Isabell & 晴格格
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The Speri family has been making wine since 1874. Today three generations are represented at the winery, 8 family members. The winery is nestled in the heart of the Valpolicella region just outside of Verona, Italy, and spans over 60 hectares of vines. Their wines are organic as well, after years of sustainable farming, the Winery achieved organic certification in 2015. Speri grows Corvina, Corvinone, Rondinella, Molinara and other native varieties, but this family’s claim to fame lies with their Amarone Della Valpolicella Classico Sant’Urbano DOCG. Made with Corvina Veronese and Corvinone (70%), Rondinella (25%) and Molinara (5%), it is aged for 24 months in 500 l. French oak tonneaux and then 18 months in medium-to-large Slavonian oak casks, thereafter, it is left to mature in-bottle for 12 months. Speri happens to be one of the oldest wineries to produce this wine, producing its first bottles in the 1950’s.
Laura one of the Speri family members was our guide for the tour, she walked us through the entire establishment, into all the various rooms filled with casques and steel tanks, everything was so clean and state of the art. It looked like an operation that runs like clockwork. Finally, at one point, she led us into the bottling room located in a huge warehouse style space. The industrial sized machinery used for bottling was quite impressive, she noted that even though some of the other wineries were sharing a bottling station for their wines, Speri preferred to invest in their own equipment so they could control the cleanliness and access to the machines when they needed it. She said that even though the machines were extremely expensive, it was worth it because this way they could oversee the process every step of the way.
As we walked a group member asked a rather intriguing question; having noticed rose bushes at the ends of each vine row as we were approaching the winery, he asked why that is. Laura mentioned that this has been a long-standing tradition for wine-growers. She said that rose bushes are very sensitive, and back in olden times if a rose bush was affected by a blight such as powdery mildew or downy mildew for example, the rose bushes would show signs of problems first, triggering the viticulturalist to act quickly to save the vineyard. The second reason mentioned was the fact that when oxen or horses were used, rose bushes provided a nice barrier so that none of the vines would get knocked about or trampled on and the last reason of course was that roses are beautiful!
The final stop before the tasting session was when Laura led us through a small dining room, we were mesmerized by the rack of bottles holding very, very old vintages in the corner. My friends were a little confused why the Amarone wine bottles were a different shape from the rest of the bottles; how did this come about? She told us that back in the early 50’s when the wine producers in this area started thinking about producing Amarone for sale rather than personal consumption (which, she said, was the case before this point), the old winery owners decided to meet together at one of the winery owners homes to have a meeting, Laura said it was likely that one of the wine producers happened to have an overstock of this type of bottle, therefore, this shape of bottle was then used. They probably did not know that Amarone would become such an international phenomenon, and this very randomly chosen bottle would then become recognized as the “Amarone” bottle.
The tasting encompassed all their signature wines, the Recioto della Valpolicella Classico La Roggia DOCG, Valpolicella Classico DOC, Valpolicella Classico Superiore Sant’Urbano DOC, and the Valpolicella Ripasso Classico Superiore DOC. While they were all superb, it was the Valpolicella Classico Superiore Sant’Urbano DOC that stood out. This blend is made with Corvina Veronese e Corvinone (75%), Rondinella (20%), and Molinara (5%), the grapes come from a single vineyard of volcanic soil, 300 meters above sea-level, once the grapes are harvested, they are left to dry for around 20-25 days to concentrate their sugars. Then they get destemmed and pressed in November. Thereafter, fermentation takes place in temperature-controlled stainless-steel tanks. Aging occurs for 24 months, in 500 l. French oak barrels and then then wine is matured in-bottle for 6 months. As we savored it, the nose was complex and fruity, the flavors were spicy, round, and the finish was long.
品鉴环节包括他们所有的标志性葡萄酒，瓦波利切拉经典乐巧多La Roggia DOCG, 瓦波利切拉经典DOC, 瓦波利切拉高级经典Sant’Urbano DOC, 和瓦波利切拉经典里帕索DOC。虽然他们都很出色，瓦波利切拉高级经典Sant’Urbano DOC脱颖而出。这种混合葡萄酒是由75%的维罗纳的科维纳和科维纳、20%罗蒂妮拉和5%莫利纳拉酿制而成。这些葡萄来自海拔300米的、火山土壤的、单一葡萄园。当葡萄被收获之后，它们将被晾干大约20-25天以浓缩糖分。然后，他们在11月份被除梗和压榨。此后，发酵在温控不锈钢罐中进行。在500升法国橡木桶中进行24个月陈酿，然后葡萄酒在瓶中陈酿6个月。当我们品尝它的时候，会嗅到它的复杂而有果味，口腔中有果味、香料味道、圆润、余味很长。
Once we had tasted this wine, Laura told us a little secret, she noted that everyone goes for the Amarone, the name carries international fame. Tourists want to order it at restaurants because it is known to be the best wine, this is why it costs slightly more than the Valpolicella – but – it is their Valpolicella wine that is the real star. If people sitting in front of a waiter ask for a recommendation, the waiter might well recommend this one over the Amarone because: the flavors are just incredible, and it is just so easy to drink, it is not heavy at all, but it is so interesting. And she was quite right, I did prefer the Valpolicella Classico Superiore Sant’Urbano DOC over the Amarone, I even bought a bottle, it was fantastic; easy to drink, not heavy but full and round, the flavors kept me coming back for more (I was so sad this was just a tasting!).
在我们品尝了这款酒之后，Laura告诉我们一个小秘密。她注意到因为阿玛罗耐这个名字的国际知名度，所以每个人都喜欢。游客们想在餐馆点它，因为它被认为是最好的葡萄酒，这就是为什么它的价格比其他瓦波利切拉葡萄酒略高——然而——真正的明星却是他们的瓦尔多利拉葡萄酒。如果客人要求面前的侍酒师推荐，侍酒师很可能会推荐这个而不是阿玛罗耐，因为: 味道太不可思议了，而且如此易饮，酒体一点也不厚重。这个现象很有趣吧！她说得很对，比起阿玛罗耐，我更喜欢瓦波利切拉高级经典Sant’Urbano DOC。因为真心太棒了，我为自己买了一瓶；非常易饮，酒体不重，却又饱满圆润，这味道让我想再来续一杯 (我很难过，因为品尝仅仅提供一杯！)。
So all in all, this was a very successful visit, we got a really personal tour from one of the family, Laura was so kind and patient, answering all our questions (and there were dozens!) and we came away with some truly interesting information about the wines and the family, it was clear that they have been doing this a very long time and based on all the tour buses pulling up in the driveway, people love this place.