I was recently contacted by Paolo Cottini, whose eponymous estate is located in the heart of Valpolicella, in Castelrotto, a small medieval village located at the top of a hill. Paolo’s wines are not currently distributed in the UK (though they have a strong presence in most other European countries, South Korea, China and Australia), and asked if I would be prepared to taste them. Subsequently, the three wines below arrived.
The Paolo Cottini vineyards are located in two areas of the Valpolicella, in the Negrar valley facing south-west, at an altitude of about 580 metres, and in Valgatara at an altitude of about 250 metres facing south-east. He explains that the different topography and altitude produces grapes with distinctive characters which he combines in various proportions “to give life to our wines.”
Paolo’s winery is new, but he is the third generation of winemakers, his father Silvano passing on his knowledge. Grapes grown are the typical triumverate of this region: Corvina, Corvinone and Rondinella, and he produces four classic appellations: Soave (not tasted) and the red wines Valpolicella Classico, Valpolicella Ripasso and Amarone. It’s a neat summary of Valpolicella: at the top of the Pyramid is Amarone, famously made from air-dried grapes as a rich and powerful red wine of 15.5% alcohol or more. At the base is Valpolicella, made from freshly picked grapes and, in the middle, comes Valpolicella Ripasso: the wine fermented from fresh grapes but on a deep layer of dried skins from the fermented Amarone grapes.
Paolo’s web site is at paolocottini.it.