The wines of Inama
Serious expressions of Soave from Italy's Veneto

Azienda Agricola Inama, Via IV Novembre 1, 37047 San Bonifacio (VR), Italy
Tel: +39 0348 444 1444
UK agent: Winetraders (01865 251 851,  

I was glad to have the chance to revisit one of Italy’s most interesting producers, whose wines I last reviewed in depth in 2003. I met with Stefano Inama and his son (above) to taste through the range.

The winery was founded by Stefano’s father, Guiseppe Inama, who began purchasing vineyard plots in Soave in the 1950s. Guiseppe was convinced of the potential of Soave, and wanted to show the world what old vine Garganega was capable of. However, it was Sauvignon Blanc that first put Inama on the map in the early 1990s: these soils express themselves in remarkable ways through this variety, fashioning Sauvignon Blanc quite unlike any other. Currently, Inama have 25 hectares of vineyards in the Soave vineyards, from which they make both Sauvignon Blanc and also Soave Classico.

The key to making great Soave? ‘Working with old vines from the best plots and being accurate with viticulture’, says Stefano. ‘You mustn’t over-crop, and you must use minimalistic oenology.’ Stefano adds, ‘I like Garganega, but it is difficult to control. You need to be a vine man and not a consultant: if you do it by the book it is a disaster’. 

In the 1990s Inama branched out and began making red wines from another special terroir: Colli Berici. Here, mineral-rich terra rossa soils (red clay over limestone) and a hot, dry climate make ideal conditions for growing red grapes such as Carmènere, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot.

The Carmenère was brought here by Italian workers returning from Bordeaux in the 19th century. ‘We thought Carmenère was Cabernet Franc’, says Stefano. ‘It has a similar leaf. We have our own clones that have been adapted over 150 years, and I believe that the Colli Berici is the best place to grow this variety: we can do much better than Chile.’ He adds, ‘if you can ripen it, it is simply magic: better than Cabernet and Merlot. The important thing is to get rid of the green notes.’

In terms of viticulture, with red varieties Inama are organic, but don’t bother with certification. ‘We are organic in the way we grow wines, but don’t declare it’, says Stefano. ‘It is not a marketing tool: the quality of the wine is the marketing tool’.

Inama Soave Classico 2007 Veneto
Taut, nutty, rounded nose with good fruit. The palate is bold with lovely ripe fruit and fresh acidity. A really rich, bold style of Soave that’s delicious. 90/100

Inama Vulcaia 2006 Veneto
Varietal Sauvignon Blanc fermented in stainless steel. Bold, intense and melony on the nose with sweet fruit and a herbal tang. The palate is concentrated and intense with rich herb, melon and apple character, as well as some minerality. A profound expression of Sauvignon. 92/100

Inama Vulcaia Reserva 2005 Veneto
Barrel-fermented Sauvignon Blanc. Deep coloured. Powerful, intense, melony and bold on the nose, showing real complexity. The palate is rich, intense and sweetly fruited with a bold herbal character on the finish. A remarkable, intense wine. 94/100

Inama Carmenère Più 2006 Veneto
This is a blend of 60% Carmenère, 30% Merlot and 10% Raboso Veronese. Lovely smooth texture with some spice and black pepper notes as well as sweet fruit. Really rounded and easy to drink: a lighter style. 89/100

Inama Bradissimo 2004 Veneto
70% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Carmenère. Sweet, ripe and aromatic with slightly stewed red and black fruits as well as some spice. The palate is lush and sweet with lovely rich fruit that’s backed up by rather grainy, yet attractive tannins. Delicious. 90/100

Inama Binomio 2005 Montepulciano d’Abruzzo
Rich and intense with sweet, soft pure red and black fruits, backed up by nice spiciness. This is a very rich style of wine with lovely intensity. 92/100

Wines tasted 06/08

Older report from March 2003: Let me start by saying that I was very excited by this line up of wines. It’s very rare to try through a producer’s range of wines and rate as many as three of them as excellent, but Stefano Inama has put in a near-perfect performance. Prices are still sane, also. Before I wrote these stunning wines up I wanted to be sure about my judgements, so I tried the majority of them again a couple of months later and confirmed my ratings. Particularly exciting are the top Soave, the barrel-fermented Sauvignon Blance, and the exotically rich Montepulciano. 

Inama Soave Classico 2001
Made from hand-harvested pergola-trained Garganega grapes, fermented and aged in stainless steel. Quite a distinctive herbal edge to the nose: bright and fruity. Rounded rich palate with lots of flavour and a savoury minerally edge. An interesting, characterful wine. Very good/excellent (£7.99 Sainsbury)

Inama Soave Classico ‘Vigneti di Foscarino’ 2000
Made from a selection of old vines grown at the top of Monte Foscarino. Pergola trained Garganega grapes. Remarkable forward herby nose with waxy, nutty complexity. Really rich, spectacular palate with a spicy, herby edge. Quite brilliant: a lovely complex savoury white wine. Very good/excellent (£12)

Inama Soave Classico ‘Vigneto du Lot’ 2001
From an experimental vineyard planted in 1993: instead of pergola training, the Garganega grapes are grown in a permanent cordon and are spur pruned. 50% new Allier oak is used. Striking rich herby, toasty nutty nose. Rich exotic ripe palate with straw and herb edge to the savoury nutty palate. Excellent (£16.50)

Inama Sauvignon del Veneto ‘Vulcaia’ IGT
Sauvignon was planted on the slopes of Monte Foscarino in 1986 by Stefano’s father Guiseppe. This is fermented and aged in stainless steel. Deep coloured. Exotic, rich nose showing sweet herby fruit with a savoury edge. Soft, herby palate with some maturity to it. Unusual. Very good+ (£10)

Inama Sauvignon del Veneto ‘Vulcaia Fume’ 2000
A selection of the best grapes fermented in barriques, 50% of which are new. Remarkably complex rich nose is herby and toasty with some liqueur-like notes. The palate is dense and rich, with intense herby complexity. Bold and rich, this is remarkable stuff that’s brilliantly different. Excellent (£20)

Inama Bradisismo Cabernet Sauvignon del Veneto 1999
From vineyards in the Colli Berici, which has a rich terrarossa soil. A blend of Cabernet Sauvignon (70%), Carmenère (15%) and Cabernet Franc (15%) aged in new French barriques. Dense, refined spicy blackcurrant fruit with a savoury, chalky edge. Taut, dense palate is vividly fruited with a minerally core and good acid. Vivid, taut and concentrated. Very good/excellent (£20)

Aziendo Agricola Bionomio, Montepulciano d’Abruzzo 2000
Stefano Inama purchased a 4.2 ha parcel of old vine Montepulciano (of a special clone) in the heart of Abruzzo. This wine is aged in new French barriques. Rich, intense exotic nose is liqouricey and ripe with intense spicy and menthol notes. The palate is super-concentrated and spicy with lush, intense berry fruit and some oak evident. A modern, supercharged style but still with lots of character. Excellent (£25)

Wines tasted as indicated  
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