You could have fooled us. If this isn't an Amarone, than it is as close as you will ever get at $28. Why is Valpolicella Ripasso such a great value? The designation Ripasso simply refers to a process where the Amarone skins are fermented with the younger Valpolicella wine to give it a little "kick." The end result is a wine that retains the vibrancy of Valpolicella, but has the dark color, bolder body and structure of an Amarone — hence the common term of “Baby Amarone” for Ripasso wines.
You actually get the best of both worlds in a Baby Amarone: a wine that is approachable in its youth, has structure to stand up to hearty and spicy foods, and has a wonderful rustic finish that is classic Veneto, Italy. By the way, if you are a California Cabernet fan looking to expand
your palate to Italy, this Ripasso is a great segue. Intense and elegant aromas of ripe fruit and spices with a hint of vanilla and tobacco. Warm, persistent flavors, velvety and harmonious.
This wine has a a richness and texture that begs to be paired with butternut squash and pancetta risotto or braised short ribs over creamy polenta.
Though this is the perfect wine for this time of year, don't be afraid to stash a few bottles away for barbecue season. Enjoy!