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Winery #63: Inama (Soave, Italy)

Perfect Score! Out of 73 winery experiences rated by 500 Wineries to date, Inama is the only estate with both a perfect 5-Star Wine Experience Rating and a 4 Paws Up Brodi Rating!!! Our hosts at Inama provided an absolutely outstanding wine experience and deserves a special journey to the Soave region for a visit.

As we parked the car, we noticed our hosts Alessandro and Benedetta waiting by the front door prepared to greet us for our visit. Almost immediately, we knew we were in for a treat. Alessandro introduced Benedetta as his observer for the wine experience as she was preparing for a transition from her current role in Imana’s cellar into a customer-facing opportunity. Having a guide with current, first-hand winemaking experience adds great depth to a wine experience. We learned that one of Benedetta’s many tasks was to hand-stir the lees or dead yeast in the ageing oak barrels to enhance the wine’s texture and develop a creamer expression on the palate. Who could possibly be better to explain to us this process? We learned about the production methods that make Inama unique while observing winery personnel in-action completing their assigned tasks.

After touring the facilities, Alessandro led us all to the impressive Inama tasting room with the many vineyard maps covering the walls, images of the various soil-types found in the different Inama vineyard plots, as well as physical samples of the soils including the porous volcanic soil from the region. Alessandro and Benedetta previously prepared our seated tasting area with a branded white tasting mat, perfect for observing the color of each wine. Additionally, they placed Inama brochures and maps, water, breadsticks, a branded pencil, and the ever important spit cup in our area:-) Alessandro even inquired about our comfort with the current temperature level of the room. A first class experience all the way!

Alessandro explained how the Inama story began in 1948 when Giuseppe Inama started as a winemaker in the Soave region, eventually buying his first plot of land to plant with grape vines in 1965. Twenty-six years later, Giuseppe’s son, Stephano, joined the company. With that cue, the tasting room door opens, and in comes Stephano Inama to greet us and introduce himself. What a pleasure to meet with the winery’s leadership during our visit! We learned from our hosts that Stephano fell in love with the red Carmenère grape, a grape originating from Bordeaux but made famous by the significant plantings in Chile. Inama produces two 100% Carmenère wines and two blends with the grape. Tasting these wonderful wines in the Italian region of Soave greatly surprised me, as my previous experience with the grape was limited to mostly Chilean wines.

Throughout the tasting, Alessandro and Benedetta provided commentary on each wine’s vineyard location, the detailed production process, and their thoughts on the wine’s structure and corresponding food pairings. Looking back at my tasting notes, I believe this was the most detailed tasting in our Northeastern Italian wine tour.

Picking the best wine from the ten Inama wine line-up proved quite difficult, though the 2020 Foscarino Soave Classico stood out amongst its peers. Wines labeled as Soave Classico must be produced from at least 70% white Garganega grapes and must originate from the hillier part of the region. Vines planted on hillsides generally have shallower soils and increased drainage compared to flat locations, thus providing greater stress on the vine to extract resources from the ground, and as a result produce greater quality grapes. Additionally, the aspect or alignment of the hill towards the sun allows for different ripening levels as the eastern and southeastern aspect slopes provide the greatest amount of sun exposure throughout the day in the Northern Hemisphere. The result of better sun exposure is the additional grape ripening throughout the season, contributing a more complex aroma and flavor development as well as higher degrees of alcohol due to greater sugar development in the grape.

The Garganega grape, known for its high acidity level, gives the Foscarino wine an extremely refreshing experience while contributing aromas and flavors of lemon, apple, and floral notes to the wine. The wine’s fermentation occurs within used oak barrels followed by an additional six months of ageing within those same barrels. I found a tinge of vanilla in the wine’s bouquet due to the barrel ageing, though it was not not as overwhelming as compared to wineries that us new oak barrels. Benedetta mentioned that she stirred the lees in the used barrels every six weeks during the maturation period. The final stage before bottling is another six months of ageing in stainless steel vats. Alessandro mentioned that these wines can age for at least 10 years if stored properly. Needless to say, we sacrificed some extremely valuable space in our vehicle for a case of this wine to enjoy at a later time.

Brodi was the center of attention throughout the Inama wine experience. You would think that Tom Cruise showed up to the winery on this day! Brodi received a plethora of pets and rubs from all parties involved in the experience, and was given fresh water during the tasting. Conferring with Brodi after the appointment, this was the first winery that received the full 4 PAWS UP since the launch of 500 Wineries, and thus resulted in a Perfect Score for Inama Winery.!

500 Wineries sends an enormous THANK YOU to our hosts Alessandro and Benedetta as well as the surprise guest, Stephano Inama, for making this our visit the best overall wine experience to date. The exceptional wine experience at Inama is worth the special journey to the region.


Experience Rating: 5 Star

Brodi's Rating: 4 Paws Up

Pet-Friendly: Yes

Experience Vibe: Private Experience, Production Facilities Tour, Seated Formal Tasting

Reservations Needed: Yes

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