The choice of vineyards is the most important factor in our winemaking style, in tandem with the search for the correct interpretation of terroir, so as to make our wines true ambassadors of their place and time” says Diego Cottini, the winemaker in the family enterprise making prestigious wines from carefully selected vineyards in Italy’s Valpolicella region. The Cottini family has always striven to identify the best sites and curate their cultivation with a focus not only on the quality of the final product, but also on the respect for each plot’s biodiversity.
Their Valpolicella wine has its ultimate expression in the Amarone style, for which the Cottinis have developed a particular expertise over the company’s four-generation history. It all started in the Zovolo vineyard, in eastern Valpolicella, a very special 12-hectare plot, located at an altitude of 550 metres and completely surrounded by a 50-hectare forest. The soil is a dense stratification of calcareous rocks (marl), with a rich subsoil of sedimentary nature.
The location makes the Zovolo vineyard a very special terroir, with greater light, optimal air circulation, and notable day- to-night temperature differences. The composition of the soil also plays a major role, encouraging vines to root deeper, as does the presence of the forest which mitigates the influence of the winds blowing from the Lessini Mountains in the north. Arranged on the ridge of the hill, the vines benefit from sunlight throughout the day thanks to the chosen training system (Guyot) and row orientation (north-south and north- west). All these factors contribute to the excellent quality of the grapes at harvest time, with optimal ripening and complex aromatic development, ultimately reflected in the organoleptic characteristics of the wine they produce.
Following harvest, the long appassimento (grape drying) process happens in traditional family-owned fruttaio premises sited in the hillside vineyards themselves. Here the grapes are left to dry for between three and five months, over the winter, and undergo important physical and chemical changes while sugars and aromas are concentrated. The process allows the wine they ultimately yield to showcase a unique structure, complexity, and aromatic richness. As Diego explains:
‘I make Amarone in the way that I learnt from my father: innovating for perfection, while making sure the terroir is reflected in the wine. Sourcing grapes from high-elevation vineyards, and respecting traditional methods of viticulture and appassimento are our main tools, today as in the past.’
Monte Zovo Amarone 2017
Corvina (70%), Corvinone (20%) and Rondinella (10%); 16% abv
Full-bodied with luscious ripe fruit (poached plums, spirit-infused cherries, raspberry jam) lined by intense spicy notes.
Elegant structure, linear acidity and firm round tannins bring balance to the wine and support the long finish. Lingering, delicious notes of dried berries and figs. Suitable for long cellar ageing.