Favorite Amarone? - Printable Version

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- Garbo - 09-11-2000 12:20 PM

Can anyone recommend a favorite amarone that should be available in stores now? Is there a particular year that's better, or one to be avoided? I've noticed in another posting that Masi gets thumbs up...any others?

- hotwine - 09-11-2000 05:31 PM

The Tommasi gets high marks, but I've not yet tried it; still too busy with their Pinot Grigio.

- chittychattykathy - 09-13-2000 01:14 AM

Ah, where to start...
Cesari ll Bosco, most likely be 93 or 94's in the stores, fairly easy to find and very good!!!

- Garbo - 09-13-2000 12:58 PM

Thanks for the suggestions. Our wine group is doing a tasting next month -- the maiden amarone voyage for most of us. I've been doing some reading and it seems anything younger than 10 will need to decant for quite a while before pouring, no?

- Botafogo - 09-26-2000 10:58 PM

The Official WINE EXPO Classification for Amarones (arrived at by getting shit faced tasting them at a BBQ in Jerry's Honor 'cause we missed his wake) is:

The God Kings who walk on water and front the band:

Dal Forno Romano

The Ike-ettes (or maybe the I-threes?) who provide tight harmony:

I Castei
Nicolas (especially the Ambrosan)

The Rock Steady Riddim Section:

Boscaini (look for the Cà di Loi bottling)
Remo Farina
Zenato (Sergio Zenato Riserva)

AND, if you like Amarone and also Barolo, check out Sforzato (wines made Amarone style from air dried Nebbiolo in the Valtellina)


- Garbo - 09-27-2000 05:06 PM

I've never had such an exciting homework assignment in all my life! I'll be dropping by to pick up some "entertainment"!

- winoweenie - 09-27-2000 05:41 PM

Botafogo you9 rascal, Glad you`ve finally made it to the board. I`ve kept the Wine Expo mystique alive here on the board but I don`t think too many members believe the description of you as the " Mad-man of Santa Monica." Any-where-so-ever Welcome. winoweenie

- Botafogo - 09-27-2000 06:43 PM

Gee, Vern, thanks so much. We have been just TOO busy to do much surfin of the forums lately but I got a special invitation from your host Jackie last night so I came to take a look. Glad to see there is much more activity these days.


PS: Have you ever considered breaking into the Brasilian market (with me as your rep, I am trying SO hard to figure out a way to live there!)?

- Garbo - 10-17-2000 12:27 PM

FYI, the results of our Amarone tasting....(drumroll, please):
We had nine bottles, with one duplicate. All agreed that each wine was good; there were none that people hated, but there were clear favorites, and the top choice "won" by a large majority. (Our group of 20 votes for our top three choices after a blind tasting. A complex scientific algorithm reveals the rankings, and then we unveil the little darlings.)

1. Monte Cristi 1993 $25
2. Sforzato Raccolta 1996 $35 (a Roberto wine! And not strictly an Amarone, but made in the Amarone style)
3. Zenato 1993 $45
4. Fabiano 1991 $40
5. Aldegheri Santambrogio 1993 $24
6. Viviani 1993 $42
7. Tommasi 1993 $29
8. Tommasi 1993 $41 (same wine as above, but with a bigger markup. Guess where we WON'T be shopping?)
9. Allegrini 1995 $38
Food was penne with braised lamb, lasagne with sausage, lasagne with butternut squash and caramelized onions, and an assortment of cheeses, sausage, etc.

We concluded that some of the less favorite wines would be better after some age, whereas the more favorite ones may have been designed to be drunk younger.

The Monte Cristi had a much different character than the rest; it was very silky and chewy with fantastic caramel/tobacco flavors and a very smooth finish. Alas, the person who toted it from Pasadena reported it to be the last bottle of the 93 that the store had...

- Botafogo - 10-17-2000 04:29 PM

That Sforzato is by Sandro Fay and is made from Nebbiolo grown in the Valtellina, north of Lake Como in Lombardia, that is air dried like Amarone.

I find your rankings VERY interesting as the more complex and intense wines finished last and the more fruit forward and "modern" examples led the pack. What sort of food was served? These are BIG wines and need some FAT to grind against: cheese, sausage, olive oil, nuts........

- Botafogo - 10-17-2000 04:46 PM

PS: What or who is Monte Cristo??? Do you have any other info from the label?


