Inama: Venetian split

The Azienda Agricola Inama has been producing high-quality Soave for a good six decades. Since the 1990s, the winery has also been producing ambitious red wines in the nearby Colli Berici. Following the takeover by the third generation in 2020, the brothers Matteo, Alessio and Luca want to lead the family winery into the premier league.

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Matteo Inama in Berlin

“No Pinot Grigio, no Prosecco.” Matteo Inama sets the tone right from the start when presenting his wines, both sympathetically and confidently. The family has been dedicated to Garganega, this ancient white wine grape that dates back to the Middle Ages, for a good sixty years. Back then, the family acquired its first plots in the Soave Classico hills. Today, the winery produces some of the most exciting Soaves in the appellation. In the mid-1990s, the Inama family also turned their attention to the nearby Colli Berici. The soils there were ideal for growing Bordeaux grape varieties. Particularly convincing: the old Carmenere grape variety, which had almost died out in Bordeaux after the phylloxera plague. As in Chile with Merlot, the grape variety was previously confused here with Cabernet Franc. Today, alongside San Leonardo and Ca՚ del Bosco, Inama is the only winery in Italy to produce significant single-varietal Carmeneres.

For around ten years, the family has introduced a system of precision viticulture that covers every detail of wine production. Stefano Inama was inspired in particular by his collaboration with Stéphane Derenencourt and his Bordeaux-based wine consultancy. They divided each site into microplots, all of which they analyzed in terms of their soils and their interaction with the vines. The clonal selection and pruning in particular were based on this. In collaboration with Vitenova, cultivation is carried out as naturally and sustainably as possible and the biocomplexity of the vineyard soils is increased. The red wines come from certified organic cultivation. The aim is to produce grapes with maximum ripeness and thick skins. Maceration on the skins for up to 12 hours extracts the aromatic richness of the white wines. The harvest from each parcel is vinified separately. In the cellar, there was a reduction of small barrels in favor of larger 12 to 35 hl Stockinger barrels.

The white wines

Soave Classico means wine made from Garganega grapes from volcanic soils. Because the volcanic activity north of the village of Soave has created geologically different layers, the expression of the wines changes depending on the type of soil. Differences that Inama aims to express in its cuvées above the entry-level Soave. Soave Classico Carbonare 2021 comes from the youngest generation of the Inama family, from a 40-year-old vineyard on a site characterized by basalt lava at an altitude of 80 metres. The cuvée matured without malolactic fermentation for 12 months on the lees in stainless steel. Initially with a hint of Sauvignon on the nose, with floral and above all citrus notes. The wine shows a lovely freshness with a slender mouthfeel, good acidity and medium length and complexity (90 P.).

The classic Soave Classico Foscarino 2021 comes from 50-year-old volcanic plots. They are located below the central Monte Foscarino, the geographical reference point of the Soave region, at an altitude of up to 300 meters. After fermentation in used barriques, some of the different lots undergo malolactic fermentation. The wine is matured in large barrels on the fine lees, with occasional bâtonnage. Cuvetting is followed by a further six months in stainless steel. No wonder the wine is creamier and much more structured, with almonds and dried herbs on the nose and a delicate texture on the palate (92 p.). Soave Classico Foscarino 2016 from the Vintage Collection demonstrates the excellent ageing potential of the cuvée. Bottled 18 months earlier, it will not go on sale until fall 2024. The preview is exciting with a hint of blood orange and is also significantly more complex overall (94 p.).

The Soave Classico I Palchi Foscarino Grande Cuvée 2021 is then the top white cuvée. It comes from a handful of plots where the Garganega grows still in the old pergola cultivation on small terraces. Matured in a mix of stainless steel, large vats and barriques, it combines freshness with depth. Stone fruit, almonds and some toast, brilliant acidity, beautiful texture and a pleasingly low 12.5 percent alcohol (94 p.).

The red wines

The Veneto Rosso I.G.T. Carmenere Più 2021, a blend of Carmenere and Merlot, is Inama’s entry into the world of red wine. The batches are aged for 12 months, 80% in used barriques and 20% in stainless steel. After blending, the wine aged for four months in stainless steel and six months in bottle before the release. Very pleasant and decidedly “drinkable”, with cherries and dark chocolate on the nose, but not overly ambitious (89 points). As a Colli Berici D.O.C. Carmenere, Carminium 2020 is already single-varietal. The grapes come from plots adjacent to those of the “Oratorio”. Fermentation in stainless steel ensures freshness, while the structure formed during the aging in French barriques, one third of which are new. Significantly less characterized by primary fruit, instead herbal aromas, pepper and tobacco dominate. Very clean and fresh on the palate, with good length and density (92 P.).

Imana had brought two vintages of the estate’s top wine, Oratorio di San Lorenzo. (Unfortunately, the new high-end cuvée Capital was not presented.) The designations Veneto Rosso for the 2007 and Colli Berici Carmenere Riserva D.O.C. for the 2018 show how the legislature has recognized Inama’s struggle for Carmenere in the Colli Berici. The wine comes from a 4-hectare contiguous vineyard near the hamlet of San Lorenzo on the eastern slope of a hill called Monte Motton, a good 250 meters high. After cold maceration and fermentation in concrete, the wine matures for a good 12 months in barriques (almost half of which are new) and for another four months in concrete tanks. 2018 is beautifully floral, with a fine fruity sweetness and exceptional tannin management (95 P.). The 2007 was vinified less precisely, but has nevertheless matured well. In addition to five-spice aromas, there are also somewhat liqueur-like notes, as well as somewhat more rustic tannins with quite present acidity (91 P.).

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