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Rizzardi 3 Cru Amarone Valpolicella 2013
The Guerrieri Rizzardi estate was founded in 1914 following a marriage between two local families, the Counts Guerrieri and the Counts Rizzardi, who were respected wine producers in the Veneto region. Over the years the family has sought to produce top quality wines which stay true to the region’s noble winemaking traditions. The estate is currently run by Giuseppe and Agostino Rizzardi who have sought to modernise their winemaking practices while honouring their ancient family connection to this land.
This sumptuous Amarone takes its name from the three Cru vineyards, Calcarole, Pojega & Rovereti, where the grapes are sourced for this wine. Calcarole is a steep 5 hectare vineyard located on a hill, while Pojega and Rovereti are planted on gentle slopes on clay soils. Following the harvest the grapes are carefully raisined in a well-ventilated room for three and a half months. They are then fermented slowly over the course of a month and matured in small oak barrels for 12 months and in large 25 hl barrels for a further 24 months.
This produces a magnificent Amarone that exudes rich dark berry and sweet spice aromas along with hints of toasty oak. The first sip reveals a generous full body, firm structure and luscious blackcurrant jam, dark chocolate, leather and licorice flavours which linger on the tongue.
Ca dei Frati Pietro dal Cero Amarone della Valpolicella 2013
The first mention of the Ca Dei Frati estate dates right back to 1782, although it wasn’t until 1939 that the modern winery started to take shape. Felice Dal Cero recognised the excellent winemaking potential of Lugana on the shores of Lake Garda and set about planting vineyards to make his dream a reality. Today the winery is run by Felice’s three grandchildren and is widely considered to be Lugana’s finest winery with around 200 hectares of vines.
This magnificent Amarone is named after Pietro, Felice’s son, who played a pivotal role in the story of the estate and the wider region, helping Lugana to receive official DOC status as an appellation in 1967. His namesake wine is crafted with top quality fruit from the estate’s Luxinum vineyard which sits below Monti Lessini. Once in the winery the grapes are dried according to tradition for 4 months to intensify and concentrate the flavours and sugars. They are then fermented and the young wine aged in oak barrels for 24 months followed by 12 months in steel tanks. The wine then undergoes another 24 months of ageing in the bottle before release.
This lengthy maturation process crafts a remarkably polished and graceful Amarone which is bursting with complex layers of dried fruits, ripe crushed berries and cherries, and cigar box spice and vanilla from the oak ageing. It is recommended to decant the wine a couple of hours before serving to reveal the full beauty of this complex and powerful Amarone.
Brunelli Amarone Campo Dei Titari Riserva 2015
The Brunelli family have lived amongst the gentle rolling hills of the Valpolicella wine region since at least the 18th century. For generations the family worked the land of a noble family from Verona, slowly purchasing parts of the estate over the years. Finally in 1936 they were able to achieve their dream of making their own wines under the Brunelli label.
These days the estate is looked after by Luigi and Luciana along with their son Alberto who have dedicated themselves to preserve the region’s little-known indigenous grape varieties and traditional winemaking techniques. Their flagship Amarone wine, the Campo del Titari, is a careful composition of local Corvina, Rondinella, and Oseleta varieties which the family makes only in the very best vintages in limited quantities.
This bold, characterful wine is made with carefully selected grapes which are harvested at optimal ripeness and then left to dry over the winter to intensify their flavours. The grapes are then slowly fermented and matured in large oak casks for 48 months to add a delicious spicy character. On the nose fragrant hints of smoky tobacco, cacao and vanilla gently mingle with dried fruit, brandied cherries and plum jam aromas. The first sip is incredibly smooth and well-rounded with a firm structure, balancing freshness and seductive ripe berry flavours. It is recommended to decant this wine at least two hours before you plan to serve it to reveal all of its delicate nuances and subtleties.
Tedeschi Capitel Monte Olmi Amarone della Valpolicella Riserva 2013
The Tedeschi family purchased their first vines in Valpolicella 1630 and over the intervening centuries they have become a benchmark producer of the region’s world-famous Amarone wines. The company that is named after the family was founded in 1824 by Nicolò Tedeschi, although it wasn’t until the 1960s that the estate really blossomed under the visionary leadership of Lorenzo Tedeschi. Lorenzo recognised the exceptional potential of the family vineyards and produced Valpolieclla’s first ever single-vineyard wine from their outstanding Monte Olmi vineyard.
Today the estate is run by Antonietta, Sabrina and Riccardo Tedeschi who are justifiably proud of their flagship wine, the Amarone Riserva. This powerful wine is a modern interpretation of Lorenzo’s original Monte Olmi single vineyard bottling. The fruit is sourced from this prime 2.5 hectare vineyard which is planted on red clay and limestone soils on terraces to ensure good drainage and exposure. The wine is made as a complex field blend which features Corvina, Corvinone, Rondinella, Oseleta, and other indigenous varieties.
As is traditional for Amarone, the grapes are left to dry out over the winter and are then slowly macerated and fermented over a 40-60 day period. The young wine is aged in oak casks for 4 years followed by another 12 months after bottling is complete. This lengthy winemaking process creates a rich, darkly-flavoured wine with seductive notes of dried fruits, plums, berries and winter spice from the oak. A great addition to the cellar for extended ageing or to drink now alongside hearty red meat dishes.
Stefano Accordini Acinatico Amarone della Valpolicella Classico 2016
Decanting time: 2 hours.
This Acinatico Amarone from one of the world most renowned estates, is a deep garnet red in color. The inviting warm, spicy bouquet, delivers a strong, complex aroma of dried fruit and emerging hints of vanilla.
Hailing from the Veneto region in northern Italy, the grapes (made primarily from Corvina), are harvested in the first week of September and air dried through traditional viticulture, which offer a tightly nuanced and restrained floral and aromatic taste absent from sugars.
This vintage benefits from at least two hours of aeration and is best served in a large glass to allow for the more subtle tones, like vanilla, the opportunity to expand. Gentle acidity heightens the discrete, crisp mouthfeel. Dryish to taste, this elegant vintage has soft, fine tannins, is immensely rich and broad, and possesses a subtle underlying core that benefits from its excellent structure, leading to a lingering, soft finish. The Stefano Accordini winery employs traditional methods of viticulture, offering some of the highest quality grapes from their low-yielding vines.
This Acinatico Amarone is still considered young and will keep well through 2024-2034 if stored properly. Serve with game, venison, grilled meats and aged cheeses to experience the sophistication this vintage lends.
Domini Veneti Vigneti di Jago Amarone della Valpolicella Classico 2015
This dark and handsome Amarone is made by Cantina Valpolicella Negrar which was founded in 1933. Initially formed by seven grape growing families the Cantina now has over 200 members and is a key player on the local wine scene. In fact, the first ever Amarone was bottled here in 1939 and the winery continues to produce benchmark examples using traditional techniques alongside cutting-edge technology and expertise.
The Domini Veneti label is only given to their finest wines like this example which is crafted from prime vineyards set on the Jago hills in the traditional heartland of Valpolicella. The principal ingredient is Corvina along with a smaller proportion of Corvinone and Rondinella as well as some other local varieties. The grapes are harvested by hand and are left to dry out on mats for up to 120 days to concentrate the sugars and flavours. They are then vinified at the end of the year and aged in French oak barrels for 24 months followed by another 12 months of ageing in the bottle.
The first thing you’ll notice is the inky deep red hue and enticing hints of vanilla, cigar box spice, tobacco and rich dried fruits. On the palate there are ample smooth tannins, a firm structure and a very long finish seasoned with intense dark berry and spiced notes.