Amarone della Valpolicella ranks among the best of Italian red wines, and it’s a real point of pride for our viticulture and enology. The highest quality bottles of this (in some ways “extreme”) wine are appreciated the world over. The Classic Valpolicella area is located north of Verona (Veneto), in a hilly land near Lake Garda, where it forms a series of valleys that spread out like the five fingers of a hand. The region is further divided into the sub-areas of Sant’Ambrogio, San Pietro in Cariano, Fumane, Negrar and Marano. The vineyards are mostly cultivated using the traditional “Pergola Veronese” method, but many growers have introduced innovations in the vineyard and in the winery both.
Small curiosity: the name “Valpolicella” is Ancient Greek for “land of many fruits”.
And it’s because of such excellent fruit that we’re led to post about this intense and elegant Amarone della Valpolicella DOC Classico 2008 Bertani Winery. This great red Northern Italian is born from Corvina 80%, Rondinella 20% grown on the hills of Novare Estate, in Negrar, in the heart of Valpolicella Classica. The wine was produced for the first time in 1958. The Guyot-grown vines are cultivated in mixed terrain and different soils: clay and limestone, rich in iron, manganese and basalt.
How is this Amarone produced then?
The manual harvesting of the grapes takes place during the second week of September. After the grapes are carefully selected, they are transported to drying rooms and arranged in a single layer on racks of bamboo. The grapes are then left to dry for about 4 months, resulting in a higher concentration of grape fruit and sugar. Once dried, the grapes lose about 40% of their initial weight.
The 2008 vintage Amarone Classico Bertani is elegant: a ruby red color and nuances of garnet, it delights the senses with its aromas of ripe red fruit (such as cherry, morello and berries), while mingling with balsamic notes of licorice , earth and tobacco. The taste gives a very intense and concentrated drinkability, with freshness and fine tannins, great balance and a pleasant final sensation of blueberries. It’s definitely a very long-lived red wine that could be drunk with satisfaction even 20 years after bottling. The producers call it a wine with a classic, timeless style.
Tips for matching: polenta with goulash and paprika, seasoned cheese, or, if you prefer, it’s an extraordinary red wine to drink on its own (without food) in front of the fireplace.
Bertani estate now owns more than 200 hectares of vineyards in the most suitable areas for the cultivation of Venetian grapes.
More technical details: This Amarone Classico, after the maceration step, undertakes a slow fermentation in concrete tanks for about 30 days. It is then aged in Slavonian 15 gallon oak barrels for about six years, followed by aging in the bottle for at least 12 months before release.
DOC Wine in Italy: controlled designation of origin.
My rating: 92/100; retail price: € 75 – $ 80
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