Corte Majoli, DOC Amarone della ValpolicellaRegular price €37.00
The Veneto’s king of wines, Amarone is made from grapes that are partially dried before pressing, giving an immensely powerful, luscious red with decadent black cherry jam flavours and a long, mellow finish.
This is a powerful wine and needs strong flavours such as those of game, roasted red meats or mature cheeses to match its richness, although with a few crackers and fruit, or a slice of fruit cake, it makes a robust digestif too.
Amarone developed as the Veneto's winemakers looked for a way to increase the body, complexity and alcohol content of their (light, not always satisfying) Valpolicella wines. They began drying their grapes after harvest, to concentrate the crop.
The technique proved very successful, although initially it was used to produce sweeter styles of wine known today as Recioto della Valpolicella. In fact the early Amarones were seen as mistakes—Reciotos that had been left to ferment for too long; but eventually the new, drier style gained respect in its own right.
Amarone grapes are picked in whole bunches and kept in warm drying rooms where they stay on racks for a few months. When that process is complete, the grapes are pressed and the must is fermented to dryness, resulting in a powerful, rich, alcoholic (15-16% ABV) wine.
Ageing is for two years in either large botti or, increasingly, smaller Slavonian oak barriques. The Tezzas allow this wine to age for eighteen months in oak and twelve in bottle prior to release.
The Tezza family's 25-hectare estate is just outside the historic heart of Valpolicella in the sheltered microclimate of the Valpantena valley. Their cantina is an intriguing mix of modern and traditional, with ancient cement cisterns alongside gleaming steel vats and giant oak casks. Some of the vines are planted in the classic pergola method, where the grapes hang high, protected from both sun and humidity, while the rest have been converted to the much lower French guyot system, which is tantamount to heresy for old-fashioned winemakers. The three Tezza brothers began their winery in 1965, and now it is run by their three sons, Flavio, Vanio and Federico. Vanio says: "We are against the present trend of a dolcevalpolicella and amarone, which many winemakers seem to think the market wants, and we prefer to produce wines to our own principles, with plenty of tannin to age well, and drier." Don't miss their intense 2009 Valpolicella Superiore Ripasso, and the 2003 Amarone is worth splashing out on.The Guardian
|Supplier's website||Corte Majoli|
|Wine colour||Red wine|
|Appellation||Amarone della Valpolicella|
|Grape variety||70% Corvina Veronese, 20% Rondinella, 10% Corvinone|
|Certified organic?||yes, IT-BIO 016|