Friday Sips

Soave & Valpolicella from Pra
Today from 1:30 - 6:30 with special guest, Vini Pra export director Diego Corradi
(Diego will arrive at 3:30 but I'll have the wines ready at 1:30)
These days in Soave there are many great players but for me, the current holder of the title belt in my opinion is Pra. Exquisite wines from start to finish are produced here and this is a tasting that we have been clamoring to share with you all for a long time. Come and join us we explore three white wines and two reds poured and discussed by Diego Corradi, Pra’s export director.

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$17.99 BTL./$215.88 CASE

A big difference between Soave and Soave Classico is based around soils and sites. There are 33 different Cru sites for Soave Classico and they are on hillside. While some straight Soave can be nice, most come from the plain beneath the Classico one and can be a step away from being battery acid. None of that is the case at Pra since they are in one of the major areas of Soave, the village of Monteforte D’Alpone. The soils here are volcanic and lead to Soave wines with power but the touch from Graziano Pra always brings finesse, mineral and nervosity to the wines.

2018 is magic for this wine, which is named after Graziano’s Border collie. 100% Garganega. Gorgeous aromatics seduce with notes of mineral, lemon, and white flowers. Bone dry, excruciatingly refreshing powdery citrus scents shine and not to mention even more mineral and a touch of mushroom and earth lingering beneath the surface. Very complex, and just plain fun to drink, this is one of our absolute favorite Italian white wines and it has enough substance to pair with heartier fish preparations as well as being one of the ultimate white wines for fresh crab.

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$23.99 BTL./$287.88 CASE

The Staforte cuvee is from the top of the Soave hill and from four excellent sites (Froscà, Froscarino, Ponsara and Val dell’Acqua). Aged on its lees in tank with batonnage for a minimum of 6 months and then for at least 12 more months in bottle.

Essence of the region, this spot-on interpretation of Soave is a mineral monster with kisses of honey, lemon and pineapple and seashore scents. In the mouth, it is suave and sophisticated with plenty of voltage. The minerality picks up in the driving, flavorful mid-palate and keeps on going to the livewire, brisk finish. A great autumnal white wine to drink with a vegetarian risotto spiked with chanterelles.

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$29.99 BTL./$359.88 CASE

From a very special, single vineyard site. 70% Garganega and 30% of the prized Trebbiano di Soave (actually a cousin of Verdicchio). The Trebbiano is blended in for its briskness and adds a buffer to the Garganega, picked later and provides the wine’s density, form and full character. Nevertheless, it is Pra and poise is what always rules the day with all of their wines, especially this selection.

Beautiful aromatics swirl from the glass with notes of mineral, lemon, white flowers and mushroom. There is a deep level of old-vine concentration that is covers the palate yet maintains electricity. Vivid citrus notes of lemon, lime, tangerine and even more mineral. This wine is a testament to Monte Grande, beautiful artisanship and knowing when to let your amazing site speak for itself.

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$21.99 BTL./$263.88 CASE

Having only entered the Valpolicella/Amarone game in 2001, the revelation of just how good these wines are is nothing short of impressive. Grown in an area where both the Valpol and Amarone are known for the expressions of brutal power, Pra’s versions maintain integrity, class and succulence while maintaining that power base all due to the active limestone in the area. The Valpolicella is classically produced and the elevage is in large 2000-liter barrels and has a quick drying period of 20 days.

Luxurious juice with aromas of blackberry, bing cherry, almond and dark chocolate all filling your nose. Lusciously textured from entry to the impressive finish with fine balance and approachability throughout. Truckloads of fruit define the palate, with notes of espresso bean, exotic spice and chocolate covered berries and earth all coming out on the finish.

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$32.99 BTL./$395.88 CASE

Times are changing in Il Valpolicella when it comes to the thought process of making Ripasso wines. A reversion of sorts is occurring which highlights the wines not being "baby Amarone" while still maintaining the pass-over process but instead following the original vision of the 1950s and 60s which featured wines of breed and uniqueness that were the benchmarks of this process and region. Yes, Amarone is still the same beast of a wine that it is and should be, but now many producers such as Pra are putting forth Ripasso wines that don't kick back at you. Still, these wines preserve flavor and aura that entice and allow one to enjoy a full bottle.

Made utilizing the Ripasso technique, the unique winemaking practice of Valpolicella, which wine made during the recent vintage is placed atop the pressed grape skins and lees in the vats just used for Amarone and allowed to ferment further in contact with those skins, thus acquiring additional body and flavor. This version has it all! Dark, lush, dried strawberry, dark chocolate, ginger, and tobacco combine with a full and pleasing texture that keeps up with hearty dishes. If you enjoy flavorful Italian red wines then do not miss this one! Drink over the next 7-10 years.