Understanding Amarone

Exploring Italy’s misunderstood masterpiece.

VA greets the nose along with rich aromas of  dried strawberry, raspberry and cherry backed up with gentle soil tones, a little fig, and underlying violet and white pepper tones A touch of sweetness on entry is quickly washed away by huge, refreshing acids in the mouth.  While moderately tannic, the acids lend great clarity and incredible vibrancy to the palate. turning smooth and rich on the midpalate with dried cherry and date flavors that pick up some earthy spice on the long finish which also shows some spicy wood notes. This is deceptively easy to drink, and a refreshing change of pace for Amarone. 92pts
High toned stemmy herbal notes  greet the nose followed by a little black pepper, some grilled meats, fresh plum, sweet tobacco, and drying hay aromas. Downright velvety on entry, lush with ripeness underpinned with some fine grained tannins. The dark fruit is a bit blueberry toned at first then shows flashes of currants and dried cherries in alcohol. there‘s great depth with a real flush of minerality on the finish along with perfumed macerated herbal notes adding additional complexity. This is seamless, elegant and refined until the long finish when the tannins and minerality wallop the palate. Already impressively attractive this should only improve with additional time in bottle. 94pts
Produced seven times since 83, three thousand bottles,
Dark, leafy edged black cherry fruit, and grilled meats dominate the nose which turns lightly spicy with cedary wood, handfuls of dried leaves and earth, black tea, and a little pencil lead with air. A bit low on the palate, this is soft and seamless with roasted and pruny fruit that none the less feels fresh on the palate, though with the truffliness that comes from surmaturite. Fairly firm and tannic, though the tannins are very well covered with black cherry fruit on the palate. The fruit gains some detail in the mouth, very well grounded with spicy mineral notes and exotic spice notes which lead to a finish that absolutely crushes the palate with tannin. This is a monster. Not sure what will happen with this wine. The prognosis is good but so outside my range of experience that one has to be conservative when thoughts turn to its future. 92pts
Cinnamon, and a bit of stemmy spice emerges from the tight nose that reveals a bit of meaty fruit with subtle black spice and some sweet laurel tones,. Blocky, full and somewhat indistinct in the mouth, this is rather medium bodied, tight, and not revealing much depth today. one can still see where this is going with attractive sliced cherry fruit laid over a touch of spice and some attractive mineral tones. what is striking is the texture, refined, silky, and rich but with tannins well covered by the fruit right through the autumnal finish, I can see being disappointed by this if you drink it today, It's frankly not ready, very aromatic on the finish, high toned with some VA that really adds lift. Subtle and long it promises great things for the future. 90pts
Here we have a wine just hitting its stride and full of aromatic tea, dried soil, dried flowers, a bit of fungi, and an underlying sweetness to the emerging notes of dried meat, licorice and cooked fennel. While the nose gives the impression of something older, this is still fresh and tight on entry, with real focus, and very elegant with attractive freshness to the fruit. Very much in the house style with dried fruit tones cast over a bed of fresh cherry fruit. There's plenty of emerging tannin here and underlying minerality, inner mouth umami notes emerge on the midpalate then the fruit tries to explode on the finish which is long and shows complexity younger versions lack. Very acid driven on the finale, with air the nose gains more soil driven components, and complex dried herb and incipient tobacco notes. Raspberry fruit starts to pop on the midpalate, and the finish gains additional layers of flavor. This could probably evolve over the course of day giving a fascinating drinking experience, and remains a good candidate for an additional decade or two of cellaring. 94pts
A fresher, more immediate style of Amarone produced since 2000
Spicy on the nose, with a lovely mix of African and Provençal spices. Almost curry like aromas are layered under big black cherry and wild berry fruit. Soft on entry with nice acids, and minor if firm tannins, this is round and creamy, with lots of bitter cherry wild berry fruit that shows good length. Round and generous if not that large scaled, this finishes with moderate length. I really see a similarity with Valpolicella here, a little jammy black fruit on entry, not terribly complex but interesting with nice spice and mineral accents on the finish which does show a bit of wood tannin. 88pts

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Top 10 Amarone tasted 11/13

Tommaso Bussola Amarone Vigneto Alto (2007)
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Tommaso Bussola Amarone Tb (2007)
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Speri Amarone (2009)
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Tedeschi 'Amarone' Classico (2008)
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Amarone Della Valpolicella Classico DOC 6 Flaschen In Original-Holzkiste Bertani Grezzana Venetien (2001)
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Tommaso Bussola Amarone Della Valpolicella Classico Vigneto Alto Tb (2007)
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Masi Vaio Amaron (2007)
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Tommasi Amarone Ca Florian (2007)
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Le Ragose Amarone (2006)
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Tedeschi Amarone Della Valpolicella Classico (2009)
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Mentioned in this article


  • Where could I find some of these Amarone in Madrid?

    Feb 05, 2014 at 4:48 AM

  • Snooth User: Gregory Dal Piaz
    Hand of Snooth Voice of Snooth
    89065 197,825

    It may be a challenge but places like

    16 Calle Jose Ortega y Gasset, Madrid 28006

    Bodega Santa ecilia
    74 Blasco Garay, Primera planta, Madrid 28015


    Enoteca barlo
    211 Calle del Principe de Vergara, Madrid 28002

    Are all good places to start!

    Feb 05, 2014 at 2:37 PM

  • Snooth User: Barrique
    192331 1

    This is great article and well written, which is very informative. Thanks!

    Feb 05, 2014 at 4:52 PM

  • Snooth User: zinfandel1
    Hand of Snooth
    154660 994

    Excellent Article. Great information. I learned a lot.

    Feb 06, 2014 at 12:28 PM

  • The article is really good. But the taste is subject to this critic: to compare the different Amarone yuo have to taste bottles of the same age, for example there is non mention of Allegrini Amarone classico 2007 while this havest in considered for other brands. I've choosen this brand because it has usually a great quality/price rate (in Italy). The comparison, e.g., between Amarone Allegrini 2008 and Amarone Masi 2001, putting them in the same classification, in my thought is uncorrect

    Feb 07, 2014 at 10:36 AM

  • Makes one wonder if other varietals like merlot or zin could be dried out like the amarone process to see what happens in intensity. It's probably been done somewhere

    Feb 13, 2014 at 5:29 PM

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