Old is good. Bolla has gone through a renaissance of sorts since the 1980s.Their mission: To make wines the way they made them over a century ago. In other words, to find their soul.
That’s easy — It’s in the terroir.
I recently tasted Bolla’s retro-imagined wines at Rafele in Greenwich Village, New York. Bolla’s wines flowed like water from the Trevi Fountain. Aged Prosciutto de Parma, grilled octopus, saffron risotto balls, homemade pastas with rich ragus, seared scallops and perfectly-pink N.Y. Strip Steak rolled around the table like it was the last supper.
The winemaker orchestrated a perfect environment to showcase his new vision for Bolla wines. But nothing has changed. Nothing is new at Bolla.
Bolla is still producing wines that Americans want to drink.
Fortunately, we changed. Our palates have changed. We’re more familiar with traditional winemaking practices. We’re more likely to find a glass of traditionally produced wine at our local restaurant. We care about wine. We want to know where it is made. Who’s the producer. How the grapes are cultivated.
Bolla went back to the vineyards. They focused on preserving that cherry, earthy, gritty experience that I love from Northern Italy’s Veneto region. Non-interventionist winemaking practice from my great-grandfather’s day found its way back to the bottle. They found their soul again. It’s aged a bit but I like it.
My only caveat is that Bolla’s soul may be a little too diverse. They’ve created a bottle for everyone. And by everyone, I mean everyone. Yes, even Uncle Larry and Cousin Sally.
Some wines exhibited bright acidity, some ripe fruit and others captured mature bottle age often found in bottles twice the price. In general, all wines that I tasted were very approachable and balanced.
So everyone should find something to like, except those that find themselves staunchly on the extremes of wine styles.
You can pick up most bottles at wine stores across the country for around $10.
I thoroughly enjoyed 2011, Soave 883 Selection and 2010, Le Poiane Valpolicella Ripasso. These wines exhibited bright acidity, nice fruit, balanced and depth. Soave had flavor notes of white pepper, lychee and white raisins. Le Poiane had flavor notes of black pepper, spice and deep cherry. Two wines that would flow nicely all night at any dinner party.