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Zyme Amarone della Valpolicella 2013
This majestic Amarone opens with notes of dried herbs, leather, smoky tobacco, and blackberries and blackcurrants, while the first sip reveals a bold full body, firm structure, and smooth and refined tannins. The palate is characterised by rich dark berry flavours seasoned with hints of sweet spices, baked earth, and leather which linger long on the tongue.
Winemaker Celestino Gaspari learnt the art of making magnificent Amarones while working with the legendary Giuseppe Quintarelli who would go on to become his future father-in-law as well as his mentor. After working as a consultant winemaker and helping to launch over a dozen wineries in the Veneto, Celestino decided to focus on realising his own dream and founded Zyme in his garage.
The grapes for this wine are sourced from old vines planted in the Negrar di Valpolicella commune and the wine is only made during the very best years. Following the harvest in late September the grapes are dried in the traditional manner for around 3 months to concentrate the flavours and sugar content. The grape must is then left to macerate and ferment using the wild yeasts naturally in the environment for some 2 months. The final step is extended maturation in huge Slavonian oak casks for at least 5 years and a further year of bottle ageing.
Brunelli Amarone Della Valpolicella Classico 2016
Set close to the village of San Pietro amongst the romantic rolling hills of the Valpolicella wine region, the Brunelli estate has been in the hands of the same family since it was founded in 1936. Today the winery is run by Luigi and Luciana along with their son Alberto who have sought to celebrate Valpolicella’s winemaking traditions while embracing modern techniques.
The family insist on harvesting all of their grapes by hand and they have also strived to preserve and recuperate little-known local grape varieties that have been forgotten or overlooked. Their flagship wines are the Brunelli Amarones which are made by selecting and harvesting the ripest grapes which are then left to dry over the winter. For their Amarone Classico the family chooses the finest Corvina Veronese, Rondinella and Corvinone grapes which are dried and slowly fermented at low temperature. The wine is then allowed to mature in oak casks for 24 months.
This distinctive winemaking technique creates an incredibly concentrated nose which exudes crushed redcurrants, blueberries and red cherries along with hints of sweet spices from the oak. Take a sip and you’ll notice the full body, soft mouthfeel and luscious wild berry flavours which are carefully balanced by the fresh acidity. Thanks to this rich, generous character, this is an ideal partner for a hearty beef goulash, grilled red meats or even sweet-and-sour Asian dishes.
Rizzardi Calcarole Amarone Della Valpolicella 2011
This opulent single vineyard Amarone is only produced by the Rizzardi family during the very best vintages. The prized Calcarole vineyard is situated in the heart of Negrar in Valpolicella and has a particularly warm microclimate thanks to the steep hillside setting with a southwestern aspect and stony soils.
All of the grapes chosen for this wine are harvested by hand and undergo rigorous selection in the vineyard. In accordance with the traditional method of making Amarone, the grapes are dried in a well-ventiliated room for three and a half months to concentrate their aromas, flavours and sugars. They are then slowly fermented over the course of a month and matured for 12 months in smaller 5hl oak barrels followed by a further 24 months in 25hl oak casks.
The result is a decadent ruby-hued wine that explodes with rich aromas of black cherry jam, cinnamon, cloves and hints of dark chocolate and raisins. The first sip reveals a full body, firm structure and silky smooth mouthfeel with intense dark berry flavours balanced by a touch of freshness. This big personality would make an excellent match for intensely-flavoured dishes like roast venison, beef stroganoff or a generous hunk of aged Gran Padano cheese.
Fasoli Gino Alteo Amarone Valpolicella 2013
Fasilo Gino has its roots in the family farm that Amadio Fasoli founded in 1925 in the lower Illasi valley of northeastern Italy. Amadio planted vines on the property and began to sell wine to local bars and taverns in nearby towns and cities. Today the estate is run by Amadi’s grandson, Matteo Fasoli, who practices organic and biodynamic viticulture on the family’s 20 hectares of vines.
The Alteo Amarone is the Fasilo family’s flagship wine which offers a perfect balance between the power and richness of traditional Amarone and an elegant softness on the palate. Only the best bunches are selected to go into the Alteo and these grapes are left to dry in small wooden boxes for six months to concentrate the flavours and sugars. They are then fermented in stainless steel tanks and matured in oak barrels for at least three years.
The result is a magnificent Amarone which opens with intense aromas of raisins, black pepper, coffee and vanilla. On the palate the texture is rich and soft with a full body, smooth tannins and ripe dark fruit flavours which culminate in a very long finish. This is an ideal wine to serve alongside a special occasion meal of fresh pasta accompanied by a rich tomato sauce or a hearty beef bourguignon or goulash stew.
Nicolis Amarone della Valpolicella 2013
Brothers Giancarlo and Giuseppe inherited the Nicolis estate from their father Angelo and currently work 40 hectares of vines planted on some of Valpolicella’s best sites. Following in the footsteps of their father, Angelo, the pair personally take care of every detail in the vineyard and winery to craft wines of incredible refinement and quality.
This impressive Amarone is made according to the traditional method whereby the grapes are left to dry out into raisins in well-ventilated rooms for 3 months. This reduces the water content and concentrates the aromas, flavours and sugars in the grapes. Fermentation and maceration then take place over the course of a month, following which the wine is aged in Slavonian oak barrels for 30 months before it is deemed ready for bottling.
An inky ruby hue and intense aromas of red cherry jam, ripe plums, dried fruit, leather and dark chocolate characterise the finished wine. Opulent and full-bodied on the palate, the soft tannins are complemented by bold dark berry, cocoa and sweet spice flavours along with a hint of balancing freshness. This magnificent bottle is ideal to drink now alongside hearty red meat dishes, although it can also be cellared for at least the next decade if not longer.
Torre d'Orti Amarone della Valpolicella 2016
Ideally drink now through to 2030.
Decant 1 hour.
Deep garnet colour with cherry red tinges, the nose delivers intense dried fruit, black cherry, wood, spice, and jam. The palate offers intense fruit, black cherry, with hints of spice, vanilla and chocolate. The full bodied wine has tannins that are silky and well integrated along with good acidity that helps to balance the wine perfectly. The finish is long and persistent and allows this fabulous wine to be enjoyed a little longer.
Would match perfectly with red meat, game, venison, spicy sausages, and aged cheeses.
Amarone is made by partially drying grapes naturally in the case of Cavalchina, this is carried out by placing the grapes on small wooden trays that are then placed in a wooden hut that provides the perfect drying conditions. The purpose of partially drying the grapes is that the juice is concentrated, as are the flavours and sugars within the grapes. The grapes are hand harvested to ensure that only the best fruit is used for the wines. Traditional fermentation is used and can last for up to 3 weeks . The wine is then matured in new French oak for 12 months prior to bottling.
The great combination of alcohol, tannin and acid provides a complex and wine that has superb drinkability yet is capable of ageing well for many years.