We are on a quest to re-live the magic of enjoying the perfect Amarone with our Christmas dinner and we'd really appreciate some help. Some background...
Six years ago this month we were celebrating my wife's birthday at a local, special occasion restaurant and each ordered a glass of red wine with our dinner. My wife ordered a 2004 Zonin Amarone della Valpolicella. She took one sip and was amazed. She let me taste it and we were both smitten!
It was our first experience with a bold, deep red like that and we quickly made a note of the wine and vintage and set out to get a bottle to enjoy with our Christmas dinner. It was no longer available locally, but we were lucky enough to track it down online and had a bottle sent to us. It was the perfect accompaniment to our traditional Prime Rib roast and we enjoyed every sip!
The next Christmas we hoped to repeat the magic, but learned too late that we should have purchased more than one bottle the prior year (at $75 per bottle we were reluctant to do so, but in hindsight we could have avoided several years of disappointment if we had made the investment). The 2004 vintage was no longer available. Everyone had moved on to stocking the 2005. We decided to try that vintage for Christmas, and it simply was not the same magic.
So, we set out to find a worthy replacement. That was when we learned that our first encounter with the wine was a somewhat rare anomaly, in that it was unusual for a wine at that price point to be available by the glass. We couldn't find anyone else who had Amarones by the glass on their wine list, and we were reluctant to pay $75 ($100+ in a restaurant) for a full bottle of wine and be disappointed.
So we resorted to asking advice from our local wine merchants. The sales people were in a similar situation. Some had tried nice Barolos or Nebbiolos, but not many Amarones. So we began a habit of following their recommendations for big red wines (in the same price range) each year since, but we've not been satisfied. We need better advice!
So it finally dawned on me that I needed to enlist the help of this talented community. Undoubtedly, out there is someone amongst you who have a very good knowledge of Amarone and can recommend a winner for our Christmas table this year. Ideally it would cost around $75, but we could bump that up slightly if it meant getting close to the magic of that first experience.
We're looking forward to hearing your recommendations and we thank you in advance for your advice!
NEED AMARONE HELP TO AVOID CHRISTMAS DINNER WINE DISAPPOINTMENT
- Reply by dvogler, Dec 8, 2013.
This is of the pains of loving wine! Finding a wine that gives consistent joy, only to discover that the next vintage is not the same, or in some cases, not even close.
Amarone was my first true love. I started collecting them and cellaring them, but after overdoing it a few times, decided to have it only as a treat.
Because Amarone is a special purchase, I try to research the producer's vintage guide (many of them will rate their own vintages).
2004 was a good year, but I'm finding that 2006 also was. I live in Victoria (Canada) and am now seeing 2008 + on the shelves. I have the fortune of being able to buy some older ones, but as you say...it costs.
It's looking like 2009 is being rated well...perhaps grab several of these and sit on them.
I try to keep them at least eight years (from vintage date) before opening them.
There's plenty of info on the web about amarone. Do some research and take a list with you to the store. And always remember...there'll be good ones again!!!
- Reply by BobRawski, Dec 9, 2013.
Thank you for your prompt response and sage advice. We will plan to make the investment of cellaring bottles of the next good Amarone we find. Meanwhile, we were hoping to find something for this year. We will do some more research online as you suggest, and keep an eye out for 2006 and 2009 vintages. If you have any producers that you are particularly fond of, we'd love to hear your advice.
Thank you for your guidance.
- Reply by Gregory Dal Piaz, Dec 9, 2013.
Keep in mind that different producer will release their wines at different times. Current releases today span the vintages 2006 to 2010. I like the following producers who offer good quality at their respective price points.
Speri: Traditional wines, trades some of the plush quality of other producers for complexity and age very well.
Tedeschi Monte Olmi: Big, rich powerful and complete.
Masi Costasera: Their basic level wine, very plush and soft with early approachability
Bussola Amarone Classico: A modern styled wine, very rich, powerful, and fruit driven.
There are others I like but this is a good range of styles within your price point. Happy hunting!
- Reply by BobRawski, Dec 9, 2013.
Thanks GDP! I was hoping you'd share your expertise and recommendations. We will set out on our hunt :-)