£16.99–£23.70, Roberts & Speight, Fareham Wine Cellar, Tannico UK, Vinvm, Village Wines, York Wines, Wine Utopia
I could happily drink this generous, velvety Venetian red at any time of the year, but it feels all the more appropriately comforting as we slide into the cooler, darker days of autumn with their incumbent casseroles, roasts, ragùs and game.
The pleasure of a good ripasso – and this is a very good one – is that you get some of the richness and depth of an Amarone combined with the red-cherry freshness of a young Valpolicella.
Literally. Because ripasso means the new wine has been 'passed over' the grape skins of the previous vintage's Amarone, the complex, powerful wine made from partially dried grapes.
In the case of Tedeschi's Capitel San Rocco, the new wine ferments initially for 15 days before fermenting slowly on the Amarone skins for 8–15 days. It's then aged in traditional Slavonian oak barrels.
The wood gives a gentle, spicy backdrop of nutmeg and cinnamon to the red and black cherry fruit, dark chocolate, balsamic depth, raisin tang and graphite freshness. Fine, dry tannins provide the underlying framework.
The grape varieties are a delightfully operatic-sounding cast of locals: Corvina and Corvinone in the principal roles (35% each), assisted by Rondinella (20%) with walk-on parts by Rossignola (10%), Oseleta, Negrara and Dindarella. Their stage is 20-year-old vineyards in the clay and limestone soils of the Moraine Hills.
As well as casseroles, roasts, ragùs and game, this is a wine for root veg, pumpkins and squashes (especially the chestnutty potimarron, aka red kuri), for calves liver (including fegato alla Veneziana), chorizo and bean stew (try Claudia Roden's recipe), empanadas and hard and semi-hard cheeses.
And I know you don't want to think about this yet, but it's a good wine for festive tables, including turkey with all its multiflavoured accompaniments. 14.5%. Empty bottle weight: 460g.
Tedeschi Capitel San Rocco Valpolicella Superiore Ripasso 2019, Veneto, Italy
The Wine Society has the 2020 vintage, which I haven't yet tasted.