Azienda Agricola Inama can be found in the heart of Soave Classico in the Veneto region of Italy, and like all great Italian wineries it’s got a story to tell:
When he started the winery in the 1960s, Stefano’s father, Giuseppe Inama, focused almost exclusively on old vine Garganega (the classic white grape of Soave), with the belief that with care and innovation he could produce extremely high-quality wines in a region with little recognition or prestige. Inama has been and continues to be instrumental in the elevation of the status of the white wines of the region and has chosen to continue to focus white wine production on Garganega, as well as Chardonnay and Sauvignon blanc. The Classico zone is comprised of volcanic soils, which imbue the wines with distinct floral aromas and firm minerality on the palate.
Beyond whites, Inama also produces stunning reds. In the 1990s, Stefano Inama saw great potential in the Colli Berici, a fold of terra rossa hills located in Vicenza, an adjacent province a few miles east of Soave. It is here that Stefano surprisingly discovered the Carménère varietal. Widely mistaken for Cabernet Franc, Carménère has been present in the Veneto region for over 150 years. Through intense study and experimentation, Stefano realized the potential of Carménère in the hot, dry climate found in Colli Berici and has devoted much of his work to producing world class red wines from the largest Carménère holding in all of Europe with vineyards dating back to the 1800s.
In case you missed it, we’re talking about production that includes the classic Soave white wine… plus an Italian carmenere, something I’ve never seen before.
Without further ado, let’s taste these three current releases.
2018 Inama Vin Soave Classico DOC – Tart and racy, this lemon/lime-fueled Soave offers floral honeysuckle notes up front, though a slate-driven mineral character helps to inform the palate as it develops in the glass. The finish is on the flat side, the wine’s naturally acidity a bit blunted by a slight greenness, which comes across as a slightly woody, earthy element. B / $16
2017 Inama Vigneti di Foscarino Soave Classico DOC – This is the more upscale bottling, and the current release is a year older. Slightly tropical, with notes of lemon, lavender, and clean linens, altogether making for a rather unusual and austere expression of Soave. As with the Vin Soave above, there’s a strong thread of thyme and rosemary running through this wine, though that culminates in a surprisingly flat finish as the initial acidity rapidly dissipates. B / $26
2015 Inama Carmenere Piu… – Yes, the ellipsis is part of the name. A bizarre blend of 75% carmenere and 25% merlot from the Veneto. That beefy note from the carmenere is evident right from the start, making for a tight wine driven by barrel char, at least until some significant balsamic notes rush to the fore. Austere and more than a little strange, it at least bears some resemblance to the hearty reds of Alto Adige. B / $21