Speri Valpolicella Classico Superiore Ripasso 2021


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“The 2021 Valpolicella Classico Superiore Ripasso is youthfully coy in the glass as a nuanced blend of incense and cloves gives way to dried black cherries. Medium in body, this floods the palate with silken textures as a rush of ripe wild berry fruits swirls throughout. The 2021 finishes classically dry and gently tannic, leaving a blackberry tinge and hints of sour orange. Drinking window: 2024-2028. 90 points

If I had to choose an Amarone to bring to the dinner table, without a doubt, Speri would be at the top of the list. This is a producer whose wines I’ve followed for nearly two decades now because of a combination of low alcohol (around 15%), low residual sugar (about 1-1.5 grams), longevity and sheer pleasure factor. The Speri family has been operating the winery for over 150 years. Today, it’s in the hands of the seventh generation, and their focus remains on tradition, happily producing just five wines. The winery is in Pedemonte, with 60 hectares of vineyards in the Classico area. All practices are organic, and the vine-training of choice is a modified pergola. Speri was also the first producer in the region to begin using single-vineyard names on their label, starting with the 1974 Sant’Urbano vineyard Amarone. There are many reasons why Speri is unique amongst their peers. Undoubtedly, the Sant’Urbano vineyard is one of them. The vineyard lies across the crest of the hill that separates the Fumane and Marano valleys, at 250 – 380 meters above sea level, with vines averaging fifty years old. However, another major difference is that Speri continues to use the Molinara grape. Luca Speri explained, “The trend in the 2000s was for bigger and fatter wines in Valpolicella, but Molinara has a pinker and lighter color. It’s a very delicate grape, so most producers decided to tear up their vines.” The 2019 is majestic, and the 2020 Valpolicella is one of the most complex yet also gastronomic wines in the category. However, during my visit, I also enjoyed tasting through five back vintages of the Amarone (notes included) going back to 1977. Each and every one of them was still full of life.”

Eric Guido, Vinous (02/24)