Marion Valpolicella Superiore 2018


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Stefano Campedelli and his wife, Nicoletta Fornasa, were very happy to not only show their new releases during my recent visit, but to open a number of back-vintage wines, including ones that had never been written about within these pages before. This certainly piqued my interest, as Marion is a property that I’ve been following now for well over a decade, and I have witnessed the style slowly evolving into the wines of today. Looking back, these wines, and the way the vineyards were worked, were strongly influenced by Celestino Gaspari, a more modern-thinking disciple of Giuseppe Quintarelli, who is today the owner and winemaker of Zyme. There was a time when Campedelli was still learning his craft, and Gaspari was his guiding hand. However, the more bold and concentrated style that was created as a result never sat well with him. His vision was to make Valpolicella reds that were inspired by the likes of Burgundy and Barolo. Elegant, finessed, pure, low residual sugars and with the ability to be enjoyed both with or without meal; hence the style of the house today. The Marion winery and vineyards are located in Marcellise, outside of the Classico zone, on the hills east of Verona. One of the things that has set Marion apart from most other producers in Valpolicella, at least at this time, is that the vineyards are contiguous and located all around the winery. I say “at this time” because Campedelli has recently made a purchase of a small Clos of vines (another rarity in Valpolicella) in Illasi, a part of Valpolicella that’s located further east (think Dal Forno Romano). While he hasn’t decided upon how he’ll use this fruit, I can tell how excited he is about the new project. As for the recent showing of wines, they were spectacular. The 2017 Amarone, from a warm and dry vintage where many producers made hulking, sloppy wines, was instead lifted, fresh and remarkably pretty, as was the 2017 Valpolicella and Teroldego. While Campedelli speaks a lot about how much he detests warm vintages, he’s certainly mastered the ability to find balance from them. These are going to be thrilling wines from day one, yet also with medium-term cellar potential. That said, if you’re looking for a more structured and classic expression of the house, try to locate the 2016 Amarone, which has only gotten better since the last time I tasted it. Plainly stated, Marion is part of a handful of producers who are pushing the limits of progress in Valpolicella, and they are paving the way toward a brighter future.

Eric Guido, Vinous (04/22)