Tenuta Santa Maria: New Valpolicella and Amarone Releases

The sixth generation of the Bertani family maintains the family tradition of producing quality Veronese wines at their Tenuta Santa Maria estate.  They make a range of wines from Soave to Valpolicella Classico Superiore, Ripasso and Amarone della Valpolicella.  The Gaetano brothers were the enological pioneers of this region in the 19th century, and in the latter part of the 20th century their descendant Gaetano Bertani introduced high density planting and modern vinification techniques. Today, his sons Giovanni and Guglielmo maintain the family’s proud winemaking tradition. We review their current releases below. For more on the wines of Verona and Valpolicella, see our reports on The Wines of Soave and The Amarones of Valpolicella.  

The Wines 

Tenuta Santa Maria di Gaetano Bertani 2018 Lepia Soave ($17) 89Medium yellow straw. The Soave shows an expressive bouquet of chamomile and almond with a hint of cling peach. It’s broad on the palate with clean flavors that mimic the bouquet. Would make a good aperitif wine as well as pair with chicken breast or other white meats. Made from 62 year old Garganega grapes at the Cologna ai Colli estate in the Illasi Valley. 12.5% alc. 

Tenuta Santa Maria di Gaetano Bertani 2018 Pràgal Rosso Verona ($17) 88+Pràgal is a light, refreshing Italian Rosso. The emphasis is on fresh tasting red fruit in an easy drinking style. There’s good, upfront red fruit flavor.  Made from fresh and partially dried grapes and aged 8 months in oak botti. Merlot and Syrah grapes are harvested and fermented as usual; the Corvina is dried for a few weeks prior to pressing and fermentation. After 6-7 months of aging in barriques and botti, the three varieties are blended and bottled. 13.5% alc. 

Tenuta Santa Maria di Gaetano Bertani 2017 Valpolicella Classico Superiore Negrar ($24) 91 Ruby red. Ripe red and dark red cherry aromas with spice notes. This is a rich wine showing fresh, ripe flavors. It has a dense, chewy mouth feel, excellent persistence and a lingering savory note. A blend of 75% Corvina, 10% Rondinella, and 15% Corvinone sourced from estate vineyards in Arbizzano di Negrar with a long maceration and fermentation and matured 12 months in large, traditional botti. 14% alc. 

Tenuta Santa Maria di Gaetano Bertani 2017 Valpolicella Ripasso Classico Superiore ($35) 91  The 2017 Ripasso has the heady richness of dark cherries in liqueur. Although the wine is fermented dry, it’s syrup-like on the palate with flavors of dark cherry pie. Overall, the wine is well balanced with good acidity and plenty of flavor. Would pair well with barbecued ribs. The grapes are crushed, cold pressed and fermented and about 3 months later poured over the mark left by the Amarone resulting in a second fermentation. Matured 24 months in oak barrels. 14.5% alc. 

Tenuta Santa Maria di Gaetano Bertani 2011 Decima Aurea IGT (Verona) ($45) 92The opaque 100% Merlot from a 30 year old, single vineyard is our favorite of the Tenuta Santa Maria wines. It’s a complex wine with a multifaceted bouquet of dried plum, licorice, slate and tobacco. The mouth feel is silky with layers of savory blackberry, underbrush and mineral-like flavors with a firm structure and a super-persistent, rich finish. Made with a partial appassimento of the grapes and matured in barrel for 14 months.  

Tenuta Santa Maria di Gaetano Bertani 2013 Amarone Riserva della Valpolicella ($76) 91 Dark garnet red. Showing a bouquet of dried cherries and plums and Christmas cake spice that are mirrored on the palate, the 2013 Amarone della Valpolicella Classico Riserva is of medium weight with a tart edge that reflects the cool wet autumn weather of the vintage. A blend of 75% Corvina. 10% Rondinella, 15% Corvinone dried 4-5 months before pressing and fermentation then matured 5 years in large botti. 16% alc.

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