| 2009 Della Valpolicella Montechiara Amarone 750ml |
A traditional Amarone blend of Corvina, Molinara and Rondinella grapes that are partially air dried prior to ferment. This is a big, rich, saturated style of wine ready for some hearty winter fare. Dark red fruited, some roasted or stewed fruit hints but not over ripe or glycerol like. The Montechiara Amarone is gonna fly at this price so grab a couple and see what you think.
Deep ruby red- violet with an aroma of plum, rosemary, soy sauce and a touch of chocolate. Medium-full to full body with excellent concentration. Firm but balanced tannins and very fine acidity help round out the flavorful finish. Drink now or over the next 5-7 years.
Amarone is unique. The grapes to make it are absolutely indigenous and really taste of the soil on which they grow. It's a wine that can't be made elsewhere, unlike Cabernet and Chardonnay, which do well pretty much anywhere. Three grape varieties are used in the vinification of Amarone: Corvina, the Veneto's best grape, make up the bulk of the wine, with Rondinella and Molinara.
The grapes are picked when they are ripe and sweet, then spread out on racks where they dry, intensifying sweetness and depth in character. It is essentials that the drying process, whick take at least five months, is carried out in well-ventilated rooms, to avoid the formation of harmful mold. The calcareous soil of the Valpolicella area, is not an easy one in some spots, it's hard to grow grapes on, but the grapes that grow there are some of the best of Italy. If you know how to turn them into wine, the wine are splendid as is the color of Amarone. To make a truly superior bottle of Amarone are necessary eleven kilos (twenty-three pounds) of grapes. To compare, the Valpolicella is made with one kilo (two and ¼ pounds) of grapes. Once Amarone is bottled, it can be aged for up to fifteen years, and it really holds up beautifully. Alcool content: 12%.
Ideal temperature: Serve Amarone at 68 F.
Amarone pairing food: game, fowl, roasts, hearty meats with dried fruits and aged cheeses.
Red meats, game and rich cheeses. It is also a perfect after-dinner wine. For best results, open the wine 30 minutes before drinking so as to allow it to breathe.
Amarone is produced in the region of Veneto by estates that make Valpolicella, one of the most popular wines of this area in Northeastern Italy. The same grapes, primarily Corvina (usually the leading component in the blend) along with Rondinella and Molinara, are used to produce Amarone. But the difference between the two wines is usually striking; where Valpolicella is a medium-weight wine meant for consumption with lighter fare with in its first 3-5 years, Amarone is a much more robust wine that is perfect with game birds or other such sturdy fare over the course of 7 to 15 years.
The reason for the stylistic difference in these wines is in the winemaking. To produce an Amarone (properly known as Amarone della Valpolicella Classico), a winemaker will take the harvested grapes and lay them on a straw mat, often in an attic or other warm room. The grapes then dry over the course of several months creating a raisiny flavor that is a distinctive character of Amarone.
As Amarone comes from the Italian word amaro ("bitter"), most examples have a tartness or slightly astringent edge to them. Alternatively, you may notice a sweet edge to them that can be explained in the concentrated sugars the grapes pick up during the drying process. Certainly, the combination of raisiny and sweet black fruit can make Amarone an irresistible temptation.
That slightly sweet edge in the finish can also come from the fact that a particular Amarone may not be entirely dry. Amarone is actually a recent innovation, dating back only from the 1950s. Before that, the process of drying grapes in this fashion (known as appasimento) resulted in a sweet, super-rich wine known as Recioto. Legend has it that the first Amarone was a mistake, as a winemaker had let a barrel of wine ferment too long and the wine's residual sugar had been eliminated. Recioto is still made today and its sweetness and richness make it a perfect choice at the end of a meal, often with powerful cheeses. (Many producers of Amarone also produce a Recioto – the official name is Recioto Della Valpolicella – with Masi and Tedeschi among the best.)