Art Of The Single Vineyard Cru



Valpolicella derives from Latin, meaning “The Valley of Many Cellars.” This valley has been an epicenter of fine winemaking since the Romans conquered it in the 1st Century. Today Valpolicella wines are famous all around the world including the acclaimed Amarone. But great success can inspire mediocrity. When a name becomes famous like Valpolicella, there will be unworthy wines that bear its name. Through the years this has become modus operandi in the region. But Giambattista Ugolini, a native of Valpolicella decided to go in another direction. 

The Ugolini Backstory

Valpolicella derives from Latin, meaning “The Valley of Many Cellars.” There's no coincidence this area in the Veneto region of Northern Italy traces it’s history back to the origins of fine wine craftsmanship. The Romans conquered the area in the 1st Century and developed the valley into a wine utopia. And the ancient cultivation and vinification techniques are still practiced today. 

While Valpolicella has become a major commercial center for wine production, the artisan winemaker can be found in tiny pockets. One such emerging estate is owned by the Ugolini Family. Three brothers, Giambattista, Tiziano, and Davide. While their grandfather owned some small plots in Valpolicella, the 3 brothers went off into the corporate world to pursue other careers. But the Valpolicella was whispering in their ears to come back to the land of their grandfather. 

Giambattista Ugolini

And so when the Ugolini brothers decided to leave the office life they embarked on an ambitious project. Not just to make wine. Anyone can do that. But instead to craft world class wine from single cru vineyards. Most wineries don’t produce single cru wines because it’s too difficult. The wineries that do, usually make one.

The focus of the Ugolini Estate is the single cru wine.

And there are four single vineyards each producing a Valpolicella Cru: Pozzetto for Valpolicella Classico; San Michele for Valpolicella Classico Superiore; Monte Solane for Ripasso della Valpolicella; and Valle Alta for Amarone della Valpolicella.  

Each plot was carefully selected to produce a specific wine. Each vine was planted after exhaustive research to ensure the roots could grow long enough to produce superior wine grapes. Each hill was observed from morning to sunset to ensure optimum sun exposures. And only native grape varietals from Veneto are cultivated for authenticity and maximum personality. 

ugolini wine volpolicella

Each vintage is recognizable like you. 

Natural techniques invented by the Romans 2,000 years ago are practiced in the vineyard. Today they call it Sustainability and Organic methods. But following the rhythms of nature has always been a tradition in these lands. Only native Italian grape varietals that have inhabited these venetian lands for millenia are sculpted by human hands so the wine in your glass transports you to the vineyard. 

Then there was the question of where can people come to visit and experience these grand wines. The Ugolini brothers acquired a historical piece of architecture in the heart of Valpolicella. The Ugolini Tasting House was a fort built by the Austrian military in the 19th century during the Austrian Empire period. A beautiful stone structure refurbished for a fine wine tasting experience as well as an underground cellar with optimum temperature for the aging of wines. 

The Ugolini Estate is a beautiful place for wine enthusiasts to come to relax and indulge in the good life. 

From all the blood, sweat, and tears of the Ugolini Family, something monumental has been built that you and future generations may enjoy. Long live the art of the single vineyard. 

ugolini pozzetto valpolicella classico

Ugolini "Pozzetto" Valpolicella Classico DOC

Hemingway’s Wine. One of the greatest writers of all time, Ernest Hemingway, was an enthusiast of Valpolicella wines. He said Valpolicella is “a wine as congenial as a brother’s house.” Friendly and familiar on the first sip. And like saying goodbye to a loved one on the last. One of Hemingway’s most famous quotes was “Courage is grace under pressure.” It’s fitting the writer loved Valpolicella wines. That’s because “Pozzetto” is a single cru Valpolicella Classico made with courage. A traditional wine of the area made without the help of grape-drying or oak aging. Just quality grapes from a superior vineyard. Pozzetto is naked, gracious, and familiar. Made with hand-selected varietals of the terrain: Corvina Gentile, Corvina Grossa, Rondinella, Molinara, and Ancellotta. Each cluster carefully selected by hand to ensure world class quality. Welcome to the house of the Ugolini Estate. Pairs with mozzarella, soft cheeses, salads, pasta with tomato sauce, and roasted chicken. 

Ugolini "Monte Solane" Ripasso della Valpolicella DOC

Valpolicella is a valley engulfed with hills and small mountains in Northern Italy. Looking up from the valley you'll see Monte Solane. A tall mountain 2100 feet above sea level. Also known as the Venetian PreAlps. You'll find a single cru vineyard owned by the Ugolini family. After a precise hand-harvest, there are 3 ancient techniques used for winemaking. "Appassimento" is the drying of grapes before fermentation to develop rich and complex flavors. Then "Salasso," or "Bleeding" removes a portion of the grape must, vinified separately and rejoined later. It intensifies aroma and structure. Finally, "Ripasso" (named after the wine), which means "re-pass." The wine will rest in steel vats for 4 months until the wine gets "re-passed" through the dried grape must a second time. The second pass adds another layer of aromatics and dimension. The wine is aged in French oak for further refinement. Total aging before release is 4 years. The craftsmanship of this single vineyard cru is of the highest order. Each bottle is individually numbered for quality assurance. Decant 1 hour for maximum pleasure.

Ugolini "Valle Alta" Amarone della Valpolicella DOCG

The Conversation Wine

The best conversations have something new to say. Or something familiar said in a different way. And they somehow avoid repetition. Instead it weaves and flows to fresh ideas that make you think, laugh, and cry. A great talk changes. It’s memorable. You learn from someone else while you learn something about yourself. 

The Ugolini “Valle Alta” Amarone is a great conversation wine. It does the talking for you. Sharing among good company will fascinate everyone. 

This single vineyard cru is called Valle Alta which means “High Valley.” 

Chosen because it sits 839 feet above sea level. The high elevation is a secret ingredient of the high quality wine that comes from it. A rarity in the Valpolicella. The vineyard is optimum for sun exposure and temperature variations that allow native Italian grapes to mature and develop complexity.

Hand-selection of the best hand-harvested grapes are air dried from October to March. An ancient Roman practice.

In March, only the finest of the air dried grapes are hand-selected cluster by cluster to macerate on the skins for another 2 months. The artisan wine ages in barrels made with forest French oak and rest in the bottle until ready for drinking. This process can take years depending on the vintage.

Ugolini “Valle Alta” is a single vineyard Amarone Cru that will inspire fascinating conversations at the table, on the sofa, or among the cracking flames of a warm fireplace. Decant for 1 hour before serving. Use a large balloon glass for maximum bouquet. Age-worthy for 25-30 years. 

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