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Valpolicella: panel tasting results

A wide range of prices and styles means there is much to be enjoyed in this complex category, which yielded a good proportion of high-scoring wines.

Michael Garner, Michelle Cherutti-Kowal MW and Michaela Morris tasted 92 wines, with six Outstanding and 33 Highly Recommended.

Valpolicella panel tasting scores

92 wines tasted

Exceptional 0

Outstanding 6

Highly recommended 33

Recommended 52

Commended 1

Fair 0

Poor 0

Faulty 0

Entry criteria: producers and UK agents were invited to submit their current-release vintage reds from Valpolicella DOC and Valpolicella Superiore DOC

How encouraging to find ‘life beyond appassimento’! While nearly all Valpolicella DOC wine is produced from freshly picked grapes, much Valpolicella Superiore on the market these days includes at least a proportion of semi-dried fruit, blurring the stylistic lines that separate it from the other, richer-style Valpolicella denominations: Ripasso, Amarone and Recioto.

Scroll down for tasting notes & scores for the top-scoring Valpolicella wines

A good number of the higher-scoring wines from this panel tasting not only rely on freshly harvested grapes, but also include examples from the basic DOC category (such as the Valpolicella Classico 2020 from Montecariano). Two of the six Outstanding wines – Tommasi’s delicious Rafaèl 2020 and Flavio Prà’s elegant Corte Allodola, Flavs 2018 – are also, crucially, made from dedicated Valpolicella vineyards where the best of the crop is not creamed off for Amarone or Recioto: a recurring issue which frequently has a negative effect on the quality of the ‘simpler’ denominations.

The top scoring Valpolicellas: 

The judges

Michael Garner is co-owner of Italian specialist Tria Wines, author of Amarone and The Fine Wines of Verona (£35 Infinite Ideas), and a DWWA Regional Chair for northern Italy

Michelle Cherutti-Kowal MW is a wine consultant, writer, judge and WSET educator. She consults to restaurants and wineries, acts as an ambassador for wine trade bodies, and was Regional Chair for Veneto at DWWA 2021

Michaela Morris is a wine consultant, lecturer, writer, judge and a WSET educator. A Regional Chair at DWWA 2021, she consults to restaurants and wineries, as well as acting as an ambassador for wine trade bodies

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