“We are convinced that each of our wines has to be born out of our territory and history. The authentic character of our wines is the result of 400 years of great passion and in-depth research.” ~ Lorenzo Tedeschi
No other Italian wine conjures images of love, passion, and tradition as does Amarone from Valpolicella. There is something about this style of wine and this prestigious region that wine lovers simply adore; maybe it is the big profile of the wines or maybe it is the passion and dedication that goes into making these complex wines. The Tedeschi family is one of the prominent families of Valpolicella that produce the beloved Amarone. Tedeschi wines stand apart, as they capture the authenticity and terroir of Valpolicella with its single-vineyard cru Amarone.
Tedeschi Family History
A short distance from the town of Verona in northern Italy, the Tedeschi family boasts four centuries of history and tradition in Valpolicella. As one of the historic families of the region, winemaking traditions have been passed down from generation to generation. The wines are made with care, passion, and tradition. Wines that exemplify the best of Valpolicella.
Family documents reveal the history of the Tedeschi family in Valpolicella dating back to 1630. The story of the family has evolved over the centuries but if we look more recently, it was Nicolò Tedeschi who founded the company in 1824. Since then the family has been dedicated to making wines that represent the spirit of Valpolicella.
Today the fifth generation of the Tedeschi family(Antonietta, Sabrina, and Riccardo) are at the helm of the company. I had the opportunity, to talk(virtually) with Sabrina Tedeschi. Sabrina has a very effervescent persona that immediately put me in the mood to taste and discover Tedeschi’s wines. Sabrina proudly explains how the Tedeschi Family is the ambassador of Amarone wines.
Lorenzo Tedeschi – Pioneer of Valpolicella Cru Wines
Sabrina begins by introducing her family, most notably her father Lorenzo Tedeschi. In the 1960s, Lorenzo introduced the first single-vineyard cru wines of Valpolicella. In a region where blending is a ritual, creating a single vineyard wine was radical and innovative. Lorenzo vinified the grapes from their prestigious Monte Olmi vineyards separately, making it the very first single vineyards wine of Valpolicella.
Today, Monte Olmi is the family’s flagship wine and a benchmark Amarone for the Valpolicella region. Sabrina emphasized that when wine experts conduct Amarone tastings or are looking for an Amarone for their wine list, they always include Monte Olmi Amarone because it signifies the essence and authenticity of Valpolicella.
The Crus of Tedeschi Vineyards
Throughout generations, the Tedeschi family has invested time, money, and emotion into finding the right cru vineyards in the hills of Valpolicella. Identifying the perfect hillside vineyards was important because of the types of soils(marl, limestone, clay, Coluvial soils), various microclimates, and ventilation. The Tedeschi family felt that it was in the hillside vineyards that they were able to produce wines with rich flavors that represented the genuine expressions of Valpolicella.
Monte Olmi was originally purchased in 1918, it is a 2.5 hectares vineyard in San Pietro in Cariano, the classic region of Valpolicella. The vineyards lie on the mountainside and are steep with an elevation of 430 feet above sea level. These vineyards have the great climatic influences of Lake Garda.
La Fabriseria was planted in 2000, with 7 hectares situated in Le Pontare (between the municipalities of Sant’Ambrogio di Valpolicella and Fumane). The steep vineyard has an elevation of 1500 feet above the sea. Very dry microclimatic conditions favor the production of healthy and well ripe grapes.
Maternigo vineyards were bought in 2006 and represents the Tedeschi family’s newest investment. The estate lies between the municipalities of Tregnago and Mezzane di Sotto, in the DOC area. The unique property has various exposures and altitudes between 900-1200 feet above sea level and extremely steep terrain.
Tedeschi Family Research and Innovation
Lorenzo’s children walk in his footstep and continue to be innovative pioneers. They have introduced new technology and scientific research into their winemaking traditions. The Tedeschi family was the first to study the land and soils of the region. Scientific research combined with years of history and tradition has enabled the Tedeschi family to produce the highest quality wines.
In 2010 they started the process of mapping and zoning their vineyards. They characterized the soils of each plot in order to better understand soil composition, which in turn helped them determine which grape variety was ideally suited. In the process, they discovered some very special soils and special parcels of land. The characterization study provided the estate the most effective tools and knowledge to manage the vineyards, allowing them the capabilities to organically manage individual plots.
In addition to mapping and zoning, they have spent time researching the flavor profiles of the different parcels from the individual grape varieties they grow. They have found different characterizations and expressions of Corvina and Corvinone within different plots of their cru vineyards. Sabrina says their research will carry on for the next two vintages so they can understand how vintage variation also influences the flavor of the wines.
Four Expressions Tedeschi Wines and Suggested Food Pairings
Valpolicella is a large area with 4000 hectares, so the Tedeschi family want to produce wines that are characteristic of the personality of the region and also representative of the family. The Tedeschi style is to make Amarone that is powerful yet elegant.
I had the opportunity to taste four styles of Tedeschi wines, Sabrina gave her recommended food pairings for each of the wines.
Tedeschi Capitel Nicalo Valpolicella Superiore 2017
This classic Valpolicella is extra special because it is made from grapes that were dried for one month. This dehydration process gives the wine more concentration and depth with notes of sweet cherries and spice. This wine is very versatile and Sabrina would pair the wine with pasta with a classic Italian tomato sauce. It will also pair deliciously with chicken, cold cuts, salads and fresh cheeses.
Tedeschi Capital San Rocco Ripasso Valpolicella Superiore 2017
The San Rocco Ripasso is full of lively red fruits like cherries, raspberries, and red currant. The spice adds additional layers of complexity. This is an exceptional Ripasso with freshness on the palate and a silky texture. San Rocco is a more elegant style of Ripasso that is balanced with sweetness, fruit and alcohol. Sabrina suggests pairing the Ripasso with pasta and meat sauce, cheeses, and grilled meats.
Tedeschi Marne 180 Amarone della Valpolicella 2016
Marne 180 Amarone is truly a gastronomic wine. Not a simple Amarone, the Marne 180 is powerful and fruity. Upon first taste, you are welcomed by a raisiny character with cherries, peppers, and spice. On the mouth, it is a complex wine of distinguishing character.
Sabrina says this Amarone is a food-friendly wine. She recommends pairing it with a traditional risotto made with radicchio. A delectable pairing for this classic Amarone.
Tedeschi Capitel Monte Olmi Amarone della Valpolicella Classico Riserva 2013
Monte Olmi Amarone Riserva is complex and sophisticated made with vines that 55-60 years old. This single vineyards cru Amarone is exceptional. It is a wine that is intense and robust. It has a voluptuous mouthfeel, yet extremely well balanced with finesse and power. It is a bright full-bodied wine with notes of plush ripe fruit, tobacco, spice, eucalyptus, coffee and earthy notes. Sabrina’s favorite pairing with Monte Olmi is aged Parmesan. It will also pair beautifully with lamb chops or grilled meats.