The Buyer
Geoffrey Dean on enduring vision of Veneto’s Tedeschi family

Geoffrey Dean on enduring vision of Veneto’s Tedeschi family

Since the early Seventeenth Century the Tedeschi family has been making wines that showcase the unique terroir of northern Italy’s Veneto wine region. Although it produces a wide range of wines, Tedeschi is most famous for its Amarone della Valpolicella, produced using the traditional appassimento method. A winery committed to sustainable and environmentally friendly winemaking practices, Sabrina Tedeschi was in London to host a lunch, explain the estate’s vision for making single vineyard wines and allow The Buyer’s Geoffrey Dean to taste through and recommend his favourite wines.

Geoffrey Dean
29th January 2024by Geoffrey Dean
posted in Tasting: Wine ,

“We don’t agree with the modern trend of softer styles with some residual sugar. We like dry wines, with good acidity, good tannins,” says Sabrina Tedeschi

Drystone sustaining walls allow the vines to be trained with the Veronese pergola system.

The partnership between Fells and Tedeschi, almost a decade-long, has enjoyed a sustained period of success, culminating in a 40% increase in sales between January to August this year. There was an air of celebration, therefore, when Sabrina and Chiara Tedeschi joined Steve Moody, the distributor’s chairman, and other senior management, along with wine writers, for a special dinner at Bacchanalia in London in September.

Moody, who has been with Fells since 1992 when he joined as general sales manager, pointed to the steady year-on-year growth in Tedeschi sales since they started working with the Valpolicella producer in 2014. He revealed that, of the 500 twelve-bottle cases of Tedeschi that Fells imports annually, 75% goes to the on-trade and 25% to independent retailers.

“Our aim is to expand on-trade sales as well as some off-trade,” Moody told The Buyer. “We’re looking to push more premium single vineyard labels, especially to private clubs and top-end restaurants.”

Looking to promote more premium single vineyard labels, Fells chairman Steve Moody

Three of these single vineyard labels were poured during dinner along with their Soave and Recioto.

Tedeschi is one of 13 founder families of the Amarone families association (Le Famiglie Storiche) of which Sabrina used to be president. On the question of preferred style, she was clear. “‘Our style is to make drier wines,” she said. “We don’t agree with the modern trend of softer styles with some residual sugar. We like dry wines, with good acidity, good tannins. We dry from the middle of September for 100 to 120 days,’ Unlike some Amarone producers, Tedeschi try to avoid botrytis as much as possible.

All but four of Tedeschi’s 46 hectares under vine are found at between 200 and 500 metres in the ‘classic, historical area’ as Sabrina puts it. The main exception is the 2.5 hectare Monte Olmi vineyard, acquired by the family in 1918, which lies at 130 metres with a very steep incline. This has necessitated a series of drystone sustaining walls, allowing the vines to be trained with the Veronese pergola system.

The two other single vineyard sites are La Fabrisiera, in Pontara, and Maternigo in the eastern part of Valpolicella. The former – seven hectares at 450m – overlooks the entire Valpolicella Classica valley as well as Verona and Lake Garda. Maternigo, meanwhile, was acquired in 2006 after extensive research showing the soil (calcareous with some loam and clay) was particularly suitable for the Valpolicella varieties, Corvina, Corvinone and Rondinella. 33 hectares are planted there between 290m and 480m.

“From a specific parcel in Maternigo called Impervio we produce the single-vineyard wine Maternigo,” Sabrina revealed. “It is named Impervio because of the steep slope, and characterised by white and yellow marl that gives great freshness and acidity as well as structure and roundness with great aromatic complexity.”

So how were the wines tasting?

The traditional Tedeschi family lunch in winter includes boiled meat and pearà, paired with a glass of Maternigo Valpolicella DOC Superiore

Tedeschi Capitel Monte Olmi Amarone della Valpolicella DOCG Classico Riserva 2015 (RRP £80).

30% Corvina, 30% Corvinone, 30% Rondinella, 10% Osoleta, Negrara, Dindarella, Croatina, Forselina. Vinification & ageing as above. Ruby red. Floral aromas with blackberry and spicy, peppery notes on the palate. Full-bodied & long. 17% abv, 2.6g/l RS, TA6.5g/l

Tedeschi Maternigo Amarone della Valpolicella DOCG Riserva 2016 (RRP £130)

40% Corvina, 40% Corvinone, 20% Rondinella. Fermented for 40 days at 15°C in stainless steel before maceration for 90 days. Ageing in large Slavonian oak vessels (1000-5000l) for 48 months and 12 months in bottle before release. Intense ruby red colour; robust structure with black cherry, blackcurrant, and plum fruit as well as warm spiciness. Complex and rich with leathery notes and chocolatey richness. 17% abv, 5g/l RS, TA 6.1g/l

Tedeschi La Fabrisiera Amarone della Valpolicella DOCG Classico Riserva 2015 (RRP £310)

40% Corvina, 40% Corvinone, 15% Rondinella, 5% Oseleta. Fermented for 40 days at 15-18°C before 60 days of maceration. Ageing as above. Ruby colour. Tobacco and red fruit on the nose; full-bodied with silky tannins. Redcurrant, raspberry and cherry notes with raisins and spice on finish. Very complex with magnificent concentration and length. 17% abv, 6.5g/l RS, TA 6.6g/l

Tedeschi Capitel Recioto della Valpolicella DOCG Classico 2019 (RRP £40)

30% Corvina, 30% Corvinone, 30% Rondinella, 10% Rossignola, Oseleta, Negrara, Dindarella. Fermented for 30 days at 15°C. Ageing in Slavonian oak for 2 years and 6 months in bottle. Ruby red. Sweet fruit notes of raspberry, blackberry and blueberry. Long with residual sugar of 87 g/l well-balanced by total acidity of 6.8g/l. 14.5% abv.

Come and taste the wines of Tedeschi and the rest of the Fells portfolio at its annual tasting on February 20. Guests wishing to visit can register themselves by clicking here.