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Ca’ del Monte in Valpolicella

Rondinella Vines at Ca del Monte

After visiting with Frascole in Rufina, Greg and Ryan drove northeast to Verona.  Here, they stopped at Ca’ del Monte, located in the DOC Valpolicella Classico, near the village of Negrar, an estate that resides at 800-900m, with some of the highest elevated plots that are higher than most other traditional Amarone producers.  Owned and operated by two brothers, Umberto and Guiseppe Zanconte, who oversee all stages of growing and production, Ca’ del Monte has been in the family for generations.

From an area that generally produces high alcohol, dense wines, the Zanconte brothers bring us wines that are Classico in style.  “They’re into aromatics and freshness,” said Greg Reeves, our Italian Portfolio Director, “even in their Ripasso wines…Their Classico is meant to be a fresh wine to drink quickly, and though it can age well, they prefer that you drink it within a year or two to ‘get the wine’.”

Farming traditionally, without any interest in formal certification, Ca’ del Monte has 20ha of vineyards that surround the family’s estate, which is a 17th century mansion that was built on an ancient monastery.  Here the terraced vineyards are not too steep, but they’re high, and planted with grapes that are typical for the region: Corvina, Rondinella and Molinara, along with a few other red varietals.  Planted to the pergola training system, these 15-65 year old vines occupy four soils including clay, limestone, red volcanic soil with red stones, and “Toar”, a green volcanic soil that becomes dense and immovable when wet.

In the vineyard at Ca’ del Monte

Bottling its first vintage in 1967, Ca’ del Monte was taken over by the brothers in the late 1980’s.  And though their grandfather was regarded as one of the better producers of his time, who is credited with instituting the best way to make wines in the region, the family has never made wines to chase scores or press.  In fact, most of their wines were once made for local consumption only.

Joining our portfolio 18 months ago, Ca’ del Monte produces approximately 120,000 bottles annually.  The wines are very “floral and fresh,” said Ryan, and not over extracted.  Fermented in stainless steel, their Valpolicella Classico totals 12-12.5% abv, which is quite unusual and light.

“Many other wines from the region are like prune juice,” said Greg.  “It’s hard to find drinkable wines.

“Before,” he added, “people didn’t want to drink Valpolicella because it was too thin with too high acidity.  Now it’s the opposite.  Most producers have lost their identity.”

Large oak casks

Made from vines that are 30-65 years old, the Ca’ del Monte Amarone ages in large French and Slavonian oak for a minimum of 18 to 20 months.  The 2001 Amarone is just now in stock.  “It’s really beautiful,” said Ryan, a great Amarone with depth, and pricing that cannot be beat.

“And their mom makes really good lasagne,” said Greg, as if we could expect any less.

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