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Santa Sofia – Valpolicella’s historic gem

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In Northeastern Italy, lies the town of Verona, made famous by Shakepeare’s star-crossed lovers. Just north of the fair city, is one of Italy’s most loved wine regions, Valpolicella DOC. Amongst the gentle slopes of the verdant Valpolicella Classico region, the beautiful Villa Santa Sofia was built in 1560 – mere decades before Shakespeare wrote his bittersweet tale. Designed by the famous Italian Renaissance architect Andrea Palladio, the villa is a precious cultural and architectural icon, named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1996.

Originally founded as a winery in 1811, the villa, as well as its ancient cellars and vineyards, were bought by oenologist Giancarlo Begnoni in 1964. Along with his son, Luciano Begnoni, they see themselves as privileged custodians of Santa Sofia. The family have worked to maintain the estate’s tradition of making approachable and elegant wines that represent the ancient Valpolicella terroir upon which the winery was built. Under their stewardship, Santa Sofia has gained a reputation which has seen it grow from a small, high-quality estate to one of the most significant realities in the Veronese winemaking world.

Employing a ‘strategy of excellence’, as Giancarlo likes to call it, the grapes are carefully selected from the most suited and best exposed hillsides in the surrounding area, and aged in cellars in use since the 14th century, as well as newer ones. Despite the winery’s history playing such an important role in the company’s identity, the Begnoni family’s ambition extends beyond preserving tradition, to driving a future that is based on technical acumen and sustainable practices that respect its precious vineyards.

Santa Sofia now sells its wines in over 75 countries around the world and the Begnoni family have recently added new vineyards in Briago, Valpantena in Eastern Valpolicella and in the town of Pozzolengo, in the Lugana DOC, exploiting new regions for exciting new wines.

Amarone della Valpolicella DOCG Classico Riserva 2015

Produced with grapes hailing from Santa Sofia’s oldest plots, which usually provide the raw material for the Amarone della Valpolicella Classico. In 2015, however, due to the exceptional quality of the fruit, the winemaking team selected the yield of some of the best vines and set it apart, convinced of its development and ageing potential. Having spent five years in barrels and a further two years in bottle prior to release, the result was a sophisticated and polished wine that represents the best expression of its terroir and of Santa Sofia’s core values: identity, elegance and tradition.

2015 is the third vintage of this Riserva (first released in 2020), only produced in exceptional vintages in very limited numbers (6096 bottles available). While drinking wonderfully now, it still has an outstanding cellaring potential and promises great development in years to come.

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