LCBO Sale Pick of the Week: Dec. 3

Cesari 2013 Mara Valpolicella Ripasso Superiore (Veneto, Italy)

Sale $15.95, Regular $17.95
Discount (until Jan. 3): $2.00
LCBO # 506519 | 750 mL bottle

Tastes like: Black cherry (cough syrup), black berries and plum, a touch of menthol and green/herbaceous notes, a touch of coffee.
Pairs with: Rack of lamb with blackberry sauce, osso buco, veal shank, ribeye, mushroom risotto.
Good for: Deep dark winter, cooking over a wood stove, warding off shivers.
Alcohol: 13%
Drink: Now to 2017.

ClubK. $119 all in. Six delicious wines to put the jingle in your bells.

Why we're drinking this
This is a youthful example of Ripasso, a style of Valpolicella in which the young wine is refermented along with the skins and pulp leftover from the making of Amarone, a powerful wine made from grapes that have been dried to increase concentration. Some of the Amarone character makes its way into the Ripasso,  adding weight, texture and richness. This makes them eminently drinkable all on their own, where you can fully appreciate that supple texture and bright fruit flavours. They are great food wines too, able to stand up to big flavours due to  their bright acidity, prominent tannins and balance of fruity and savoury elements. We love these wines in the fall and winter because they are generally a bit hefty. But this Cesari is a somewhat lighter example. It’s still young and a bit rustic. Though drinking well now, it could easily stand a few more months in bottle to mellow out.

Tasting note
Quite classic Valpolicella character of bright cherry fruit, plum, blackberry and currant, with herbaceous tones of menthol, thyme and black tea. I always get a bit of cherry cough syrup in Ripasso. Some smokiness, too, and cigar box, along with a dusty quality. The wine is a bit wild right now, and will benefit from a bit of time in a cool cellar to ripen the tannins and integrate the alcohol. But if you like a smooth wine with a bit of bite, you’ll love this right now. Give it a rich meaty dish, especially lamb, or mushroom risotto.

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LCBO Pick - Dec 3 - Cesari Mara Valpolicella Ripass Superiore Doc

This week's selection by kwäf Taste Bud Dick Snyder