Lorenzo Begali Recioto della Valpolicella
The Veneto, situated in northeast Italy, is bordered by Friuli-Venezia Guilia, Trentino-Alto Adige, Emilia Romagna, Lombardy, Austria and the Adriatic Sea. For most Americans, the Veneto evokes images of gondoliers and Romeo and Juliet, but there is so much more to it than the canals and a famous balcony. The region is one of the most diverse in Italy offering breathtaking landscapes, cultural treasures, some of the richest and most diverse cuisine and among the most popular and well known wines worldwide.
The history of wine-making in the Veneto can be traced to the centuries before the Golden Era of Greek Civilization, who are credited with the introduction of the vine to Italy. The first evidence of wine production in Veneto dates to the seventh century BCE and is attributed to the Etruscan-Raetic people. The Romans devoted themselves to the cultivation of the vineyards and to wine production. Perhaps the greatest period of growth and expansion of vine occured under the rule of the Ventian Empire. The commercial might of Venice saw the exportation of Veneto’s wines to the countries of the Mediterranean and beyond, introducing new vine species and methods of production in the process.
In modern times, the red wines of the Veneto tend to focus on three distinct varietals: Corvina, Rondinella, and Molinara. However, other varieties are used in lesser quantities, such as Oseleta, a forgotten grape varietal that has recently been rediscovered and rejuvenated.
Until Amarone’s emergence in the 20th Century, Recioto represented the apex of vintners production. What makes Recioto della Valpolicella so unique is the method of production, called appassimento. Made using the same process as Amarone, Recioto goes an extra step, leaving the grapes to dry a further month, thus necessitating the selection of the very best fruit. When the grapes are finished drying they will have lost between 30 and 40 percent of their weight, but gained incredible degrees of concentration, along with complexity of flavors, aromas, and sugar.
The Lorenzo Begali Recioto della Valpolicella is a superb example of this classic and historical style of wine production. It is a throwback to the famous Acinatico, a sweet wine drunk during Antiquity, which can be considered the real ancestor of Recioto della Valpolicella. The wine contains Veneto’s most important varietal, 65% Corvina, along with 30% Rondinella and 5% autochthonous grapes. After fermentation Begali’s Recioto is matured for 12 months in small French barriques. This voluptuous wine is medium bodied and coats the entire palate. It offers a velvety texture with a bounty of vivid, seductive brambly blackberries, sweet figs, and chocolate.
Come join us at Babbo in the month of April to enjoy a glass of the Lorenzo Begali Recioto della Valpolicella. This slow sipping, luxurious wine pairs well with Chef Rebecca’s ethereal chocolate hazelnut cake, pistachio and chocolate semifreddo, rhubarb crostata, and assorted artisanal cheeses.