What I Learned At The Amarone Walk-Around Wine Tasting

I just returned from a walk around tasting at the famous Del Posto in Manhattan.  The tasting was hosted by the Historic Families (Le Famiglie Storiche), which is the organization that represents thirteen quintessential producers of Amarone della Valpolicella “Amarone”, the Italian noble red that hails from Italy’s Veneto region.  Amarone is celebrated as one of Italy’s finest wines.

What I learned:

  • The history of Amarone and the Valpolicella Region: After the Italian government adopted a strict quality assurance label system in the late ‘60’s, many rules about planting, vine production and vineyard location surfaced.  They ended up going through a production method called “apassimento” hence the name Amarone.  The Valpolicella Region is a viticultural zone of the province of Verona, Italy, east of Lake Garda. The hills and marble-quarrying region is famous for wine production.  Make sure you look up marble-quarrying when you get a minute…very fascinating stuff.  A variety of wine styles is produced in the area including a strong wine made from dried grapesAmarone.
  • About Le Famiglie Storiche/Historic Families: The group was founded in 2009 (previously Le Famiglie dell’Amarone d’Arte/Amarone Families) by ten Valpolicella companies. There are 13 prestigious wineries within the group, that have sustained the Valpolicella wine territory.  The Veneto region of Italy territory for centuries: Allegrini, Begali, Brigaldara, Guerrieri Rizzardi, Masi, Musella, Speri, Tedeschi, Tenuta Sant’Antonio, Tommasi, Torre D’Orti, Venturini, and Zenato. Together, the wineries bring a heritage of knowledge consolidated from an unwavering commitment to quality, tradition, and innovation as testimony to this great wine.  The group prides themselves on combining the generations of know-how with modern innovation to produce one of Italy’s greatest red wines.

  • The Taste of Amarone Wine: I tried both Amarone and Amarone Riserva today.  Quick side note…The major difference between Amarone and Amarone Riserva is aging time.  Amarone is aged 2 years following the vintage and Amarone Riserva is aged 4 years. Amarone wines should really continue to age for over 10 years to develop those rich fig and chocolate flavors.  In most of my tastes today, I got bold aromas of cherry and raspberries, a bit of spice, and peppercorn and chocolate.  The wines were medium-plus to high acidity balanced with high alcohol.  In particular, one of the wines I really enjoyed was the Amarone della Valpolicella Classico DOCG “Vigneto Monte Sant’Urbano” 2012.  It was complex, fragrant and smooth, had black plum and cooking spice aromas and brought a sense of comfort to me as I was tasting it.   
  • Why Amarone is so expensive: You’re looking at a $50-$80 price range for a bottle. This is because a lot more fruit goes into a bottle of Amarone (2x as many grapes as normal wine).  Plus, the drying process requires an investment of time for the winery staff.
  • Reconfirmed what types of wine I like: While it was an absolute treat to try these wine today, my California Cabs still have my heart.  This definitely broadened my horizons into the fantastic wines of the world though.

I hope you learned more about Amarone today.  Who knows, maybe you’ll find yourself in Verona, Italy and will now be prepared for what you’re about to taste!  You don’t have to wait until then though.  There are a ton of wine shops that carry Amarone such as Total Wines or you can even purchase through the wine library vivino.

Happy tasting all!

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