An Amarone for October: Le Ragose 2007

Cold fixes in this side of the hemisphere. Leaves catch fire. Grey and rain dampen the ether. It is not Port season yet. But it is Fall. And I have the perfect wine.

Fly to Valpolicella, valley of many cellars. In the hills overlooking fair Verona grow swaths of vines. The Galli family tend 70 terraced acres near 1,200 feet above sea level: the highest in the region. They bought the abandoned vineyard in 1969.  Here, it is dry, above the fog line, cool yet sunny: perfect for appassimento, aka grape-drying.

Le Ragose View

Enter Le Ragose Amarone.

The Galli harvest a mix of native grapes (50% Corvina, 20% Rondinella, 20% Corvinone, and others). Next they dry them in wooden crates until the new year. Then a wild fermentation in tanks leads to a year of settling. Standard Amarone appassimento methods.

But what makes the Galli odd is that they age their wine in Slavonian for five years. Five years! Most people switch careers in less time. The 2007 marks their current release stateside no less. Yet is this patience worth it?

Le Ragose, Amarone della Valpolicella Classico DOC, Italy 2007 $48

Le Ragose Amarone 2007

The sexy APPEARANCE looks clear, with a medium ruby core framed by a light brick rim, and almost cartoonish heavy droplet tears.

AROMAS unfold like an open knit sweater of red cherry juice floating above dried black fig, vanilla and mocha powder, orange juice, green cedar, old cigar box.

The dry PALATE clicks with an equilibrium of medium plus acidity, dusty tannins, medium plus (15.5% abv), and medium body. Le Ragose does not go quietly. You mouth will still squeeze and squeak for food. But it seems supple compared to most monster Amarone.

Warm, inviting FLAVORS start with cassis, candied orange peel, mocha powder, and christmas pudding…ah…lovely, but they then snap straight into a tight yet long finish of cedar, cinnamon, tomato leaf, and alcohol warmth.

Now, most Amarone is big, brooding, alcoholic stuff. I rarely drink it because of its intensity.  But Le Ragose’s 2007 has had enough time to chill out. This is Amarone to drink, especially with food.  Imagine roasted wild birds, lamb, blue cheese, portobello mushrooms dishes, truffle pasta: intense foods with a bit of earth or funk.

Wine clichés like “complex” or do not do Le Ragose” justice.  There is nearly too much going on here.  Textures and flavors keep shifting like piano fingers: delicate yet firm. Drink now through 2025.


Le Ragose, Amarone della Valpolicella Classico DOC, Italy 2007 $48



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