Thursday, March 27, 2008

Allegrini Palazzo della Torre or La Grola, which one to choose?

Looking for an Italian red from the Veneto region, I found these two wines from one of Veneto's top producers, at my local
Beverages and More!
store: the 2004 Allegrini Palazzo della Torre and the 2004 Allegrini La Grola. Since I could not decide which one to buy, I bought the two wines. Then later, we tasted them side by side in order to determine which one we liked the best.

Although both are from the same producer, the two wines seemed pretty different, on paper at least. The producer is Allegrini, a family estate making wines in the Valpolicella Classica area since the XVI century. Valpolicella or val polis cellae, meaning the valley of many wine cellars, is located in the Veneto region, north west of the City of Verona. The climate is generally mild and temperate. All of Allegrini's wines are produced from estate-grown fruit.

The Allegrini Palazzo della Torre comes from a vineyard of the same name, beautifully terraced with dry stone walls. The wine is a blend of Corvina, Rondinella, and Sangiovese made in an innovative ripasso style: 70% of the grapes are vinified immediately after the harvest, while the remaining 30% are left to dry until the end of December. They are then vinified and re-fermented with the wine from the fresh grapes.

The Allegrini La Grola comes from the La Grola vineyard, a 24.26 hectare vineyard located on a hill that dominates the entire Valpolicella area. It has a mixed terroir of alluvial origin, with volcanic soils at the foot of the vineyard, extending up the slope. The hill is well exposed to the sun and enjoys an ideal microclimate thanks to the influence of Lake Garda to the west and north and Mt. Baldo (Verona's highest mountain), which protects the area from the cold winds. The wine is a blend of Corvina, Rondinella, Syrah, and Sangiovese aged in French oak and does not use dried grapes.

Well, could we find any difference between the two wines? They had a dark red color and a nose of sweet plums, raisins, and spices. On the palate they were smooth and luscious with some nice acidity and a lingering finish. Was the La Grola slightly more aromatic and fuller-bodied? Hard to say, but we liked them both.

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