2018 Merlot 'Clos Roareti', Rizzardi, Veneto
This is merlot a class apart. Think Pomerol from a warm vintage, or a very top Napa Valley merlot - from a 100-year old walled vineyard, the Clos Roaretti, this is rich, full-bodied and complex. Sumptuously laden with plum fruit, but also with freshness and finesse. Everything seems to be here, a whisper of oak, fine structure, and only made in the best vintages.
Upon pouring inviting aromas of sweet, ripe plum and spice gently emerge from the glass - hallmarks of fine merlot in my book. This new 2018 vintage is a more sumptuous wine than its predecessor, and I say that as someone who really quite enjoyed the 2017 vintage.
The palate is laden with ripe plum, delicate spice and hint of darker currant fruit, it's full-bodied, and yet retains a fine structure and an elegant freshness.
Two years spent resting in fine French oak barrels has knitted the flavours together beautifully, and there's a delicate grip and pleasing note of warmth and sweet spice to the finish.
It's certainly a thoroughly enjoyable glass on its own, but that streak of freshness is in part what made it so exceptionally good alongside roast shoulder of lamb with Shrewsbury sauce. It's a dish that requires a wine with bold, ripe fruit, but also a zing of freshness to deliver the flavours to the palate, and the 2018 Clos Roareti nailed it, it's a combination I shall be revisiting in the near future.
James Russell-Grant - Mr.Wheeler
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Guerrieri Rizzardi is a historic estate with vineyards throughout the Veneto. The two families came together in 1913, and have been developing their wine estate ever since.
Soave and Bardolino are made by the family, as well as Val d’Adige, and even Prosecco, but their real speciality is within Valpolicella, where exemplarary single-vineyard wines are made, and almost peerless Amarone. The estate’s single-vineyard merlot is new to us, and is a real star.
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