ANGELO NICOLIS E FIGLI, San Pietro in Cariano
Established in 1951, Angelo Nicolis e Figli was one of the first wineries we approached to represent when Anne & I started on this journey in the spring of 2000. ‘Seccal’, their single-vineyard, Ripasso-method Valpolicella remains a personal favourite within our portfolio.
Mama (aka Natalia) keeps her three sons in line as they oversee various aspects of the business. The charismatic Giuseppe is winemaker, Giancarlo tends to the family's 52 ha of prime vineyards, and Massimo looks after the European market. The location in the hills of Valpolicella Classico (reaching 600m altitude) is important for the quality of the wine. There is always a breeze and never fog, both of which are essential to the grape-drying process employed during the production of Amarone, Ripasso and Recioto. The substantial vineyard planting relative to the modest 220,000 bottles produced is an indication of the strict selection process at Nicolis — there are always neighbouring wineries hoping to purchase fruit or bulk wine that doesn’t meet the family’s standards.
In 2009, the family completed construction of a new drying room. For Amarone, the minimum legal requirement is 3 months of drying, though Nicolis extends this up to 4 months. The natural drying of grapes (‘appassimento’) produces the anti-oxidant resveratrol that preserves the grapes, lending the wines graceful ageability. Commercial wineries tend to opt for faster, less ‘authentic’ drying methods, which don’t promote this production of resveratrol. Both Amarone Classico and vineyard-designated Amarone ‘Ambrosan’ are impressively refined wines. The Nicolis style is all about purity of fruit and silky texture.