Azienda Agricola Roberto Mazzi e figli: the family tradition goes on!
The estate is located on the hills of Negrar, one of the five municipalities of the historical area for the production of Valpolicella and Amarone wines within the province of Verona.
The two sons of Roberto Mazzi, Antonio and Stefano, are now at the helm and continue the tradition of making excellent Valpolicella Classico, Amarone and Recioto della Valpolicella with the support of the oenologist Paolo Caciorgna.
The Mazzi family has a long tradition in viticulture and wine making (wine was produced here since the early 1900s) and in 1960 Roberto Mazzi, a trained agronomist, started bottling the wines of the vineyards standing on the hills of Calcarole, Castel, Poiega and Villa. The estate was initially called “Sanperetto” after the district where the farmstead was built in the 1800s.
The property was inherited by Roberto from the family of his mother, who were millers in Valpolicella. Angelina dall’Ora, the great aunt of Roberto, decided to leave the family enterprise and to start vinifying the grapes grown on the family property. She made her younger nephew, Gaetano (the brother of Roberto’s mother), attend the faculty of Agricultural Science of the University of Pisa: as a student he used to instruct the share-croppers on how to carry out short pruning in the winter and green pruning in the summer in order to lower the grape yield and produce high quality wine.
The wine was sold in bulk especially in Lombardy. The little wine that was bottled, the sweet Recioto in particular, was for the family (for christenings, weddings and other occasions) and for friends.
Gaetano, together with other 6 associates, founded the “Cantina Sociale della Valpolicella” of Negrar in 1933 and became the first president. And here in the Cantina Sociale, together with the cellar master Adelino Lucchese, Gaetano tasted the wine, that was supposed to be Recioto, from a cask that had not been racked off for some time. To their great surprise the wine was not sweet, but nearly dry. “But this is a great Recioto Amaro (a bitter Recioto),” they exclaimed. “It is an Amarone!”. After a few years the Cantina Sociale started labelling the first bottles as “Recioto Amarone”.
The wines of the Negrar Valley have a good alcohol content, a high content of polyphenols (1,100 milligrams/litre) and a well balanced sensory profile with evident notes of raspberry, blackberry, cherry, violet and rose. Due to the high content of polyphenols the wines are suitable for a medium-long ageing. The philosophy of the Mazzi family is to bring out these characteristics.
The vineyards extension is 7 hectares, all within the Negrar valley and within the Valpolicella Classica zone, and it is divided into five vineyards, which are among the best crus of the appellation. The exposure is south-west, and the grape varieties are the traditional ones: 70% of the vines are Corvina and Corvinone, 20% are Rondinella and 10% are Molinara. The vine training system is guyot and the age of the vines varies from 10 to 35 years. Natural viticulture has always been pursued and grass is left on the aisles between the rows of vines.
The Poiega vineyard stands at 220 meters above sea level, the exposure is south-west, the loamy-clayey soil is of alluvial origin and it is rich in limestone. The Corvina, Rondinella and Molinara grapes, that go into the blend of the homonymous Valpolicella Superiore, dry for 40 days in the restructured granaries of the old homestead located on this plot. During the first two weeks of the drying process large fans are used. An olive grove, from which DOP extra virgin olive oil is produced, also stands on this part of the property.
The Calcarole vineyard stands at 240 meters above sea level on the highest part of the Poiega hill. The exposure is south-west as the Poiega vineyard. In the best vintages Recioto is made from these grapes that are dried till the end of February. Large fans are used together with a machine for the control of humidity.
The Mazzi family consider the grapes of the Villa vineyard more suitable for the production of Amarone, called Punta di Villa due to the shape of the vineyard. The age of the vines varies from 5 to 20 to 30 years and the altitude is 250 meters above sea level. The grapes are dried till the first-second week of January.
The Castel vineyard has been recently purchased and it stands above the Villa vineyard at 350 meters above sea level. Stefano and Antonio decided to bottle a second Amarone, made from the Corvina, Corvinone and Rondinella grapes, with different characteristics in comparison to the Punta di Villa Amarone as, due to the different position, the grapes have a higher sugar content and particular balsamic notes. The clusters are dried till the first-second week of January.
Sanperetto is a small vineyard (0.8 hectares) next to the farmstead located in the homonymous district of Negrar. The grapes go into the blend of the Valpolicella Superiore Sanperetto together with the grapes of the other vineyards that are not dried. The production regulation establishes that the maximum quantity of grapes that can be dried for Amarone must not exceed 50% of the grapes grown at the estate.
The cellar is divided into three different sectors:
Ageing: this sector is in the historical cellar dating back to the 1800s and in a modern part that was built in 2005.
The wood is mainly French oak barriques that are substituted every 9-10 years. 70-80% of the new wood is for the maturing of Amarone and it is then utilised for the Valpolicella Superiore. There are some large oak casks for the ageing of the Valpolicella Superiore Sanperetto.
The temperature and the humidity are even all year round.
Fermentation: this area is equipped with stainless steel vats with temperature control. Some of the vats have automatic devices for delestage and for punching down of the cap.
Storage and packaging: the 500 square meter warehouse was built by converting the old fermentation sector of the cellar.
The fermentation and the storage and packaging sector have air conditioning.
THE PHILOSOPHY AND THE PRODUCTION STYLE
The aim of the Mazzi family is to make wines that reflect the best qualities of the terroir. For this reason the focus is on the elegance and on the finesse of the fruit rather than on the structure. The family tries as much as possible to make wines with personal and recognizable qualities, wines that are able to show their character even after a long time.
THE ENOAGRITURISMO PROJECT
Since the end of the 1980s, Roberto together with his wife Fiorella, has been dedicating himself to cooking, a great passion of his. The old family home in the Poiega vineyard has been restructured so that, if you are in the Valpolicella, you can stay there and experience wonderful food, with a delightful family and with lovely wines!
Amarone della Valpolicella Classico DOC Punta di Villa
Varietals: 70% Corvina and Corvinone, 20% Rondinella, 10% Molinara
Vineyard extension: 3 hectares
Average production/year: 9,000 bottles
Amarone della Valpolicella Classico DOC Vigneto Castel
Varietals: 75% Corvina and Corvinone, 20% Rondinella, 5% Molinara
Vineyard extension: 1.5 hectares
Average production/year: 3,000 bottles
Valpolicella Classico Superiore DOC Sanperetto
Varietals: 70% Corvina and Corvinone, 20% Rondinella, 10% Molinara
Vineyard extension: 7.5 hectares
Average production/year: 15,000 bottles
Valpolicella Classico Superiore DOC Poiega
Varietals: 70% Corvina and Corvinone, 25% Rondinella, 5% Molinara
Vineyard extension: 4 hectares
Average production/year: 8,000 bottles
Recioto della Valpolicella Classico DOCG Le Calcarole
Varietals: 70% Corvina and Corvinone, 20% Rondinella, 10% Croatina
Vineyard extension: 1 hectare
Average production/year: 5,000 half-bottles