San Michele Arepo Veronese 19
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Valpolicella Ripasso is one of those wines you pull out for friends, and they're are inevitably wowed by its smooth, silky palate of sexy red fruits. San Michele Arepo feature is a junior version of that silky Ripasso, giving you Ripasso-like enjoyment for a fraction of the price.
As I often opine, one of the best ways to find value in the wine world is first to find a great producer and then drill down to their entry-level releases — 9 times out of 10, they're a tremendous bargain with outstanding quality that filters down from the top tier.
San Michele "Arepo" is a Rosso Veronese IGT — while that alone may not be particularly captivating, it begins to get interesting when we learn that San Michele produces top-quality Valpolicella Ripasso and also Amarone!
San Michele's vineyards are located in the Veneto region of North-East Italy. The gently rolling hills of their main vineyards are in Valpolicella, close to Verona and Lake Garda. The area is rich in both history and wine culture, claiming second place behind the Chianti in total wine production.
The cold winters and warm, temperate summers in the Veneto are perfect for vineyard cultivation, and the morainic gravel soil around Lake Garda provides ample backbone and structure. Here, Corvina is king — it's the essential grape varietal of the region and Valpolicella Ripasso and Amarone's main component.
San Michele "Arepo" is made from a blend of Corvina and Rondinella, with just a touch of Merlot to provide some extra richness and gloss to the fruit. In the glass, you'll find an explosion of vivid red fruits on the nose, along with hints of rose, violet, and tobacco leaf. The palate is nicely lifted and has plenty of richness to counterpoint the subtle smoky, earthy notes — there's a ton of great fruit, yet this is no lollipop. Cherry, red berry, and especially red raspberry circle around ample acidity and notes of savory herbs, all in a super smooth framework of present yet super silky tannins.
San Michele Arepo is a wine that can fit a ton of culinary applications! Pair this silky gem with all of your favorite poultry and pork dishes. It's soft enough for grilled salmon and has enough oomph for even a steak.