When Marinella Camerini founded Corte Sant’Alda in 1985, the world’s perception of Valpolicella was quite different than it is today.
In the 70s and 80s Valpolicella was an example of mass-produced wine, with high yields and low price. Corte Sant’Alda was born in that turbulent time. After a disastrous first vintage, Marinella decided to radically change farming practices, in search of healthier grapes and a wine that could express the true potential of the region.
The landscape around Corte Sant’Alda is cool and elevated, with a great diversity of soils and a unique microclimate regulated by two massive water bodies: the Adriatic sea to the east and Lake Garda to the west. This is the home of the indigenous grape varietals Corvina, Corvinone, Molinara, Rondinella and many others, most of them late ripening and perfectly adapted to the land.
In addition to great terroir and wonderful grapes, the ingenuity of local wine makers has created three particular wines, now bearers of their own DOC: Amarone, dry, powerful and complex, made from semi-dried grapes: Recioto, made also from “passito” grapes, with some residual sugar; and Ripasso, when the Valpolicella gets an extra boost of flavors, complexity and alcohol by passing though the pomace of grapes used for Amarone.
Marinella’s starting point was the growing system for the vines, replacing the traditional Pergola Veronesse,for the Guyot cord, which makes for a more efficient control of the yields and abandoning all chemicals in the vineyard and additives in the cellar. Eventually Corte Sant’Alda became certified organic and continually practiced the biodynamic farming principles of Rudolf Steiner.
Marinella believes in the rich diversity of the soils in her vineyards. She has performed micro zoning studies that allow her to evaluate very precisely the relationship between the environment and the variables of the wines. Her 15 hectares of vines are divided into 13 different vineyards.
From her best vineyard, Macie, a small amphitheater at 250 meters above sea level, with full southern exposure and clay and limestone soils, comes her most sought after line, Mithas, both Amarone and Valpolicella. The wines form this particular site show great minerality, full ripeness and incredible balance.
Corte Sant’Alda has become the standard bearer of the new Valpolicella, and their wines achieve higher levels of quality and precision every year. These wines are incredibly enjoyable and utterly delicious.
At Eli’s List we are proud to feature:
Valpolicella Superiore Mithas 2003 $30
Valpolicella Superiore Mithas 2008 $70