Please The Palate Pick of the Week: Bertani Valpolicella 2017

When my week starts with a wine tasting, I know it is off to a good start. My week started off with a virtual wine tasting with Bertani Winery and Operations Director Andrea Lonardi. Bertani winery was founded in 1857 by the brothers Giovan Battista and Gaetano Bertani. They were the first to produce the bone-dry Bertani Secco in 1857 and in 1958 they were the first to invent Amarone. But it is the Bertani Valpolicella 2017 that is the Please The Palate pick of the week.

Andrea Lonardi joined Bertani in 2012, after working in France and California. An agronomist by training, he oversees the viticulture, winemaking and marketing for all of the wineries under the Bertani Domains umbrella including Bertani (Veneto), Puiatti (Friuli), and TREROSE (Tuscany).

Bertani is an iconic brand in Valpolicella. Bertani has 200 hectares of vineyards in the Verona province. 100 hectares are located at Tenuta Novare in Arbizzano di Negrar, in the heart of the Valpolicella Classica area where the reds such as Amarone and Valpolicella Classico Superiore are made.

Bertani has a culture of making wines of finesse. Even a wine like Amarone, which can be big, heavy and juicy, Bertani produces elegant, bright wines. But the wine that stole my attention was the Bertani Valplicella 2017. A blend of 80% Corvina Veronese and 20% Rondinella, the grapes are hand harvested, destemmed and crushed. The must is fermented in wide and shallow steel tanks, ideal for increasing contact between skins and must and for limiting mechanical intervention. The wine is then aged in concrete vats covered with glass bricks in the underground part of the cellar for about 8 months and then in the bottle for at least 3 months.

Bertani Valpolicella 2017 is a bright red color with purple highlights and is transparent. The nose is bright with notes of sour cherries, raspberries, red currants, sweet spices and white pepper. On the palate, the wine is approachable with fresh acidity and salinity and is only 12% alcohol.

Bertani Valpolicella can be enjoyed on its own with a slight chill. It can be drunk through an entire meal, from pasta with tomatoes to grilled, roasted or stewed meats to mature cheeses. Think of it as similar to Pinot Noir, Cabernet Franc from Loire or Beaujolais. This wine is light and enjoyable but not simple.

Andrea is convinced that Valpolicella is the new everyday drinking wine. Available for $17, I could not agree more and that is why it is the Please The Palate pick of the week.