Acinum Valpolicella Ripasso DOP 2014: If people know valpolicella, a red grape from the Veneto in northern Italy, it’s usually the “standard” version, a pleasing, fruit-forward light wine. But when it’s a ripasso, or “repassed,” version, things change quite a bit. In the case of this Acinum, that means there’s a second fermentation with the marc, which are the leftover skins, stems, and so forth from the production of the dried-grape-wine style called amarone.
That addition makes this wine heartier, brawnier, and higher in alcohol (14 percent) than the usual valpolicella, even as it lacks the deep pruney quality one finds in the yet stronger amarone. The result is a wine offering dried cherry and spice flavors that goes with a wider range of food, from porcini risotto to porchetta.
Acinum, which means “grape” in Latin, is a new Italian wine line by Vias Imports that gives the company a chance to oversee its own winemaking. Based on this bottle, they’re onto something, especially when the suggested $23 price means you can find this wine in the mid-teens.