Amarone della Valpolicella Classico is renowned as Italy's
king of red wines
Lovers of Italian wine undoubtedly know the popular light Valpolicella
that takes its name from the winemaking DOC district around Verona.
Producers in Valpolicella also have the opportunity to make a
better and intenser Valpolicella Classico and two wines from partially
dried grapes Recioto (sweet) and Amarone (dry).
Amarone della Valpolicella Classico is one of those special wines
that deserves super-premium qualification.
It's unique because of its winemaking technique called appasimento'.
The bunches of grapes are dried on straw mats in lofts or attics
for four months where they lose about thirty percent of their
original weight. This highly concentrates the sugars, the fruit
and the aromas.
The (late-picked) grapes used for Amarone are primarily Corvina
(for aroma and richness), Molinara (for balance and smoothness)
and Rondinella (for colour and tannin).
Only in February, after four months appassimento', the dried
grapes can be gently pressed and fermentation begins. 40 or maybe
50 days later, the wine will be placed in oak barrels for 4 years.
It will not be until 2005 before anyone can lay his hands on a
bottle of the 2000 vintage.
Luckily, the small but successful 1995 vintage of Speri Amarone
Classico, Monte Sant'Urbano is still commercially available.
Speri, the wine producer, selected only the ripest grapes from
his steep-sloped, well-exposed single vineyard Monte Sant'Urbano'.
The result is bags of berries, glossy texture and a weight just
right for drinking on its own or with game, red meat and cheese.
This particular Amarone by Speri is velvety, round and soft, well
balanced and full of character. It's a big and strong wine, big
structure, big colour too.
Exclamations left apart, your personal tasting notes might read
something like: Good rich nose. Ripe and rounded, showing
heaps of fine blackberry fruit and a hint of caramel. Excellent
power and extremely well balanced and plenty of length.'
This lush and rounded, full-bodied red is wildly available in
Malta and can be cellared for up to 15 years. But why resist?