Appears in

Oxford Companion to Wine

Oxford Companion to Wine

By Jancis Robinson

Published 2006

  • About

Italian term meaning literally ‘repassed’, for the technique of adding extra flavour, and alcohol, to valpolicella by re-fermenting the young wine on the unpressed skins of amarone wines after these dried-grape wines have finished their fermentation in the spring, and racked off. Regularly aged in new barriques to add a sweet note of vanilla and often with residual sweetness, Valpolicella Ripasso became a roaring success as a cheaper alternative to Amarone, with production rising from 7.5 million bottles in 2007 to more than 25 million bottles in 2013. By law the volume of ripasso obtained by this method may be double that of the Amarone that has been racked off before, while 15% of Amarone may also be added to improve its quality. This marked increase in the volume of Ripasso has been at the expense of straight Valpolicella, which decreased in the same period from 35.9 million bottles to under 20 million in 2013.