Tenuta Sant'Antonio Campo dei Gigli Amarone della Valpolicella 2016
Campo dei Gigli is Tenuta Sant'Antonio's most important vineyard, the source of the winery's flagship Amarone della Valpolicella wine. In the traditional fashion, the grapes from this vineyard are taken to the winery's drying room for at least 3 months to allow water to evaporate. The raisinated grapes have a high ratio of solids to water and create an Amarone with a classic style, concentrated and with balsamic notes. The vineyard name means "field of lilies," the flower symbol of the winery.
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The Tenuta Sant'Antonio 2016 Amarone della Valpolicella Campo dei Gigli (packaged in a very heavy eco-unfriendly glass bottle) is a dark and brooding wine packed tight with richly concentrated black fruit delivered in thick and lasting layers. The bouquet peels back to reveal dark plum and baked blackberry, but there is also a major focus on spice, tar, barbecue smoke and teriyaki. The wine makes a wide and large impact on the palate. It shows enormous textural richness and softly integrated tannins. You can age this blend of 70% Corvina and Corvinone, 20% Rondinella, 5% Croatina and 5% Oseleta (that sees three years in barrel) over the long haul.
Most of the historic producers of Valpolicella are located on the western side of the denomination, but the Valpolicella district stretches east across several hills and valleys almost to Soave, and it is in this eastern zone that some new, exciting, and innovative wineries have been established in recent years. The soils in the eastern Valpolicella have a higher component of calcium carbonate, which imparts a higher acidity and bolder cherry fruit character to the wines.
Antonio Castagnedi was a winegrower in the Illasi Valley of eastern Valpolicella in the late 20th century who left 50 acres of vineyards to his four sons. The brothers Armando, Tiziano, Paolo, and Massimo worked as consultants for other wine estates in Italy and continued to grow grapes on their inherited land in Colognola ai Colli, but had bigger dreams. In 1989, they took the next step, buying another 75 acres of top-quality vineyard land on the high terrain of Monti Garbi (also in eastern Valpolicella) and making the leap into wine production as a family. The first vintage of Tenuta Sant’Antonio came in 1995.
Tenuta Sant’Antonio Valpolicellas are made from 100% estate-grown fruit from the Illasi Valley and Monti Garbi. They make three Amarone wines, Selezione Castignedi, Campo dei Gigli and Lilium Est and a Ripasso wine named for the estate, Monti Garbi and an everyday Valpolicella called “Nanfre”.
Producing every style of wine and with great success, the Veneto is one of the most multi-faceted wine regions of Italy.
Veneto's appellation called Valpolicella (meaning “valley of cellars” in Italian) is a series of north to south valleys and is the source of the region’s best red wine with the same name. Valpolicella—the wine—is juicy, spicy, tart and packed full of red cherry flavors. Corvina makes up the backbone of the blend with Rondinella, Molinara, Croatina and others playing supporting roles. Amarone, a dry red, and Recioto, a sweet wine, follow the same blending patterns but are made from grapes left to dry for a few months before pressing. The drying process results in intense, full-bodied, heady and often, quite cerebral wines.
Soave, based on the indigenous Garganega grape, is the famous white here—made ultra popular in the 1970s at a time when quantity was more important than quality. Today one can find great values on whites from Soave, making it a perfect choice as an everyday sipper! But the more recent local, increased focus on low yields and high quality winemaking in the original Soave zone, now called Soave Classico, gives the real gems of the area. A fine Soave Classico will exhibit a round palate full of flavors such as ripe pear, yellow peach, melon or orange zest and have smoky and floral aromas and a sapid, fresh, mineral-driven finish.
Much of Italy’s Pinot grigio hails from the Veneto, where the crisp and refreshing style is easy to maintain; the ultra-popular sparkling wine, Prosecco, comes from here as well.
With hundreds of red grape varieties to choose from, winemakers have the freedom to create a virtually endless assortment of blended red wines. In many European regions, strict laws are in place determining the set of varieties that may be used, but in the New World, experimentation is permitted and encouraged resulting in a wide variety of red wine styles. Blending can be utilized to enhance balance or create complexity, lending different layers of flavors and aromas. For example, a red wine blend variety that creates a fruity and full-bodied wine would do well combined with one that is naturally high in acidity and tannins. Sometimes small amounts of a particular variety are added to boost color or aromatics. Blending can take place before or after fermentation, with the latter, more popular option giving more control to the winemaker over the final qualities of the wine.
How to Serve Red Wine
A common piece of advice is to serve red wine at “room temperature,” but this suggestion is imprecise. After all, room temperature in January is likely to be quite different than in August, even considering the possible effect of central heating and air conditioning systems. The proper temperature to aim for is 55° F to 60° F for lighter-bodied reds and 60° F to 65° F for fuller-bodied wines.
How Long Does Red Wine Last?
Once opened and re-corked, a bottle stored in a cool, dark environment (like your fridge) will stay fresh and nicely drinkable for a day or two. There are products available that can extend that period by a couple of days. As for unopened bottles, optimal storage means keeping them on their sides in a moderately humid environment at about 57° F. Red wines stored in this manner will stay good – and possibly improve – for anywhere from one year to multiple decades. Assessing how long to hold on to a bottle is a complicated science. If you are planning long-term storage of your reds, seek the advice of a wine professional.