Allegrini - Symbol of fine wine of Italy
Allegrini winery is certainly one of the great names of Italian wine, fine representative of the Valpolicella area and witnessed a constant search for quality within their own bottles.
The Allegrini Family has been producing wine for over four hundred years.
Although the family has been involved in winemaking for many generations, it was brought into the modern wine world with the work of Giovanni Allegrini, whose innovations and enterprising campaigns for change both within his own winery and in others in the region led to the creation of legendary wines in the 1960s and 70s. He was one of the first area producers to seriously pursue quality and to insist on strict grape selection and new planting and vinification techniques. Today his grown children, Franco (a winemaker) and Marilisa (the marketing director) run the company and have taken it from success to even greater success.
Drawing on more than six generations of Veneto winegrowing tradition and an unwavering focus on quality, CEO Marilisa Allegrini carries on the legacy of her father Giovanni, the patriarch of the modern estate and an innovator in appassimento winegrowing in the region. Marilisa is deeply committed to furthering the renown of Amarone and the Veneto worldwide, annually traveling to dozens of countries to share Allegrini wines.
“Tradition is not immobility. When accompanied by true respect for territory, there is always something to discover, to interpret, to see in a new light.” - Marilisa Allegrini
The Allegrini family upholds a rich historical legacy of excellence while continuing to push quality through innovation. Allegrini has modernized the appassimento winemaking by numerous measures, notably reducing bitterness and emphasizing desirable phenolic flavor compounds by adding dried fruit to previously vinified, fresh wine in lieu of passing fresh wine over grape pomace, which was traditionally done for Amarone. The Allegrinis pair modern techniques such as site selection by soil type, high density planting and guyot trellising to develop wines that tap into the incredible potential of a renewed approach to this historic region.
Recioto and Amarone are splendid wines, but the mainstay of any Valpolicella producer has to be dry red wines. The Allegrinis have found that the only way to ensure consistently good quality is to throw away the rulebook. Exactly the same thing is happening in the Veneto that happened 15 years ago in Tuscany. In Soave, Roberto Anselmi now bottles his Soave as IGT, to avoid the irksome regulations that undermine quality. And in Valpolicella the Allegrinis have done the same.
There are three permitted grape varieties in the zone: Corvina, Molinara, and Rondinella. ‘The only outstanding variety,’ Franco insists, ‘is Corvina. But the DOC regulations require that we use no more than 60% in any wine. Rondinella does not make exceptional wine, and Molinara in my view is worthless and often has a negative influence. I believe the rules should be changed so producers can use any of the three varieties in any proportion, but that change has not been made. I want my wines to be mostly or exclusively made from Corvina. As that is not permitted, I must sell them as IGT and not as Valpolicella.’
It’s the usual maddening story, echoed in so many regions of Italy: the best wines of the area cannot bear the name of the region because they don’t conform to pointless regulations. There is also another issue: how the vines are trained. In the Valpolicella region the overwhelming majority of vines are planted on the pergola system, trained high on to frames. With a density of only 2,500 vines per hectare (ha), yields can be very high. Allegrini would like to double that density so his new vineyards are planted along wires, using the French double Guyot system.
Relying on his rock-solid intuition, Franco was responsible for a revolution of sorts in traditional Valpolicella winemaking, pioneering several fundamental innovations including:
- Introduction of barriques, both paired with or replacing traditional Slavonian oak barrels.
- Reduction of the aging period in oak to maintain a lively fruitiness in the flavors and aromas.
- Modification of the well-known Ripasso technique traditionally carried out with the dried pomace of Recioto or Amarone – substituting perfectly intact dried grapes for the traditional pumice when blending with Valpolicella to induce a more robust second fermentation.
- The innovation of the drying process by eliminating grapes attacked by molds, with the creation the modern drying center called Terre di Fumane that today stands as a benchmark for the Valpolicella region.
- Today, new producers look to Allegrini as a point of reference, and to Franco as a leader to emulate.
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