Pieropan Ruberpan 2006
Pieropan is famous for their beautiful single vineyard Soave’s, which defy expectations for the potential of Garganega. While I’m not regularly a huge fan of Valpolicella due to the often higher alcohol and tendency towards the ripasso style, Pieropan seems to have found a compelling approach to these wines with their IGT ‘Ruberpan’ (now classified as Valpolicella Superiore). It is a Corvina dominated blend that provides the black fruit and spice of the grape without the heat and alcohol of Ripasso. It is a lively, aromatic style well suited to food and a good example of a Corvina blend made with a lighter touch.
New Vines, New Style
The vines in the Ruberpan vineyards on Mount Garzon are quite young, being first planted in 2000 after being purchased and ‘refurbished’ by Pieropan in 1999. Thus you can’t expect huge complexity, but I am nonetheless quite impressed with the results. The soils are clay and chalk in this vineyard that lies 350-500 metres above sea level in a dry micro-climate with significant temperature variation. The wine is made to allow the fruit to express itself without much imprint and so ageing is in both 500 and 2500 litre barrels for 18 to 24 months. As such, I would classify this as a more ‘modern’ styled wine than traditional Valpolicella. By this I mean a wine that has higher acidity and is mid-weight and so pairs with food more effectively than many of the big-boned high-end Valpols on the market.
Other than Corvina, which constitutes 65% of the blend, Ruberpan consists of Rondinella, Corvinone and Croatina Veronese (35%) and well as grapes (5%) from other traditional valpolicella varieties.
This is a very high quality wine I highly recommend to those looking for a fresher style but enjoy the flavour profile of traditional Valpolicella blends.
Very Good+ to Excellent