More than a few of you have inquired about finding a highly quality Amarone. Makes sense to me….in COLD out there! What’s better than the BIGGEST, FULLEST BODIED, MOST CONCENTRATED, AGE WORTHY RED wine in the world to WARM YOU UP! Ready for a hearty beef or venison stew at your winter cabin. Or with a cigar at your roaring fire pit. Or even with some blue vein cheese after dinner……or by itself! Problem! Be prepared to pay $100+ a bottle.
So I asked all of our Italian importers to submit samples. And finally, let me introduce you to Marchesi Fumanelli, one of the greatest traditional producers of the grand Amarone Classico, and who has been practicing viticulture for 28 consecutive generations from its Squarano estate in the heart of the Valpolicella hills since 1470. We found the beguiling charms of the 2013 Fumanelli Amarone delle Valpolicella DOC (Classico) irresistible and priced fairly at $78.95. No ratings.
So for the uninitiated, the grapes varieties here are usually unfamiliar; the typical cast is a blend dominated by Corvina and Corvinone (“large” Corvina), with a supporting cast of Molinara and Rondinella. To produce a single bottle of Valpolicella, a producer will use about 3 pounds of these grapes. However, to make Amarone, after the grapes are selected and before they are fermented, they are racked to dry (or shrivel) in sheds, which reduces the water content of the grapes. In fact, it takes about an average of about 24-26 pounds of dried grapes to make one bottle of Amarone. Obviously, this helps to explain the wonderfully intense spicy aromas, concentrated flavors, and full bodied structure of Amarone.
The 2013 Fumanelli is composed of 40+ year old, pergola trellised, hand selected 40% Corvina, 40% Corvinone, and 20% Rondinella. The grapes are dried for 4 months, then destemmed, and soft pressed prior to 25 day maceration in temperature controlled steel tanks with daily pump overs. Aging then takes place for 30 months in French oak tonneaux. And is aged in bottle until deemed ready for release. The alcohol is always high, but the 2013’s 15.5% is considered low for Amarone.
My notes: Still dark ruby and garnet, nearly opaque. Aromas of wild berries and intense dark ripe cherries with exotic spice potpourri including cinnamon, Chinese five spice, clove, pipe tobacco and vanilla. Flavors mirror the aromatics, but think soft baked pie filling. The structure is perfectly balanced, although like typical Amarone displays the expected gentle “warmth” from the elevated alcohol. Full-bodied, but with a soft elegance that caresses the palate, while firm tannins help guide the long tapered finish. Already almost 8 years old and ready to enjoy, this wine is just a baby, and has many years of evolution a head of it.
For more information about Marchesi Fumanelli click here.