Why Buy: If you’re going to buy Valpolicella, the one you want is the master – Bertani, the only winery within the Valpolicella DOC to enjoy cru status. These 93-point, single-vineyard gems aren’t just big and bold; they’re also focused, fresh, and terroir-specific. And – bonus – both are ready to drink right now.
What They're Saying: James Suckling swooned over both wines, marveling at the Catullo for being so "expressive without being in any way loud,” a "very graceful" wine "very fine tannins" and a "long finish," and the Ognisanti di Novare for its "soft feel," "well-integrated, creamy tannins," and "intensity" of fruit.
The Story: Bertani has always been an innovator, even going back to its founding, in 1857, when Brothers Bertani, Gaetano and Giovan Battista, a pair of successful wine merchants started the business. They saw untapped potential in Veneto, and time quickly proved them right. A quarter-century later, it was again unrealized promise they perceived, this time in Valpolicella as a wine of power and consequence. They launched their Secco-Bertani Valpantena brand – still on the market today – and single-handedly put the Valpolicella DOC on the map. The late '50s witnessed their turn to longer aging techniques, which transformed Valpolicella into a major player on the Italian stage: dry, voluptuous, and complex. With the family's sale of the estate, 11 years ago, to the Angelini Group (which includes Val di Suga under its star-studded umbrella), winemaker Andrea Lonardi has come aboard and put a particular emphasis on terroir, taking advantage of the marble-calcareous soil in Bertani's holdings throughout the Valpantena valley. The result has boosted these wines into the top rank of big, bold Italian reds.
Specs: A blend of Corvina Veronese, Corvinone, and Rondinella, sourced from 20-year-old vines, the Catullo is made with a second fermentation, called ripasso, then aged in French oak for 12 months and left to mature in bottle for another 6 months. The Ognisanti di Novare, a blend, predominantly, of Corvina Veronese, is also drawn from 20-year-old vines and aged for a year in French oak, with another 6 months in bottle, to further mature.
Our Tasting Notes: These are unexpectedly structured, soft, and drinkable, and they also deliver surprisingly long finishes (fresh and delicate, in the case of the Catullo, with the Ognisanti di Novare leaning more savory). Other differences: the Catullo is the more refined, expressive wine, with delicate tannins – an eye-opener for all those who remember old-school Valpolicella – while the Ognisanti di Novare leans into its intensity and minerality.
ABV: The Catullo, 14%; the Ognisanti di Novare, 12.5%
What to Pair Them With: The Catullo is the wine to reach for when you're roasting a chicken, or searing a duck breast, or stirring a pot of creamy mushroom risotto. The Ognisanti is built for cheese plates and charcuterie boards, and will enhance anything with a rich, red sauce.
Fun Fact: Gaetano Bertani spent years in France, not to study winemaking, but to lay low – he was exiled for his part in the movement to unify Italy. While there, however, he met Jules Guyot, and imported some of the revolutionary agronomist's ideas to his vineyard when he returned home.
Our Guarantee: We always buy and source direct, so rest assured: your wines will arrive in your hands with pristine provenance. Secure your order today!
*Offer NOT valid in-store. This offer is made pre-arrival, with wines estimated to be delivered to your preferred store in Fall 2023. All sale prices are the lowest available at Total Wine & More and ONLY valid through Concierge Sales. No further discounts or coupons may be applied. Offer not valid in KS, MI, NY or TN. This offer is for ONE WEEK, or until sold out, and will expire on Monday, August 14th, 2023.