Le Ragose Le Sassine Valpolicella Classico Superiore 2003 Tasting Notes
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Le Ragose Le Sassine Valpolicella Classico Superiore 2003 Tasting Notes

The “ripasso” technique, strongly associated with Valpolicella, has often been criticized for adding nothing but harshness and tannins to wines. In ripasso, the new Valpolicella is re-fermented on the skins of a previous batch of Amarone, which is made from dried grapes (the same Corvina used for Valpolicella plus other Veneto varieties.) The $20 Le Ragose deserves no such criticism, and is yet another example of a well made Valpolicella rising about the mass produced crowd.

The wine is a respectable ruby with tinges of garnet around the edges, giving fruit notes of plum, dried apricot, orange, orange peel, violet, raspberry and sour cherry. It has a nice tinge of smokiness on the edges and some high-end glove leather. The fruit acidity keeps at it but it is not the major facet of the wine; this is more a breed of congenial warmth with spices and Mediterranean herbs: black pepper and sweet marjoram. I decanted four hours and feel I got a nice ripe softness on the palate for my patience.

The finish is long, with touches of dried fruit and smoky spice.


Verdict: Classico
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The word “Valpolicella” does trip very easily off the tongue. It means “valley of many cellars,” but who cares, as long as you get one of the good cellars.

food writer Elliot Essman James Beard Foundation Journalism Award
James Beard Award Nominee Elliot Essman

food writer Elliot Essman James Beard Foundation Journalism Award

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