With all the hassle that our Kiwi Gal Val had at the five ring circus, steroids are not a popular topic. But some supercharged Italian wines that came my way can be deemed to be wines on steroids. The venerable Soave-based firm of Bolla is better known for their easy-drinking, correct wines. But they’ve been pioneers at pushing Valpolicella beyond the norm.
The 2010 Bolla ‘La Poiane’ Valpolicella Ripasso is indeed a powerful, inky, black beast, packed with intense black fruits, black herbs and black vegetables. It’s still table wine, even at over 15.0% alc., and an approachable, if gutsy number. While it’s big, there's a fine-tannin feel about it, and it all works well. Fermented on the skins of Amarone, it has picked up the character.
Then a 2007 Bolla Amarone della Valpolicella. Intriguingly quite elegant and ethereal, even. Waves of spices and cedar, with red fruits, game and some volatility. Most of the Amarone wines I’ve tasted are bigger in size and flavour, almost ‘out-there’, and often quite soupy from their concentration from drying the grapes. This is more the classy and subtle style which is a valid expression, and far more friendly for the dinner table.
They say these are meditation wines, and thinking about them, I’ve give them both gold medals, well deserved, just like Val.