The delightful 2009 Amarone della Valpolicella Classico Monte Ca' Bianca is a wine of pedigree and determination. Monte Ca' Bianca is richly redolent of dark fruit, mesquite, cola and balsam herb. It also shows a drying vein of crushed mineral that balances out the overt sweetness of the bouquet. The finish is soft and supple with a point of bright acidity on the close. This is one of the nicest and most even-keeled Amarone wines I tasted this year. Bravo.
I have nothing but good words for the wines of Lorenzo Begali and his family. Elegance is the common thread that connects them all and this is by no means easy to achieve with consistent results, especially when you factor in the appassimento, or air-drying, process. Begali will tell you that his secret is in overhead, pergola-trained grape vines. This traditional growing system has gone out of fashion only to return to fashion more recently. It is commonly thought that pergola allowed for too much vigor, but Begali argues that this system actually reduces yields when managed properly.
If you can name but two producers in Valpolicella (I’m betting they are Dal Forno and Quintarelli), it’s now time to add a third: Lorenzo Begali. Lorenzo and his children Giordano and Tiliana make the most exciting wines in the region today. These are inaugural reviews (Begali has never been reviewed by The Wine Advocate). Visiting this small estate, tall and lanky Giordano will win you over with his impassioned dedication to the traditional Pergola Veronese growing system. He and his father believe that overhead trellising is the secret to making quality wine and controlling yields. Having now tasted this beautiful collection of new releases, I am a true Begal-iever.
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