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2016 Gran Passione, Cantine Botter

2016 Gran Passione, Cantine Botter

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60% Merlot, 40% Corvina. Grape cordons are cut prior to the harvest in October, allowing the grapes to dry naturally in bunches on the withering vine for up to two weeks - an outdoors 'appasimento' if you like - which concentrates flavour and sugars in the raisined fruit. Harvesting is by hand, and the wine spends three to four months in oak prior to final bottling.

Quite deep and brooding on the nose initially; pepper steak, cassis fruit, and coffee/Ripasso aromas, then a softer, rich palate of plum and strawberry jam Merlot fruit, good Corvina freshness and definition, savoury cocoa and black coffee notes. Very easy to drink; great with food - think roasts and grills, a good friend to any cheeseboard.

Cantine Botter are a fairly large operation with winemaking interests across the Veneto and Sicily, albeit with regular mentions in the Decanter awards and International Wine Challenge, but this new IGT collaboration really caught our attention when working through a recent selection of Italian samples. Frankly, a lot of what comes from the Veneto for us to try is overcropped and uninspiring (designed for supermarkets, in other words!), but this new experiment with Valpolicella's Corvina grape fleshed out and enriched by decent Merlot really appealed as an 'everyday Amarone' if you will.

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    Cantine Botter
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