Established in 1857, Bertani is a longtime producer of Valpolicella wines, including the two iconic bottlings we look at today — a 2012 Amarone and 2020 Ripasso. The brand is credited with inventing the Amarone style, so one can assume these are going to be on point.
2020 Bertani Valpolicella Ripasso DOC – Bertani’s Valpolicella Ripasso occupies, as they say, “a middle ground between its lighter Valpolicella wine and serious Amarone.” Ripasso (Italian for “re-pass”) is made in part like Amarone, with pressed, dried grapes partially fermented, then added to to Valpolicella wine, which adds complexity, alcohol, and sweetness. The resulting “baby Amarone” is able to be consumed immediately rather than aged in cellar. The results here are a bit unripe, with notes of rhubarb and underdeveloped plum showing up front, ultimately making this wine show best with food, where a touch of greenness can help temper a richer dish. Much lighter on its feet than Amarone, notes of raisin appear then disappear midway through the palate, finishing on a note of herbed plum, rhubarb, and tomato leaf. A full circle experience, really. B+ / $32
2012 Bertani Amarone della Valpolicella Classico DOCG – After 13 years of careful aging, this Amarone is rolling at full-tilt, showcasing an oh-so-gentle raisin character that evokes a touch of Port before taking a deep dive into a mélange of fresher fruits, florals, and wood. Some bright raspberry notes allow touches of orange blossoms, a pinch of bay leaf, and some lingering chocolate and vanilla elements to all mingle together, fading in and out of focus over the course of a long, lightly tannic experience. The wine begins its journey as an exploration of fruit, then finishes staring longingly into an ashy fireplace, rounded out with citrus peel. Masterful. A / $130