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The Amarone della Valpolicella DOCG classification accounts for about 25% of Valpolicella production. Amarone is produced from a similar blend of grapes though Molinara is not permitted. In this '3 Cru Amarone' the vintage mix is 39% Corvina, 30% Corvinone, 19% Rondinella, 7% Barbera & 5% Sangiovese, and the grapes are selected from Guerrieri Rizzardi's three recognised single vineyards - Calcarole, Rovereti and Pojega which is the vineyard whose grapes are also in my Valpolicella Ripasso. Calcarole is Guerrieri Rizzardi's number one Amarone but it was not produced in 2014, its grapes instead used to add weight and elegance to this wine.
Amarone is made from 'recioto' grapes, i.e. grapes that are dried pre-fermentation to increase their concentration and complexity. This wine is intense in more ways than one - in aromas, flavours, colour and tannins though the drying process also alters the tannins and acids so that the wine becomes very rich and balanced.
Of the grapes in this Amarone, Corvina brings elegance, aromas and acidity whilst Corvinone contributes colour, tannins and higher sugar levels. Rondinella adds floral notes to the aromas with Barbera bringing acidity, colour, body and fruit. Sangiovese was added in 2014 as it is a late ripening grape and 2014 was cool with a fair amount of rain; it adds mouth-watering acidity and helps balance the rich fruit with its tannins. This wine may need half an hour at room temperature to open up and reveal its ripe black cherry and blackberry fruit aromas & flavours. Also in evidence are more savoury flavours with warm spices from the oak. The tannins are softening as the wine ages in bottle. High alcohol is expected in Amarone due to the higher sugar content of the dried grapes but in this vintage it is below 15% making the wine pretty elegant. The acidity also helps counter the richness of the wine making sure it is not too heavy. Very smooth!
The producer suggests consuming this wine with "richly flavoured food like rib of beef, venison, pheasant. Cheeses such as mature Cimbro, Pecorino Vecchio and mature cheddar". It would work well with slightly sweet dishes, most other cheeses including Parmesan and Gorgonzola, cured meats, robust pasta dishes, Risotto all’amarone, dishes flavoured with balsamic vinegar, braised beef, lamb, strong-flavoured meats like wild boar, ox or veal cheek and oxtail, Wagyu beef etc
"Aromatic with ripe dark berried fruit alongside sweet spice leading to a palate that is full-bodied but not heavy. The fruit carries through with ripe dark berries, sweet raisin and subtle oak,. Well structured and maintaining good freshness; decant an hour before serving."
International Wine Challenge 2019
"Supple yet rich with dried black fruit and plum embracing a grainy tannic core."