If you don’t like Italy, or things Italian, you will not
like this story nor these wines. But who doesn’t love the Italians….OK, maybe
the French….but after that?! One of the first things that strikes you about
Colaneri Estate Winery is how much the building is meant to look like one side
of the street in a small Italian village. I saw it in the depths of winter, but
one can only imagine what it will look like in summer, and about 10 or so years
from now. It’s breathtaking.
More than 60 years ago, back in Frosolone, Italy, a young
man, Joseph Colaneri, set his sights on a beautiful woman, Maria. They married
in 1951. They were blessed with two sons, Michele (Mike) and Nicola (Nick). In
1967,the new world beckoned, and a fter many years of hard work and
perseverance, the family acquired a 40 acre vineyard where Colaneri Estate Winery
now stands. Ma and Papa Colaneri took great joy in tending to the vines all
Mike and Nick married sisters, Angiolina (Angie) and
Liberina (Betty) and all lived together on the vineyard. Later, with their
children, Tara, Michael, Nicholas and Christopher they continued to make wine.
Tradition, the driving force of their passion for family, life and all it
encompasses. It’s a nice story. I was in the tasting room in Ravine when I was
introduced to one of the two brothers, who was at the bakery in the back of
Ravine to buy bread! He invited me to the winery and I made sure to stop by.
Today the front of Colaneri, one can only assume, is meant
to transport you back to the old world. Indeed, Colaneri is one of the most
awe-inspiring wine buildings I have ever seen. But open the door, and peak
behind the veneer and one finds a huge, ultramodern winery. Filled with shining
stainless steel tanks and towering ceilings, Colaneri is as technologically
advanced behind the scenes as it’s front is
supposed to remind you of a different time and place.
There are more than 20 different wines to try at Colaneri,
and since I was attempting to visit four or five wineries in the region that
day, tasting everyone was not an option. But I had two that were my favorites.
Colaneri 2010 Insieme was among my favorites. This was a
blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot.
Colaneri uses the appassimento technique to make this wine, which is the same
technique used to make Amarone…not a surprise I liked this wine! Grapes are
harvested ripe and are allowed to dry, traditionally on straw mats. This
process is called appassimento or rasinate (to dry and shrivel) in Italian.
This concentrates the remaining sugars and flavors and is similar to the production
of French Vin de Paille. The pomace left over from pressing off the Amarone is
used in the production of Ripasso Valpolicellas.
Colaneri takes much of its winemaking tradition from the old
world in the techniques used to make wine.
I liked this wine before I knew the winemaking techniques behind it.
Lots of blackberry, fig, and ripe plum, with hints of cassis, spice and a whiff
of cedar as promised. An absolutely beautiful dry red wine!
Colaneri Corposo 2010 You’ll see I am consistent in my tastes
here for sure. This wine was made from Cabernet Franc, Merlot, and Syrah. It was made
in the ripasso wine style. The pomace left over from pressing off the Insieme
was used in the production of this Ripasso wine called Corposo.
According to Wikipedia: In the late 20th century, a new
style of wine known as ripasso (meaning "repassed") emerged. With
this technique, the pomace of leftover grape skins and seeds from the
fermentation of recioto and Amarone are added to the batch of Valpolicella wines
for a period of extended maceration. The additional food source for the
remaining fermenting yeast helps boost the alcohol level and body of the wines
while also leaching additional tannins, glycerine and some phenolic compounds
that contribute to a wine's complexity, flavor and color. As the production of
Amarone has increased in the 21st century, so too has the prevalence of ripasso
style wines appearing in the wine market, with most Amarone producers also
producing a ripasso as a type of "second wine". An alternative method
is to use partially dried grapes, instead of leftover pomace, which contain
less bitter tannins and even more phenolic compounds. The first Valpolicella
producer to commercially market a ripasso wine was Masi in the early 1980s.
This wine exploded with bright and dark raspberry, as well
as dark cherry, with hints of cocoa and a finish of pepper. What an absolutely
beautiful dry red wine! I loved this wine…and you will too!
Colaneri was a tremendous experience.