Day 1 of tasting. (In the interest of clarity and brevity, I only mention the highlights of our tastings. If you’re curious about other wines, drop a note in the comments section at the end of the post.)
Our usual stops on day 1 are with Valpolicella producers. First stop is Allegrini, in the town of Fumane, where Christian takes us up the hill to the La Poja vineyard – gorgeous in the swirling clouds coming off Lago di Garda – and then down to the “Palazzo della Torre” property where the family is busy restoring the historic property. La Poja is a unique wine – it is made from Corvina, the same grape as Amarone, partly dried (raisined) and then fermented to full dryness (despite its name, Amarone usually contains a bit of residual sugar). The La Poja vineyard was carved out of the top of a hill, and has incredible sun and air – the grapes stay healthy, get plenty of breezes to combat rot and help cool them down at night, and are harvested at incredible levels of ripeness. The La Grola vineyard is just below this and only slightly less well-exposed. At less than half the cost of a bottle of La Poja, the La Grola bottling is an incredible value. We taste through the lineup back at the winery with Christian – standouts are the La Grola, La Poja and the Recioto, and amazing and balanced red dessert wine. Overall, I consider Allegrini to be a modern winery – they vinify for bright fruit, relatively low acid, and are not shy about the use of new French barrels – and this visit confirms this opinion. The wines are uniformly delicious and drinkable.