, this was a ‘ripe and succulent’ style, said team leader Sam Caporn MW, who thought it was showing ‘lots of black and Morello cherry fruit, with a little residual sugar but a long and herbal finish’, while Fenwick’s James Franklin also noted ‘soft tannins, violets and herbal elements’. ‘Wild cherries with a lovely crunchiness to them,’ added Mattia Mazzi of Lutyens Bar & Restaurants, also describing ‘minerality, and a long, spiced finish’.

£7.75 Fuller's

Santa Sofia, Amarone della Valpolicella Classico 2012, Veneto, Italy

Gold medal winner

A ‘complex, intense nose follows through on the palate’, began team leader Martin Lam, who found this substantial Gold medal wine to be ‘quite broad on the palate and very food-friendly’. The Pig Hotel’s Jacopo Mazzeo highlighted ‘a fresh, savoury nose, dried fruits, plum and prune with notes of cocoa on the finish’, which, according to team leader Laurent Richet MS, made it an ideal accompaniment for ‘deer with chocolate sauce and roasted root vegetables’.

£24.05 Mondial Wine

Bertani, Valpantena, Amarone della Valpolicella 2014, Veneto, Italy

Silver medal winner

‘Fresh, curranty nose, vanilla and sweet with violets and a long, grippy finish,’ began Beaverbrook’s Euan McColm, with James Fryer of Woodhead 17 finding it ‘raisined but flashy, with some bright acidity, fruit and tannins, and a slightly spirit quality’.

£29.50 Enotria&Coe

Villa Mattielli, Valpolicella Ripasso 2016, Veneto, Italy

Silver medal winner

‘Ripe red and black cherry fruits, some oak cinnamon spice, soft and creamy texture with more cherry and some heavier, dark notes that wash away on the finish,’ said team leader Tom Forrest. ‘Superb fruit, simple but elegant,’ concluded Rémi Cousin of Le Gavroche.

£13.00 Top Selection Ltd

Bertani, Vintage Edition, Secco 2015, Veneto, Italy

Silver medal winner

Team leader Lionel Periner found ‘light intensity, nice red fruit, hints of florals, bell pepper and oak well balanced on the nose, medium-bodied on the palate with some drying tannin but well balanced, finishing long with a hint of spice’, while Suave Wine’s Joseph Lunn noted ‘bags of red fruits with apple and some complexity, nutty and earthy’.

£17.90 Enotria&Coe

Roccolo Grassi, Valpolicella 2012, Veneto, Italy

Silver medal winner

Team leader Tom Forrest noted ‘ripe aromas, if a little on the lighter side, with cherries and cedar spice notes, then some alternative leafy notes of cherry and berry on the palate with a drying finish’, while Coq d’Argent’s Andrés Ituarte found some ‘coal and iodine notes that match the fruit intensity’.

£23.69 Hallgarten & Novum Wines

Alpha Zeta, R, Valpolicella Ripasso Superiore 2015, Veneto, Italy

Silver medal winner

A good all-rounder, showing ‘lots of red fruits, smoke and vanilla on the nose’, said Christoph Hons of Park Chinois, also noting that it was ‘smooth and pleasant, with strawberry and raspberry fruit on the palate and a soft ending’.

£10.24 Liberty Wines

Campagnola, Caterina Zardini, Valpolicella Classico Superiore 2016, Veneto, Italy

Silver medal winner

Coworth Park Ascot’s Michael Fiducia enjoyed its ‘ripe fruit characteristics of plum pudding and mocha, with an uncomplicated, approachable palate’, while team leader Sam Caporn MW picked up flavours of ‘mulberry and bramble with soft blueberry and red cherry’.

£13.67 Eurowines

Sansonina, Merlot 2014, Veneto, Italy

Silver medal winner

This was described as ‘an aristocratic wine’ by Cheese at Leadenhall’s Robert Mason, who picked up ‘chocolatey raisins and Genoa cake aromas, silky, smooth and round with wonderful balance, elegance and complexity, luscious’, while Suave Wine’s Joseph Lunn loved its ‘satanic fruit’ and found it to be ‘dark and broody, powerful on the palate with smooth tannins’, making it a ‘fantastic wine’.

£29.75 Eurowines

Sartori, Regolo, Valpolicella Ripasso Superiore 2015, Veneto, Italy

Silver medal winner

Rémi Cousin of Le Gavroche enjoyed its ‘lovely nose of fruit and minty hints, soft and round palate that’s deep and juicy’, while Coq d’Argent’s Andrés Ituarte found a ‘lighter body with confected sour cherry and tomato, and a long finish of raisin skin’.

£10.96 Enotria&Coe

Tommasi, Amarone della Valpolicella Classico 2013, Veneto, Italy

Silver medal winner

‘Savoury and meaty with spicy notes of clove and black pepper, for a good entry-level style,’ said The Pig Hotel’s Jacopo Mazzeo, while The Connaught’s Aurel Istrate enjoyed its ‘elegantly jammy nose, sour cherry and tomato leaves on the palate and elegant tannins’.

£24.93 Maisons Marques et Domaines

Santa Sofia, Montegradella, Valpolicella Classico Superiore 2015, Veneto, Italy

Silver medal winner

‘Quite intriguing aromas with lots of floral oak and spice,’ began team leader Sam Caporn MW, finding a palate of ‘red fruits, rose petals, fennel and red plums, balanced and interesting, elegant and long with great use of oak’.

