ROCCOLO GRASSI: FAMILY-OWNED VINEYARD AND THE WINERY


THE MEETING

I met this company in a very funny way. It was 2002, at a friend’s house for an evening dedicated to Amarone. The bottles were anonymous, hidden from the participants’ view, belonging to the elite of the great names of the Valpolicella area. Among the giants of this type, an extraordinary Amarone made his way, notable for its expressive power and easy to drink, far from the stereotype of monumental wines relegated most of the time at the end of the meal, with cheeses or to meditate in front of the fireplace. Once revealed, I realized I had never heard that name before and that it would remain imprinted in my personal memory for the following years: Roccolo Grassi. In addition, as a surprise, it was revealed that among the “tasters” there was also the vigneron/producer.
With the benevolent smile of the producer (and those of the participants that knew…), I called that vigneron “Roccolo” for the entire night. Only at the end, it turned out his name was “Marco”. The funny thing is…I was convinced that it was a pseudonym to hide in everyday life his original name. Actually, Roccolo Grassi is the name of an extraordinary family-owned vineyard located on the hills of San Briccio, from which the winery takes its name; the owner we write about is the young and dinamic Marco Sartori.

THE WINERY

The company was founded in 1996, right when Marco, newly graduated in Oenology, joined his father Bruno in the wine cellar activities. Marco, joined by his sister later, spurred the production to a greater quality, moving quickly towards the top quality companies of the area. The philosophy seems simple but is set with the right spirit: quality without compromises, respect for nature, great technical skills, low yields and limited number of bottles.
Completely connected to the territory, its wines are easy to drink and characterized by a rare complexity.

THE WINES

Soave “Vigneto La Broia”. Next to the basement, there is a small plot of 3 hectares called Broia, which extends over calcareous soil and gives exceptional finesse and complexity to the Garganega grapes. The final product is a Soave of rare mineral structure and intensity. Made of beautiful material, it is really fruity, floral and mineral, with the typical almond aftertaste during its initial years. With an extraordinary ability to age, it becomes more complex over time, increasing the intensity of colour and transfiguring in tertiary aromas of delicious jams and ripe fruits. I recently drank almost ten-year old wines of amazing integrity and personality. The taste is fresh, flavourful and well structured.

 
Valpolicella Superiore. It is shimmering, bright and intese red in colour. It comes from the Roccolo Grassi vineyard and it is made from the classic grapes of Valpolicella: Corvina, Corvinone, Rondinella and Croatina. Its aromas are exceptionally pleasant, ranging from wild berries, blackberries and blueberries to superior and complex aromas, such as spices, chocolate and tobacco. It pairs perfectly with rich dishes, sincere and authoritative meal companion. If aged rightly, it matches also important and elaborate dishes of game.

 
Amarone della Valpolicella. Flagship of the company, it is a sumptuous wine both in structure and complexity. The planting density is high, with 6500 plants per hectare. The yield is very low. The vines are typical of the Valpolicella area. Dark and intense red that proves at the sight the great material of this wine. The beautiful product amazes with an extraordinary ability to match challenging dishess, such as braised meat and wild game. It features aromas of black cherry in syrup and mace, conducted through an important alcohol content but never annoying. With oxygenation, it fans out with flavours of blond tobacco and the classic chocolate. The taste is balanced despite the abundant material; alcohol is almost not perceived. There is a sense of fullness and roundness well mixed with fine tannins of great persistence. If aged, it is a wine not to be contaminated with any food, because the age gives it a unique sensory spectrum and features to appreciate in joyful reflection.

 
Recioto della Valpolicella. Produced in small quantities, it is a real gem of pleasantness. The blend is the one typical of Valpolicella and Amarone. Rich in colour, almost impenetrable to the eye. The aromas are inebriating, featuring dried sultanas and clear notes of herbs; really spicy. Some smoky notes enrich the whole thing. In the mouth, it is round and very wide, structured and impressive. It wraps and caresses the palate in an almost indecent way. It amazes with an exemplar cleanliness, never cloying thanks to its fresh cleaning acidity, despite the important residual sugars. I would not pair it with desserts. It matches perfectly aged cheeses.

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