MONTE DALL' ORA, Carlo and Alessandra Venturini, Castelroto, Verona, Biodynamic
Amarone is clearly a primary interest of Valpolicella winemakers and drinkers: notably, the appellation allows a full 50% of a winery’s fruit to go into Amarone, but Carlo and Alessandra use at most 15-20% of theirs to make 'Stropa'.
Those bunches are harvested early in order to maintain acidity and over a period of several weeks to gather the very finest fruit. The bunches dry in single layers in small, open, wooden crates in an airy granary next to the house for around 3 months. The dried grapes are pressed and the juice fermented with ambient yeasts in open wooden vats, taking up to about 40 days to get to full dryness.
Aging lasts around 3 years in used barrels before bottling and aging several years before release (e.g. the 2011 was released in 2019). While Amarone fans in general expect and desire wines that are rich, full-bodied, unctuous and even sweet, Monte Dall’Ora’s is a more savory, structured and subtle version. Indeed, that is the hallmark of all of their wines, which are not styled to meet market expectations
When Alessandra and Carlo Venturini first discovered Monte dall’Ora, it was love at first sight. As children of farmers, they were excited and challenged by the hard work it was going to take to restore these ancient vineyards. Located in Castelroto, in the hills outside of Verona, the vineyards of Monte dall’Ora are planted on a base of limestone soil and form a natural amphitheatre facing southeast towards the city. In fact, portions of their vineyards are planted on ancient dry stone terraces called marogna, a design in which large stones form the exterior support structure and smaller stones form a spit of land in the interior. This brittle stone, in which fossils and petrified shells can be found, allows for excellent drainage and deep penetration of the vines.
The Venturinis are firm adherents to biodynamic principles. As such, they encourage the growth of biodiversity by planting herbs such as rosemary and lavender in the summer, whose fragrant blooms are attractive to bees; and sowing cereals in the winter, whose roots move and aerate the soil. In addition, Alessandra and Carlo have emphasized traditional and native grape varieties wherever possible to give originality and typicity.
All the wines are blends of Corvina, Corvinone, Rondinella, Molinara and Oseleta. Fermentation is spontaneous with
indigenous yeasts and extraction is gentle giving wines of gentle, cherry-fruited elegance.