Monte dei Ragni is a tiny jewel of an estate perched at between 250 – 350 metres above sea level on the vertiginous slopes above the village Fumane at the heart of the Valpolicella Classico zone.
Only 2 hectares! of the total 8 available are planted with a view to making wine; part pergola, part guyot. Production is circa 5000 bts of the Valpolicella Superiore Ripasso and 1500 bts of the Amarone Classico. The remaining 6ha of fruit is currently sold off.
Zeno Zignoli married into the Ragno family and then spent 8 years preparing the ground, with the aide of a horse, before releasing his first wine with vintage 2003. Vinification is entirely in oak, predominantly used tonneau.
“Il vino ha suo tempo” (Zeno)
Valpolicella Classico Ripasso Superiore –
Amarone Classico della Valpolicella
2014 Valpolicella Classico Superiore – tasted March’18, from tank prior to bottling on 7 Aprile; 15% abv; 6,600 bts produced from 2ha. Zeno chose not to make an Amarone Classico in both 2013 & 2014 vintages, hence why there is no ‘Ripasso’ on the label (as no Amarone lees to pass over), & why his 2014 Valpolicella Classico Superiore is particularly good! It was a rainy summer, reducing the yield naturally by 15%. Zeno left everything till the harvest, leaving half the crop on the vine. The only respite was in 10 days of sole in Settembre. With all that, Zeno is very surprised by the quality of the final wine & the degree of alcohol it’s arrivaed at, 15%! Affinamento/elevage in 500 litre tonneaux (20% new) for 3 years. A classically dark Amarone red garnet; the nose is profondo, complex yet giving, rich with kirsch, acquavite ‘Mora’ (big black fleshy) cherry notes, fresh, with clove & black pepper – intriguing. To taste it’s avvolgente, embracing, reassuring, with a bella presenza, sumptuous, teak wood, classy, a baby Amarone? All without any appassimento, just a late harvest! Open, generous, delizioso (gia!)
2012 Amarone Classico della Valpolicella – tasted from bottle March’18; bottled Nov’16, only 2k bts made! 16% abv. Zeno’s last Amarone until vintage 2015 – so make it last!! He chose not to produce an Amarone in 2013 & 2014, pouring the fruit into the Valpolicella Classico Superiore (non Ripasso!) Aged in new 500 litre French tonneaux (btw, he’s bought a pair of 15HL Garbellotto botti grandi for vintage 2015!). Having been in bottle since Nov’16, the wine is relaxed, resolved, neat with more of a red hue. On the nose, it’s focused, tight, some creamy wood in youth, along with notes of ‘Durone’ (tighter, blood red flesh) cherry. Real presenza, ‘strength’, juicy, energetico, taut, quasi kirsch, coiled, driven. Remembering that the harvest of the fruit destined for Amarone is slightly earlier, conserving the acidity, as the subsequent appassimento concentrates the sugars further. Gorgeous.