£17.30 Mondial Wine

Montresor, Satinato, Amarone della Valpolicella 2014, Veneto, Italy

Silver medal winner

A ‘popular, succulent style’, said team leader Sarah Jane Evans MW, who found it ‘bursting with juice, roasted bacon oak, mid-weight and fleshy’, with Woodhead 17’s James Fryer highlighting ‘juniper and black pepper, herbal aromas, juicy black fruit and serious tannin’. ‘Red paprika power, fresh acids and notes of coffee, but light,’ added Gauthier Soho’s Rita Kardos.

£19.45 Boutinot

Ca' La Bionda, Ravazzòl, Amarone della Valpolicella Classico 2012, Veneto, Italy

Silver medal winner

‘Bright, herbaceous nose, grippy strawberry jam and wild strawberry palate with caramel notes,’ said Euan McColm of Beaverbrook, while team leader Sarah Jane Evans MW described ‘aniseed and cedar aromatics, salty red fruit on a fine, complex palate that develops in the mouth’.

£36.70 Top Selection Ltd

Serego Alighieri, Vaio Armaron, Amarone della Valpolicella Classico 2011, Veneto, Italy

Silver medal winner

‘Flowers and fruits, plump and fleshy, bursting with character,’ began team leader Sarah Jane Evans MW, while for Woodhead 17’s James Fryer the ‘palate screams of fresh ground coffee and cassis, some medicinal notes mid-palate, finishing with juicy black fruit and black pepper with a long mochaccino finish’.

£45.96 Berkmann Wine Cellars

Nicolis, Seccal, Valpolicella Ripasso Classico Superiore 2015, Veneto, Italy

Bronze medal winner

A pleasing package for Fenwick’s James Franklin, who found ‘mature fruits, smoke and depth on the nose, beautiful cherry, herbal and floral characters with grippy, full tannins and a long finish’.

£14.24 Bibendum

Cesari, Salvalai, Pinot Noir 2015, Veneto, Italy

Bronze medal winner

‘Exceptional value for an easy-drinking summer red, and perfect chilled’, began Cheese at Leadenhall’s Robert Mason, finding this wine ‘subtle, delicate, fresh and fruity on the nose, with bright red cherry and soft, smooth tannins’.

£5.50 Fuller's

Cesari, Valpolicella Classico 2016, Veneto, Italy

Bronze medal winner

A ‘fresh, leafy, easy and pleasant classic’, began Rémi Cousin of Le Gavroche, with Coq d’Argent’s Andrés Ituarte finding ‘light cocoa, butter and spice notes with a solid red fruit character – good, simple and fresh’.

£7.30 Fuller's

Pieropan, Ruberpan, Vigna Garzon, Valpolicella Superiore 2015, Veneto, Italy

Bronze medal winner

‘Vibrant, with bright oak influence, yet still balanced,’ began Coq d’Argent’s Andrés Ituarte, highlighting its ‘freshness, red fruits and mint’, while Antóin UáRuairc of UK Midland Sommelier Ltd liked its ‘zingy flavour, low tannin and very fruity’ style.

£15.58 Liberty Wines

Sartori, Corte Brà, Amarone della Valpolicella Classico 2010, Veneto, Italy

Bronze medal winner

Beaverbrook’s Euan McColm found it ‘round and easy, fat and elegant’, with its ‘sweet woody spice, caramel and vanilla nose with continental breakfast prunes on the palate’. ‘Juicy cooked fruit, bramble jam with an edge of freshness – serve with ice cream!’ added team leader Sarah Jane Evans MW.

£25.24 Enotria&Coe

Orion Wines, Tenute Fiorebelli, Fiorebella, Rosso 2015, Veneto, Italy

Bronze medal winner

This was a ‘crowd-pleaser with lots of bright fruit, a hint of oak and a touch of sweetness on the finish’, said Joseph Lunn of Suave Wine, with team leader Lionel Periner also noting ‘cooked red fruits, hints of chocolate on toasted bread, medium weight with fruit and a hint of smoke on the finish’.

£9.24 Matthew Clark

Prà, Morandina, Valpolicella Ripasso Superiore 2015, Veneto, Italy

Commended medal winner

£15.15 Boutinot

Montresor, Capitel della Crosara, Valpolicella Ripasso 2015, Veneto, Italy

Commended medal winner

£10.85 Boutinot

Bertani, Valpolicella Ripasso 2015, Veneto, Italy

Commended medal winner

£12.91 Enotria&Coe

Bertani, Valpolicella 2016, Veneto, Italy

Commended medal winner

£11.06 Enotria&Coe

Campagnola, Vigneti Vallata di Marano, Amarone della Valpolicella Classico 2014, Veneto, Italy

Commended medal winner

£20.25 Eurowines

Zenato, Amarone della Valpolicella Classico 2013, Veneto, Italy

Commended medal winner

£32.85 Eurowines

Zenato, Cresasso, Corvina Veronese 2012, Veneto, Italy

Commended medal winner

£29.05 Eurowines

Ca' Rugate, Valpolicella Ripasso Superiore 2015, Veneto, Italy

Commended medal winner

Serego Alighieri, MontePiazzo, Valpolicella Classico Superiore 2013, Veneto, Italy

Commended medal winner

Masi, Riserva di Costasera, Amarone della Valpolicella Classico 2012, Veneto, Italy

Commended medal winner

 

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