Capitel della Crosara, Monopolio Montresor, DOC Amarone della Valpolicella Classico, Veneto, Italy, 2009
Recioto Amarone della Valipolicela
Amarone della Valpolicella, strictly Recioto Amarone della Valipolicela (as it is made from dried grapes) was elevated to DOCG beginning with the 2010 vintage. Permitted varieties are corvina, corvinone, rondinella and molinara. Grapes are normally dried for up to 4 months. Fermentation is to dry, hence the slow year-long fermentation of the semi-raisined grapes, resulting in up to 17% abv. Minimum alcohol is 14% abv, and some create a more table friendly version at this level. Ageing is for a minimum of 24 months, but most age for considerably longer.
This wine: a blend of corvina and rondinella, grapes left to desiccate on wooden racks for 4 months. Traditional vinification with de-stemming and maceration on the skins. A long fermentation of 1 year in 225 l French barriques, then into botti (large wooden casks of nominally 10-150 hl capacity) for about 3 years, and then matured in bottle before release; natural cork closure, 15.5% abv, Ann et Vin, £40 (01/16)
Consumer tasting note: a sound but not outstanding example of an amarone, with a meaty nose and a toasty savoury character, which eventually subsides to reveal dried berries, glace and black cherries, low-key woodiness and hazelnut; full-bodied with high alcohol, the slight dominance of alcohol is soon solved with food, with a palate of dried cherry, very ripe black cherry, with a cedary-woody undertone with nutty hints. Finishes long with a characteristic bitterness on the end. Decant for 45 minutes.
WSET style tasting note
Appearance: clear and bright, medium intensity garnet, showing tears.
Nose: clean, medium (+) intensity, fully developed, with aromas as they come, of warm raw steak, toasty, savoury, dried cranberry, bees-wax, touch of slightly high-toned glace cherry edged with sweet oaky nuances, warm leaf humus, low-key black cherry(ish) hints, hint of tar, dried red cherry, hazelnut. On day 2, there is a whiff of black liquorice on the end.
Palate: dry, medium (+) acidity, ripe medium tannins, high alcohol, full body, medium (+) intensity, a smooth texture with a sense of sweetness in mid-palate, with flavours of dried red cherry, over-ripe black cherry, raisin, a sweet woody cedary undertone, nutty hints. A long length, with a clean waxy dried berry finish, with a bitterness on the end.
Quality: very good, alcohol sticks out a bit from the otherwise balancing ripe tannins and acidity, but this is merely a call for food; good intensity and concentration, showing a fully developed moderately complex profile, with evidence of time in wood and bottle, respectively toast, sweet oak, and a nutty oxidised nuance; and meaty and dried fruits, with just a touch of VA on the nose; follows into a just long length.
Drinking readiness/ageing potential: drink now unsuited to further ageing, but will keep for say 1-3 years – a sound structure, without outstanding characteristics, still, a long length, but it is pretty much fully developed, and is drinking well now, but has nowhere to go.