A delightful discovery, the traditional Veneto wines of the Clementi family are expressive of the best traditions of the region.
The winery was established in 1968 by Pietro Clementi, a lawyer who turned winemaker when he took over a property in the Gnirega subzone that had been in existence since at least 1600. He acquired 20 hectares of vineyard and woods, of which 14.5 hectares are currently under cultivation, and with the help of the locals, figured out how to make wine the old-fashioned, peasant way. For years, the wines were enjoyed locally. As a former mayor of Marano di Valpolicella, and a lawyer with 50 years of experience, Pietro had no shortage of clients and friends. Many came to taste the Mayor's Amarone.
By 2002, encouraged by the second generation of the family, the decision was made to renovate the winery and try to sell the wines further afield, including to export markets. Now the estate is run by Maria, Maurizio and Bernardino. Maria is the administrator, Maurizio the marketer and salesperson, while Bernardino manages the production under Pietro's watchful eye. Recently the estate decided to collaborate with oenologist Enrico Nicolis to take the wines to the next level.
The winery is located in the Marano valley, in the middle of the most historical area. The cultivation of the vines is in man-made terraces, called in the Verona dialect “marogne” and the training is the traditional, tall pergola of the Veneto, which helps maintain a core of classical freshness in all the wines. The soils here are poor, calcareous and ideal for the local varieties of corvina, corvinone, rondinella, molinara, oseleta and croatina. All the wines are made with native grapes in varying proportions, but based largely on corvina and corvinone, supplemented mostly by rondinella.
The Valpolicella Classico is fermented entirely in steel and is a lip-smacking, high acid, 12% marvel, as sappy, sour and pale as you could ask for. The Superiore is aged in large and small old oak to give a wine with more body and dried cherry fruit but with the estate's signature tension and zip. The Ripasso spends two years in oak and is an actual, vero Ripasso, made not by blending in some Amarone with Valpolicella but by passing the grape must over the Amarone skins. It is bone dry, spicy and rich, yet balanced and refreshing unlike so many. The Amarone is an undeniably old-school style, all balsamic and dried fruit, with cocoa powder, cinnamon, liquorice, clove and beef stock in abundance, and a pleasing lick of acidity at the heart of it. It clocks in at 16.5% but is also bone dry. It is bottled after a minimum of three years ageing and wines continue to age in bottle until release.