We found a lot to love, including Amarone, when we visited Pasqua Wine Cellars in Verona, Italy.
We took the opportunity of a recent trip to Italy to drop in on several producers in the area, including one of our favorites, Pasqua Wines.
Pasqua, founded in 1925, produces a wide range of wines from the Valpolicella and Veneto regions, many of which we have reviewed here previously. There's the excellent Valpolicella Ripasso Superiore, a perennial Trader Joe's pick as well as the highly recommended Soraie and Cecilia Beretta wines. In addition, Pasqua produces the excellent Romeo & Juliet wines we recently reviewed and a black label Amarone only available at Trader Joe's that we'll be covering soon.
Our visit included tasting through many of their wines, a visit to one of their vineyards and even the chance to blend our own bottle to bring home.
Pasqua has about 740 acres of vineyards currently, 1/3 of which are estate owned. However they also have decision making control over the other 2/3 as they buy 100% of the grapes.
This level of control enables the winery to maintain very high standards. In addition, Pasqua has made tons of investment in recent years and the quality shows in their wines.
We even had the chance to visit and taste their exclusive Mai Dire Mai ("Never Say Never") Amarone.
The name comes from when Pasqua was looking for a new vineyard in Valpolicella, which is very difficult. After much searching (and never saying never) they found an excellent one. The Mai Dire Mai Amarone is a big, delicious wine of which only 3,000 bottles are produced.
Pasqua now exports to over 50 countries with about one third of their wine coming to US (yeah for us!), their biggest export market.
Today we're reviewing the Famiglia Pasqua Amarone Della Valpolicella from Veneto, Italy. This wine is a blend of 65% Corvina, 25% Rondinella, 5% Corvinone and 5% Negrara grapes sourced from five vineyards (Poiano, Roccolo di Mozzole, San Felice, San Pietro di Lavagno and Tregnago) and dried for 4-5 months. The wine is aged in small oak barrels for 18-20 months and another 3-4 months in bottle.
This Amarone is a great full-bodied red wine produced with a unique method called "appassimento". The grapes are placed in wooden crates and left to air-dryin well ventilated rooms for about three months. The wine is aged in small oak barrels for 12-14 months and afterwards in the bottle. This is an elegant wine with fragrances of currants, blackberries and notes of vanilla. Warm and rich, with silky tannins and a long finish. Serve at 18-20C.
The 2013 Famiglia Pasqua Amarone Della Valpolicella begins with wonderful aromas of blackberry and black cherry with hints of raisins, prunes, cedar, spice and vanilla. The wine tastes smooth, rich and succulent and has fabulous depth of flavor. Full-bodied and with good structure the dark fruit is beautifully interlaced with spice, coffee, licorice and much more. This is a great example of Amarone. It's a big wine at 15% alcohol but it doesn't show any heat. It ends with a long, lingering finish of chocolate covered raisins and coffee. Lovely!
Ready to buy? Check your local retailers.