A for Amarone - one of the great wines of the world

Posted by Joelle Thomson on

Corvina, Rondinella and Molinara may sound like the names of characters from an Italian or Greek tragedy but they are the names of three grapes, which are the key ingredients in one of the world's great red wines, Amarone della Valpolicella. 

The word Amarone translates to something along the lines of 'black bitter' and Valpolicella to 'the valley of many cellars', which could easily apply to most parts of Italy, but this wine comes from the north east region of Veneto. There are many different wines bottled with the label Valpolicella and they range from light bodied reds with hints of a fruity taste right up to the dense, full bodied, incredibly age worthy Amarones, the best of which come into their own usually with about 15 to 20 years of ageing. Fortunately, modern styles such as the new Cesari Amarone we have in store, do not need to be aged for quite so long in order to be enjoyed and loved. So, what is Amarone and Valpolicella?

Valpolicella is a valley in the Veneto region and the wines from here bear its regional name. They are typically a blend and historically that blend was Corvina (and more rare Corvinone) along with the less highly regarded Rondinella and Molinara grapes, the latter two renowned by their high volume and profitability while Corvina is known and prized for its high quality. 

Modern blends are changing a little, when possible, in favour of Corvina and this is certainly true at the Cesari winery in the Veneto, where some experimental 100% varietal dry reds are being made from Corvina. This family owned winery is also using French oak barriques in its production as well as the traditional large Slovenian oak cuves - large casks. The combination is a deliciously range of heady but balanced wines which successfully straddle both traditional and modern wine styles.

Amarone is the top of the Valpolicella tree and made in the smallest volumes. Approximately one third of the grapes in Amarone are picked later, all by hand, and dried for about three months in airy rooms on racks where drying conditions are relatively stable. These dried grapes are then added to the ferment tanks or cuves of the original wine and refermented. This raises the alcohol level slightly and increases the depth of colour and flavour intensely. The result, at its best, is a wine like this one below, which is new in store and drop dead divine in taste.

Drop dead delish red

If you love soft reds with bold flavours and great structure that taste like you've gone to heaven, try this... 

2017 Cesari Amarone DOCG RRP $98.99

Mouthwatering and velvet smooth. The Cesari family puts its best foot forward with this opulent, dark fruity and complex Amarone. Two fermentations see the second with dried grapes which add depth, weight and dark flavours to the wine. French oak plays a judicious role in the wines of Cesari, alongside traditional large Slovenian oak. The result is a traditional wine with a modern twist. This wine is made from 75% Corvina, 20% Rondinella and 5% Molinara - the three traditional core ingredients of Amarone.

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