Fratelli Vogadori is a small family-run winery in Negrar in the heart of the Valpolicella. Three brothers, Alberto, Gaetano and Emanuele, work together to produce wonderful wines and olive oil from their land. They are the third generation running this picturesque winery.
The Fratelli brothers’ hospitality began before we even set foot in their winery. We had a few email exchanges arranging our visit and when we asked for suggestions for a fantastic lunch nearby, Alberto not only made recommendations, but called and booked a table for us. Needless to say, we were looking forward to meeting him on our visit!
After a delicious feast at Trattoria alla Porchetta, our visit at Fratelli Vogadori fittingly began in the vineyard. It is, after all, where a great bottle of wine begins. The unique micro-climate of the Valpolicella mostly keeps harmful pests away, so there are no chemical treatments on the vines and only natural fertilizers are used. Just in case, rose bushes are planted at the ends of each row of vines and any harmful parasites will attack the roses first, giving a few days notice to protect the vines. The green harvest was taking place this week so that only the best grapes would thrive. Some bunches of grapes were showing véraison, or the onset of ripening.
We took a quick tour, including the lovely apartments that are part of Fratelli Vogadori’s bed and breakfast. Each apartment has a balcony overlooking the vineyards and village of Negrar. With air conditioning, wifi, a kitchen to cook a few meals, and a location close to both Lake Garda and Verona, we could totally spend a few days relaxing here!
Finally it was time for the most important part of any winery visit – the tasting! The tasting room has huge windows overlooking the vineyards and the town down the hill, just like the view from the lovely apartments. We began with the Valpolicella Classico, which had very nice acidity. This wine can pair well with just about any pasta dish.
Next, and one of our favorites which we did bring home, was the Ripasso 2009. It’s made from the same Corvina, Rondinella, Corvinone, Molinara, Oseleta grapes that make up Amarone, but a second fermentation process takes place and the wine is aged for 12 months in French oak. It is full bodied and would pair wonderfully with roasts or even barbecue.
Excellent with meats and casseroles, Amarone is a strong wine best appreciated with food. It’s made from Corvina, Rondinella, Corvinone, Molinara, Oseleta grapes that have been dried for 4 months and then fermented in steel tanks for another 2 months. It is aged in French oak barriques for 24 months and then ages another 12 months in the bottle before it is ready. Amarone has the potential to age for more than 20 years! It’s rich, complex. and velvety.
Always a fan of Amarone, the 2008 Amarone Forlago stole my heart. It is only made from the best year’s grapes and has to be a nearly perfect Amarone. It is aged 1 year longer than Amarone Classico and has aromas of chocolate and vanilla. It tastes of chocolate and has just the slightest hint of sweetness. Delicioso with or without food to pair it with!
As I mentioned, Fratelli Vogadri also has a small production of olive oil from their trees and we got to taste this as well. Oh my, is it ever tasty! My very favorite olive oils come from the Lake Garda area and as I write, I’m kicking myself I only bought one bottle. Guess we will be visiting Alberto again for olive oil and Amarone Forlago!
Know Before You Go
- Unlike many wineries, Fratelli Vogadori is open for visits on Saturday and Sunday! Just be sure to arrange your visit in advance using their easy online booking form. One of the brothers will give you a guided tour before your tasting.
- Credit cards are accepted in the wine shop.