As Spring is springing and the cherry blossoms are blooming, we naturally think of the wines of Musella from the Valpolicella region in Northeastern Italy. In fact, we're featuring the 2016 Musella Valpolicella Superiore as our 2nd Wine of the Month for April since it's such a great introduction to the quality level of the winery, especially at $16.95! The red wines of the Valpolicella region are made in a range of styles using local varieties, from the wines that are made in the usual fashion from "fresh" grapes to those made with varying amounts of air-dried grapes, culminating in the richest style using all dried grapes, the Amarone della Valpolicella. For their Valpolicella Superiore, made in the "fresh," undried style, Musella uses the local varieties Corvina and Corvinone with a little Rondinella and Barbera blended in.
Since 1995, Musella has been a family-run affair, led by founder Emilio Pasqua di Bisceglie, his daughter Maddalena, and winemaker nephew Enrico Raber. The vineyards are farmed according to biodynamic principles (certified by Demeter), making use of the natural relationships among the plants, animals, and soil and avoiding the use of synthetic and inorganic fertilizers, herbicides, and pesticides in order to create a naturally and sustainably healthy vineyard! They hand-pick the grapes, which ensures that the best clusters make it to the winery in good shape, and ferment using the native yeast of the area, which helps in creating a wine of its place.
In addition to the Vapolicella Superiore, we also carry Musella's "Ripasso" and Amarone, which we also highly recommend! While their wines might differ in the details of their richness and flavor nuances, they all share a clear signature style: a purity of fruit, smoothness of texture, and a brightness that cleans and refreshes the palate.
For the Valpolicella Superiore, this purity of fruit and brightness on the palate is mirrored by its clear and brilliant appearance, with the ruby hue and violet tinge of youth. The aromas are not reticent, with raspberry and cherry jam driving, followed by fresh flowers (like cherry blossom!) and spicy hints of ginger and cola. In the mouth, the wine is rich in flavors that are faithful to the nose. There is a tension between the gently warming vinous richness and bright acidity, resulting in a medium-bodied wine that is substantial without being cloying. As the wine opens, there is a seamless flow from fleshy, juicy fruit to a clean, soft-but-dry finish due to a similar play between the residual sugar (just under 4 g/L) and the fresh acidity. Completing Musella's signature style of flavor richness and purity is the soft, satin & velvety texture, with light, fine-grained tannin. Truly a wine for Spring!