Le Ragose

North of Verona, in the town of Negrar, at the Valpolicella zone's highest point (1,148 feet), the Le Ragose estate overlooks gentle, lush green hills. In 1969, enologists Arnaldo Galli and his wife Marta bought the 70-acre Le Ragose estate, which had been abandoned. Recognizing that many excellent vineyard sites had been abandoned in favor of more easily-farmed sites on the plains, they replanted the Le Ragose and Le Sassine vineyards and began making Amarone and Valpolicella in as natural a way as possible.

There are a couple of versions of how the name Le Ragose came about. The most plausible one is that it refers to the ragos, which is dialect for rows. Le Ragose was a deserted vineyard with over-grown and wild vineyard rows. People would look up at the abandoned vines and weeds and shake their heads and say, Le Rhagos, which in modern Italian became Le Ragose. Another version is that it takes its name from a colony of priestesses who lived on the hills where Le Ragose is located around 750 A.D. Instead of speaking they communicated by shrieking and yelling and as a result their voices were raucous. They were referred to as Le Racose and the name evolved into Le Ragose.

Whatever the origins of the name Le Ragose, here, 40 acres of terraced vines face southwest on steep slopes, well above the frequent, notorious winter nebbia (fog), which lingers below. The soil is clay laced with magnesium, calcium and iron on well-draining tufaceous subsoil. The ideal "above-the-fog" location (low humidity and excellent sun exposure) is particularly suited for appassimento, the process of drying grapes essential to Amarone production; it also allows for successful ripening of minor indigenous varietals, which few producers can claim.

At Le Ragose, local grapes Corvina, Corvinone, Rondinella, Molinara, Pelara, Forselina, Oseleta and other indigenous varieties are grown, with small amounts of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay. The estate's forty acres are dry farmed (no irrigation) and the steep vineyard slopes require all vineyard work to be done by hand. For aging, large Slavonian botti (oak casks), with experimental use of new and used French Allier and Tronçais barriques, allow truer expression of subtle terroir characters that make a wine from "Le Ragose" unmistakably of its place and uniquely itself.

Marta Galli, often referred to as "La Signora del Vino," was voted "Wine Maker of the World" in 1990 by her peers, in part because of her influence in re- establishing Valpolicella as a classic in Italian wine and helping it achieve a DOC designation. She was also a founding member of the prestigious VIDE organization of small family-owned estates that promote excellence and typicity, as well as Le Donne del Vino, an international group for women in wine. The Galli children Paolo (manager) and Marco (winemaker) now manage the property and remain faithful in the vision they share with their parents – a vision where even the simplest wines are made to evolve and age beautifully for years.

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Le Ragose 'Amarone' della Valpolicella 2008
“30-60 year old vines, sustainable practices. Le Ragose Amarone shows dense, ripe and lush berries with a hint of dark chocolate. This is a wine of power and elegance, harmonic and enticing. The finish is long and satisfying. Excellent with wild game birds, wild goat, risotto all’Amarone,
Item Number: 29919
Case: $515.40

Le Ragose Valpolicella Ripasso Classico 2014
“The 2014 Valpolicella is light, brilliant ruby red in color with a bouquet of intense red fruits notes such as currant, strawberry and black cherry. On the palate the wine is medium in body but with a surprisingly enveloping mature berry flavor with hints of dried figs, coffee notes and cocoa
Item Number: 29753
Case: $179.40

Le Ragose Valpolicella Classico 2011
"The 2011 Valpolicella is light, brilliant ruby red in color with a bouquet of intense red fruits notes such as currant, strawberry and black cherry. On the palate the wine is medium in body but with a surprisingly enveloping mature berry flavor with hints of dried figs, coffee notes and cocoa

Le Ragose 'Amarone' della Valpolicella 2007
93  Vinous Media 
Vinous Media 93 "Opaque dark ruby. Aromas of red plum, black cherry, sweet spices and milk chocolate. A rich, round, and very well balanced Amarone offering a boatload of red cherry, dark plum, brown spices and milk chocolate flavors that are precise and pure. Finishes very long and creamy. Lovely

Le Ragose Valpolicella Classico 2009
90  Wine Enthusiast 
Wine Enthusiast 90"High-toned aromas include nail varnish, resin, spicy plum and nutmeg. The concentrated palate delivers ripe blackberry, blueberry extract, clove and a chocolate note alongside smooth tannins. A licorice note signals the close." ~K.O.

Le Ragose 'Amarone' della Valpolicella 2006
92  Antonio Galloni 
Antonio Galloni 92 "Le Ragose's Amarone della Valpolicella is quite pretty. Plum and black cherry notes meld into freshly cut flowers, cloves and licorice. Firm yet nicely integrated tannins provide the framework in an attractive, deceptively mid-weight Amarone that should drink well for a number

Le Ragose Amarone della Valpolicella 2005
90  Wine Spectator 
Wine Spectator 90"Notes of black cherry, damson plum preserves and violet are underscored by iron and mineral flavors. The tannins are lightly chewy, balanced for just enough grip, ending with hints of chocolate and loam." ~A.N.

Le Ragose Amarone della Valpolicella 2004
Wine Review 94 "This wine is explosively expressive in both aroma and flavor, with endless intricacies including leather, spices, dried fruits and cured meat. Unlike many bottlings of Amarone, it is essentially dry, yet it is hardly austere. Very rich and persistent in flavor, it shows enough

Le Ragose Cabernet Sauvignon 2005
91  Robert Parker 
Robert Parker 91 "The Garda Cabernet Sauvignon is simply beautiful in 2005. Dark plums, wild cherries, grilled herbs, violets and minerals are some of the nuances that emerge from the glass. The firm Cabernet tannins are beautifully balanced by the generous fruit. To be sure, this remains a fairly

Le Ragose Valpolicella 2000
A vinification method in which five or six month old Valpolicella is refermented on the lees of the newly made Amarone giving it more alcohol, color, aroma and body. The resulting flavor-enriched Valpolicella takes on the rich raisiny characteristics of the Amarone, bigger structure and the ability