A Wine Lover’s Weekly Guide To $10 Wines – A Valpolicella From Italy

Don’t let the title fool you, every single Valpolicella wine comes from the northeastern Italian region of Veneto, which has been making wines for over three thousand years. While France has made a major effort to defend Champagne as a French-only wine, to the best of my knowledge Italy has made no such effort for Valpolicella. The Bolla winery dates back to 1883. They have the Slavonian oak barrels to prove it. Valopicella is made from a combination of at least three grapes; Corvina, Rondinella, and Molinara. Other grapes are sometimes used in small quantities. The winery itself is located in San Pietro in Cariano, located about 12 kilometers (8 miles) northwest of Verona, home to Italy’s third largest Roman amphitheatre. Its interior is still used for a many fairs and operas. The companion wine is an Amarone, an upscale wine from these same grapes. In fact, Bolla was the first to commercialize this wine. But we review another version. Amarone costs about four times as much, ounce per ounce.

OUR WINE REVIEW POLICY All wines that we taste and review are purchased at the full retail price.

Wine Reviewed Bolla Valpolicella 2012 DOC Classico 12 % alcohol costing about $9.

Let’s start by quoting the marketing materials. “Tasting Note : Ruby colour; cherry and spice hints on the nose; pleasantly crisp, fruity with black pepper on the finish. Serving Suggestion : Serve with sausage or pork chops.” And now for my review.

At the first sips our wine tasted of dark cherries. It had no tannins and was somewhat raw. The main dish was a beef chili made from spicy salsa. In response Val lengthened and broadened but still was harsh. The accompanying eggplant cooked with tomatoes, onions, and mushrooms made me want to put this wine back to ripen. The side dish of brown rice was tasty but effectuated no change in the contents of my glass. Fruit juice candy definitely muted this libation, but it was long.

The second meal included barbecued chicken breast and leg. When paired with the white meat this libation tasted of raw cherries and exuded raw acidity but no tannins. The chicken leg weakened the cherry taste as the drink’s acidity strengthened. The side dish of green beans in tomato sauce with onions rendered our Italian friend’s acidity sharp, or should I say harsh? Dessert consisted of fresh strawberries. The good news was the absence of that unpleasant acidity in the wine. Perhaps in solidarity, the wine itself was virtually absent.

The final meal focused on slow cooked round steak. In response our wine was rather thin and its acidity a bit raw. There were no tannins. The accompanying white potatoes sweetened the liquid a bit and I got a tinge of tobacco. The accompanying sweet potatoes rounded that bothersome acidity, but not enough. Adding a generous amount of Yemini jalapeno pepper sauce to the meat made the potion a bit peppery.

Final verdict. I definitely won’t buy this wine again. Even if I could get it for the Internet price of $9 instead of the almost $13 that I paid.

Levi Reiss has authored or co-authored ten computer and Internet books, but prefers drinking fine Iwine with good company. He teaches computer classes at an Ontario French-language community college. His global wine website www.theworldwidewine.com features a weekly review of $10 wines. His Italiian  travel website is http://www.travelitalytravel.com .

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