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Located in the center of Valpolicella on one of the five ridges that descend the valley (which resemble the fingers of a hand), Monte dall' Ora is the creation of Carlo Venturini and his wife Alessandra Zantedeschi. Both are from vignaioli families, but decided to start fresh with their own estate in 1995. At the time, the purchased terraces were in terrible condition and everything had to be rebuilt.
Vines are either selection massale or grafted on American rootstock. Carlo has chosen to work with (and in some cases, replant) the region's traditional varietals: Corvina, Corvinone, Rondinella, and Oseleta (a lost indigenous grape). The estate was worked organically until 2006, when the the couple converted to biodynamic agriculture. The soils are unique to their particular ridge, and are composed of limestone with a reddish hue. The first 15 meters are very soft and porous, permitting the vines' roots to penetrate deep in the subsoil.
The vines are all trained in the Pergola style. Carlo thought about training the vines in Guyot, but quickly changed his mind for reasons of climate and quality control. In many regions, growers continue to use Pergola because this vine tending system produces very high yields; while often inconsequential to the health of the grapes, the widespread justification is that Pergola is necessary to protect the fruit from the sun. In Valpolicella's case, this is actually true: Corvina and Corvinone are both very susceptible to sunlight. They are also very vigorous varietals: with guyot, bunches would get too big and become prone to illness. Pergola creates more air and space between clusters; the plants are more separated, which results in smaller and more concentrated bunches.
Instead of worrying about lower yields for higher concentration (an easy goal with Guyot but very hard to accomplish with Pergola), Carlo prefers focusing his energy on balance in the vineyard: this essentially means promoting agricultural and natural biodiversity instead of just vine tending. Grass grows free, with cherry and olive trees complimenting the entirety of the vineyard. This work philosophy continues through the winemaking.
The Venturinis are firm adherents to biodynamic principles. As such, they encourage the growth of biodiversity by planting herbs such as rosemary and lavender in the summer, whose fragrant blooms are attractive to bees; and sowing cereals in the winter, whose roots move and aerate the soil. In addition, the Alessandra and Carlo have emphasized traditional and native grape varieties wherever possible.
40% Corvina/30% Corvinone/20% Rondinella/10% Oseleta & Molinara. The Camporenzo vineyard is essentially the family's "backyard", three hectares planted in rolling San Pietro hills behind their house. Like most of Monte Dall'Ora's vines, these are pergola-trained and grown on terraces, in this case east-facing ones with loose, sandy, limestone-rich soils. The fruit is hand-harvested in the first part of October into small bins, crushed and placed in wooden vats, where they are foot-trodden once a day. Fermentation takes place spontaneously with indigenous yeasts and maceration lasts for 10-12 days. The wine is aged for 4 months in small oak barrels.
TASTING NOTES: This wine has a ruby red color. On the nose, it displays perfumes of red fruits, such as cherries, as well as hints of hay and spices, and closes on a vanilla note. The flavor echoes the sensations on the nose, whilst maintaining a somewhat traditional, well-defined style. The wine has a delicious complexity and structure about it, making it very moreish indeed!
FOOD PAIRING: This is a wine for drinking throughout the meal. It goes particularly well with traditional Veronese dishes such as local soups (like pasta e fasoi), poultry and/or moderately aged cheeses.
BIODYNAMIC. ORGANIC. LOW-SULFITE.
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