Winter Warmers from Italy

Winter Warmers from Italy

One of the fastest-growing wine styles has been for rich, full-bodied red wines, which are smooth and fruity enough to be enjoyed with or without food.  These wines are made for this time of the year - perfect for wrapping yourself around on cold winter evenings.  Sharing is optional...!

Northern Italy is synonymous with this style. The production method involves drying the grapes for several months after harvest. This concentrates the flavours and sugars. Then the grapes are fermented very slowly, and usually aged for a year or more in old oak vats.

Amarone della Valpolicella is made in this method, using premium quality Valpolicella grapes (Corvina, Molinara and Rondinella). It’s full-bodied, about 16% alcohol, and smooth, with dried fruit, chocolate, dark rum, sweet spice and leather.

The dried grape skins left over from the Amarone fermentation hold so much flavour that they can be re-fermented with standard Valpolicella. This ‘passito’ (passing over/re-fermenting) results in Ripasso, or Ripassa della Valpolicella. It’s like a mini-Amarone in style, and almost half the price.

A similar technique is being used in other regions, and often producers leave some residual sugar in the wine, to make it even more palatable. Governo is a traditional Tuscan process, of setting aside bunches of grapes at harvest and drying them, then pressing them in November and introducing some juice into young wines that had just finished their alcoholic fermentation. This adds tannin, sweetness, and alcohol.

These rich full-bodied wines are amazingly good with hearty winter dishes like beef/lamb cooked in red wine, blue cheese. We also discovered at our staff wine course that Amarone is fantastic with plain chocolate! All are sure to be well-received as a wine gift.

We directly import quite a few of these, as part of Molloys Exclusive Wines range. Our Gran Passione is incredibly popular. A Food & Wine review says it all:
"sexy, velvety, amazing".
• 5/5 would buy it again - as "a special gift for parents... "

Gran Passione Rosso del Veneto: Full-bodied, yet smooth, with generous dark and dried fruits, sweet spice, and a rich warm chocolate and fruity finish.

Oltre Passo Primitivo: A delicious sweet red, made from the Primitivo grape, in southern Italy. Flavours of cherry chocolate liqueur, stewed plums, vanilla, and hints of smoke.

Ca’ Vittoria Appassimento ‘Gold Release’ - This re-fermented red wine manages a superb balance between warm rum, and rich flavours of Christmas cake and chocolate, with a really long fruity, slightly smoky finish. (A longstanding customer told us it's the best wine we've ever brought in - that's good enough for us!)

‘Governo’ Rosso Toscano - Multi-layered flavours - roast coffee, chocolate, ripe baked plums and cherries, toasty, vanilla; quite vibrant, finishing with a nice grip of tannin, and light hint of sweetness. An ideal partner for rich foods.

Molloys Winter Warmers
Winter Warmers from Italy, from Molloys
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