The Allegrini name has been associated with premium wine from the Valpolicella region since the 16th century. However, it was Giovanni Allegrini who propelled the company into the modern era and laid the framework for the success the company enjoys today. After Giovanni’s passing in 1983, the winery fell into the hands of his 3 children; Walter, Franco and Marilisa. After Walter’s untimely death in 2003, Franco and Marilisa devoted themselves completely to the family winery.
The La Grola vineyard is located in the town of Sant’Ambrogio and covers an area of about 30 hectares. Originally planted in 1979, the vineyard has undergone a series of replantings as recent as 1998 when plant density was increased to 6,500 vines per hectare and a small amount of Syrah was planted amidst the indigenous Corvina.
La Grola benefits from a wonderful microclimate. Sitting on a slope approximately 980 feet above sea level, the vineyard drains very well and there are wide swings between day and night temperatures. The soil is rich with limestone and calcium and given its hilltop position, the concentrated rays from the sun are often mitigated by breezes from Lake Garda.
The 2011 Allegrini La Grola is 90% Corvina and 9% Oseleta and a pinch of Syrah. In the glass, the color is a deep ruby which lightens to a faint brick rim. We did not decant this bottle, but I would strongly recommend doing so. Initially, the aromas were filled with reduced barnyard notes and charred wood tones. After about 60 minutes, these blew off. Aromas of black plums, baking spices, and smoked meat took center stage.
Medium to full bodied on the palate, this is rather tannic and needs food. Ripe black plum flavors dominate, though there are notes of licorice oil, Christmas Pudding, and turned earth on the finish. The earthy, reduced notes may be too much for some, but I rather enjoy the change of pace and although this spends 16 months in French barrique, it’s more rustic than you might expect. 88 points. Good value around $22 and fairly easy to locate. Find this wine.
As you can see in the above picture, we paired the La Grola with garlic and rosemary rubbed Veal Rib Chops that were grilled to medium rare and plated over soft, creamy polenta. It was a wonderful pairing. Given the earthy nature of this wine, I’d add some porcini to the polenta next time.