Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Day 1: Tour of Bolla winery & wine dinner

I was lucky to escape the unbelievable Boston storms that we have been experiencing over the past 2 weeks a day early by venturing over to Italy for my 8th trip. I was provided the opportunity by the Consorzio della Valpolicella to discover not only all the wines of the Valpolciella, but in particular Amarone and the 2011 Amarone release that will lastly be revealed in my blogs with the Anteprima Amarone event. I'll share with you throughout the next couple weeks my visits to the wineries of this region, wines I've tasted and the winemakers I met. Of course food needs to be integrated since it's such a part of the Italian lifestyle as well.
Bolla winery tasting room
Bolla tasting room
On my first day of arrival into Verona I attended my first winery tour of the trip that night of the Bolla winery. The Bolla winery located in San Pietro in Cariano is their headquarters that is located in the southwestern part of the Valpolicella area in the Veneto. The Bolla winery began in 1883 by Abele Bolla. The current owner today is the Gruppo Italiano Vini that took part ownership in 2006 and then later bought the company outright in 2009. We were introduced to the winemaker Christian Scrinzi, Wine Director Giannantonio Marconi and Wine Educator Roberta Speronello. 
Christina Scrinzi & Giannantonio Marconi
Left to Right: Christian Scrinzi, myself, Giannantonio Marconi
Bolla manages about 15 cellars and 800 hectacres, about 1975 acres, with corvina and rondinella being the most planted grapes.  Bolla's production is 10 million bottles with about 150,000 of those belonging to Amarone. Giannantonio has partaken in 22 harvests with Bolla so both him and Christian were able to provide a lot of insight into what they have seen take place over the years and the changes. 
Wine cellars of Bolla
Cantina del Nonno of Bolla 

A hundred winegrowers are part of the Gruppo Italiano Vini. The Bolla facilities in San Pietro is where Bolla also vinifies for the Santi and Lamberti wineries. In Bolla's wine cellar, known as “Cantina del Nonno” or “grandfather's cellar”, it contains almost 2000 barrels with the oldest barrel, Slavonian, dating back to 1883 and is still used to this day mostly for storage.
Slavonian wine barrel at Bolla
1883 wine barrel
Visiting the valpolicella wine region

One of Bolla's successful projects over the years has been the education centers they have established for wine growers. They have created 10 pruning schools to further educate the appropriate way to prune vineyards since this is where a lot of it starts for the producers. In this region in particular the pergola system is used a lot in addition to guyot.
Barrel tasting of Amarone at Bolla
Following our tour we sampled from the barrel the Amarone della Valpolicella Classico “Le Origine” 2011 that is made available in November 2018 and the Amarone della Valpolicella Classico “Rhetico” 2011 which will be made available November 2016. According to Giannantonio 2011 was a textbook year.  In the Anteprima Amarone event at the end of my trip I attended a blind tasting lead by Luca Martini whom is AIS (Associazione Italiana Sommelier) world's best sommelier in 2013. In the blind tasting of the 1998 bottles one was revealed to be the Bolla Amarone della Valpolicella Classico 1998 Le Origini.

Our wine tasting at Bolla was followed by a wonderful dinner at the Enoteca della Valpolicella in Fumane of the Valpolicella with Christian, Giannantonio and Roberta. It was a wonderful opportunity to sample many more of the fine wines of Bolla paired with courses chosen by the Enoteca. As you'll see we sampled the following pairings:
  • 2013 Bolla Tufaie Soave Superiore Classico
  • 2012 Bolla Colforte Valpolicella Classico Superiore
  • 2011 Bolla Creso Rosso IGT
  • 2009 Bolla Rhetico Amarone della Valpolicella Classico
  • 2008 Bolla Le Origini Amarone della Valpolicella Classico
  • 2003 Bolla Le Origini Amarone della Valpolicella Classico

    Egg with broccoli and anchovy paste
    2013 Bolla Tufaie Soave Superiore Classico 
    2012 Bolla Colforte Valpolicella Classico Superiore 

    Ricotta Tortelli 
    wine and food pairing with valpolicella2011 Bolla Creso Rosso IGT

    duck with amaroneBolla Rhetico and Le Origini Amarone della Valpolicella

    dessert at Enoteca della Valpolicella
To say the least it was a great way to start the week and I look forward to sharing with you many more winery visits over the next couple weeks. Stay tuned and ciao for now!

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