- Garbo - 10-17-2000 07:50 PM

Here is further info on the Monte Cristi. Maker is Michele Castellani.

"Michele Castellani's Amarone della Valpolicella Classico "Monte Cristi" 1993
Named as one of the year's top 100 wines in the Winter 1999 Annual Buying Guide of Wine and Spirits magazine. In that same issue it was named as the best Verona Red. It garnered a rating of 92. Wine and Spirits chose these 100 wines over 5,203 tasted in 1999. These wines "represent the best of their class and category". The tasting notes from Wine and Spirits: "Don't drive your Lincoln Navigator after even one glass of this wine. Its supercharged richness will plow right through a red light or stop sign. The new oak polish and full, blunt fruit make this seem more like a modern, overly generous table wine than an Amarone. It doesn't have the layers of flavor yet, but they should develop out of the Christmas cookie flavors and intoxicatingly lush fruit. A new style, and quite a beautiful one."

As you can see, we are philistine Californians whose tastebuds have been brainwashed into loving younger, more modern wines. (This one went particularly well with a yummy semi-soft cheese that had walnuts in it. See above post for food info.) It may very well be that the more complex wines would have been better off with some venison or a big ole Bistecca alla Fiorentina, but I think it has to do more with our tastebuds and the fact that they may not be quite at their peak yet. (The wines, I mean. Though one could make the argument that our tastebuds aren't at their peak yet, either.) If any of us had sprung for one of those fancy $125 bottles of older Amarone, we might have had a different P.O.V., but we are too cheap. Plus, who wants to share a bottle like that with nineteen other people?! (Also,this is a group tally, and several people chose some of those big wines as their favorites...)

The Monte Cristi breakdown is:
62% Corvina Veronese
20% Rondinella
5% Molinara
13% "local varieties known in pre-Roman times" (hmm...mystery grapes...)

At any rate, Roberto, if you are able to get it put us down for a case -- I'm sure there are folk in the group who would love to have some.

[This message has been edited by Garbo (edited 10-17-2000).]

- Botafogo - 10-18-2000 12:42 AM

>>The new oak polish and full, blunt fruit
make this seem more like a modern, overly generous table wine than an Amarone. It doesn't have the layers of flavor yet, but they should develop out ofthe Christmas cookie flavors and intoxicatingly lush fruit.<<

Get thee back Satan!!!! No wonder they are re-releasing The Exorcist! I am certain this wine was delicious. I am also certain few Italians would consider it to be "Amarone". The producer should accordingly label it as some fancy vino da tavola with a nome di fantasia and maybe even charge more but, please, that's not Amarone (which translates as "the big bitter one").

This is NOT a dis on your groups tastes but a plea for the importance of definitions. Roberto

- Garbo - 10-18-2000 12:40 PM

Somehow, I knew that was coming... ;-)
I suspected as much when it was so very different from the others...
I figured a satanic vintner was responsible...
I will pass the word amongst the troops...
Sadly, we have been rooked by an "Amatation"...
But look on the bright side: At least it's more fodder for the big rant!

- Botafogo - 10-18-2000 01:27 PM

I want to stress that this guy should continue to make this (he is in NO danger of eradicating REAL Amarone as it is a HUGE production zone) but he needs to get out of denial about CALLING this thing Amarone when it clearly is not.

What were the reactions to the Fabiano and Aldegheri wines (actual comments and tasting notes not rankings)???


And, did everyone dis the person who brought the Sfurzato???

- Garbo - 10-19-2000 12:47 PM

I only have our personal tasting notes, not everyone's. Actually, hubby and I both favored the Sforzato, Aldegheri, and Monte Cristi as our top three, but in different rankings.
No, Brooksie didn't get in trouble for bringing the Sforzato. We have come to expect as much from her; she's somewhat notorious for such subversive behavior (usually this involves bringing French wine to California tastings). Plus we all really liked the wine. The Fabiano was the last wine poured (traffic delayed arrival) so had less time than the others to open up. Likewise, the Aldegheri was opened later, whereas other people had decanted or opened the bottles earlier. Aldegheri was wine #7, and Fabiano was #9. As you can imagine, by nine glasses in our tasting notes get a little bit less precise. Here they are:

Semi-tannic, sweet peppery/squashy aroma (maybe prompted by the squash in one of the lasagnes?), lush fruit, smooth finish, complex but young, strong potential

big alcohol/musty vinegar/pepper/veggie on the nose, big bitter flavor, needs to open up more