While the team at Xtrawine primarily focuses on the producers who make the amazing wines that we consume on a daily basis, we often neglect to talk about the organizations and collectives that have developed over the years with the aim of providing unsung producers and other members the platforms that they need to get their wines in front of larger audiences.
Such organizations have historically played a large role in the development of the Italian wine industry, particularly in the days before the Internet when it was much harder for international buyers, and even some domestic customers, to get their hands on wines that were not already popular or regularly imported into their countries.
With that in mind, this month we have decided to take a look at one such organization and the work they put into promoting the wines and work of some of Italy’s most underappreciated producers.
Formed in 1933, Cantina Valpolicella Negrar’s aim has always been to promote the men and women who make the wines to emerge from the Valpolicella region. They do this by providing information to interested parties about the various members of the organization, while also working diligently to promote the culture and expansive knowledge that the region has already developed a reputation for.
In more modern times, the organization has grown to an increasingly large capacity and it currently offers advice, guidance and promotional services to more than 200 grape growers across more than 700 hectares of land. This reach has also allowed Cantina Valpolicella Negrar to grow in strength and it is through the organization’s work that many people who may not have been aware of the many wines to come from the region have discovered some truly spectacular vintages that are capable of giving even the most famous producers a run for their money.
The organization also plays a large role in maintaining the traditions of the region and is capable of offering detailed advice to long-time members and new producers alike about how to take care of the natural environment around them and how it can be used to ensure that their wines are truly representative of the region and everything that it brings to the industry.
Together the Cantina’s members have been able to identify sites in the region that are ideally suited to growing various types of grape, allowing production to increase without the sacrifices in quality that are traditionally associated with large quantities. Furthermore, this work has allowed some of the grapes that are most closely associated with the region to be grown in larger numbers, which has resulted in the production of a number of special selections and “cru” wines that may not otherwise have been possible.
Having been in operation for more than eighty years, the various members of the organization are also privy to the depth of experience and knowledge that has been generated by Cantina Valpolicella Negrar’s hard work. The Cantina is a treasure trove of knowledge for those who wish to make the greatest use of their lands to ensure they create vintages that enrapture those who taste them and fully represent everything that the region has to off. This has led to the development of a number of gorgeous wines, particularly Amarones, Reciotos and the Valpolicellas that lend the organization its name.
Their reach does not solely extend to this region though, as the Cantina has often provided services to producers from a little further afield, particularly in the viticultural zone of Verona. It is through this work that their collective knowledge spreads further, which can only be seen as a positive for an industry that has become increasingly open to new ideas and techniques, particularly since the dawn of the Internet and during a period in history when more people than ever are discovering the joys of Italian wine.
Today, the total production of the members of the Cantina numbers at more than eight million bottles per year, which is a truly staggering number, especially when considering the sheer quality that many of these vintages are capable of boasting. The winery that the group maintains has an enormous capacity for oak ageing, demonstrating once again the important role that it has played in the success of many grape growers and producers.
As you may expect from such a massive collaborative effort, the Cantina has also dedicated itself to enormous amounts of research, all of which is intended to benefit the industry as a whole. It has involved itself in a number of large projects over the course of the last fifteen years, placing particular focus on the science behind wine and grape production in the hope of having a hand in the continued evolution of the industry.
With all that having been said, how about we take a look at one of the more recent vintages to emerge from this most impressive of organizations?
While this may be something of a recent vintage, there is no denying the fact that the Domini Veneti Amarone Classico is one of the most famous and well-regarded wines to emerge from the Cantina’s work. Known for its elegance and remarkable structure, the wine has long established itself as a favourite amongst those in the know, but its quality certainly deserves an even wider audience.
Made using grapes that are grown specifically in the Valpolicella Classico zone, this wine is a true representation of the region and, by extension, the work that the Cantina does to promote the region and the wines that come from it.
It features a stunning rub red complexion that is truly mesmerizing to look at, hinting at the complexity of the wine itself. When introduce to the nose the aromas you will experience are powerful and impactful. Fruity hints of cherry and dried prunes are the most obvious, but those who explore a little further will also notice the subtlest hints of dried flowers and a number of different spices.
The full body and smoothness of the wine are also highlights and it is clear that great work and effort has gone into balancing the gorgeous tannins to create a wine that is at once powerful and palatable.