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Exploring the wines of Ca dei Maghi in the heart of Veneto

Ca dei Maghi lies in the heart of the beautiful Veneto wine region of northern Italy.

Close to the famous city of Verona, it's home to the lighter red wines of Valpolicella and Bardolino, whilst the region's best known whites come from the medieval village of Soave. The main grape used here is Garganega, which produces wines with a lovely texture and great depth. A number of other local and international varieties are used here too to create some cracking blends, including Trebbiano and Chardonnay.

Many of the red wines from Valpolicella are blends, which include Corvina, Molinara and Rondinella. Veneto is also renowned throughout the world for the Amarone della Valpolicella wines.

The famous Amarone wines are produced by drying out grapes on racks after picking, which increases the concentration of sugar. When these dry grapes are then fermented, it produces wines with a huge richness and concentration of fruit, along with a heftier ABV - up to 16%. The art of drying the grapes dates way back to Roman times before more modern methods had been discovered. And the rich dried grapes skins aren't just used the once - oh no. The winemakers in the region make the most of all that flavour by passing some of the more basic village wines through the leftover Amarone skins, which adds greater depth and texture. These wines are often labelled under Valpolicella Ripasso. The same dried skin technique is also used to create some banging sweet red wines known as  Recioto.

Ca dei Maghi have been producing wines here since the 1950s. In 2011 Paolo Creazzi took over from his uncle Fernando and the quality of the wines and attention to detail has really gone up a notch. Based in the hills of Valpolicella, they focus on traditional wines, but also have some more experimental wines on their books, such as their Barabao and Sanzenel.

Here we take a look at a few of the wines from the range. We've also put together a stunning duo for anyone looking to explore this region, which would also make a lovely gift and includes free delivery. You can find that here.

Ca dei Maghi, Duo pack, Reserve Wines

Ca dei Maghi, Valpolicella Classico 

This wine is made from a blend of Corvina, Corvinone, Rondinella and Molinara from a small vineyard known as Villa Stamberga, where the vines average around 30 years of age. It's a pure, fruit-forward expression of Valpolicella Classico with that intense red cherry and raspberry fruit. Really fresh and vibrant, this is an absolute winner with soft cheeses. Fermented and aged for a short time in stainless steel helps to keep all of that fresh fruit intact. 

Ca dei Maghi, Barabao Bianco

One of Paolo's more experimental wines, this is made using Garganega grapes. Half are early harvested and then dried for 40 days and half are late harvested - and so ripened completely. These are then fermented and aged together in stainless steel for 6 months, before spending a year maturing in the bottle prior to release. This 'double harvest' wine gives amazing complexity with a mix of Mediterranean herbs such as rosemary and sage, as well as a touch of almonds, saffron, a hint of smoke and a salty finish.

Ca dei Maghi, Valpolicella Classico Superiore, Ripasso

A real classic and probably my favourite wine from the range. I just think this offers unbelievable bang for your buck. It uses the same grape varieties as the Valpolicella Classico but this time from the Camparsi vineyard down the road. Paolo and the team are so proud of this one that they're working towards enhancing the 'Cru' status - basically a sign of a fantastic vineyard. This wine has been passed through the pressed, dried skins from the Amarone wine-making process before being aged for 2 years in small barrels to add more richness and complexity. Whilst this has that traditional richness you'd expect from a Ripasso, there is still plenty of elegant, fresh red fruit and violet flowers. 

Ca dei Maghi, Amarone della Valpolicella Classico

The crown jewel of Veneto. The grapes here are harvested and then aged on racks for 3 months, before being pressed to create a wine which is really concentrated with lots of sweet red berries and a lovely, unctuous texture. A wine that's made to be enjoyed over dinner and pairs perfectly with slow cooked braised meats.

You can see the full range of wines from Ca de Maghi here.

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