Amarone is one of Italy’s most beloved wines. Something about its rich character, power, and, in the best cases, surprising finesse, speaks to wine lovers on a deeply personal level.
I recently attended an Amarone tasting and lunch co-hosted by the Wine Media Guild and Sandro Boscaini, president of Masi, one of the greatest producers of Amarone. It was held at New York’s Felidia restaurant, and involved a one-hour tasting of Amarones going back to the early 1970’s, followed by a lunch at which the wines were paired with Felidia’s stellar food...
If there was a single lesson that stands out for me, it’s that the range of styles in which Amarone is made is astounding, and that the age-worthiness of the best of them rivals that of the other great wines of Italy.
Here are my tasting notes for a few of the highlights:
Masi Amarone Classico "Costasera" 2005 – Though showing classic notes of coffee and gently raisinated fruit, the richness of this young red is offset by a wonderfully refreshing acidity. Dangerously drinkable.
Masi Amarone Classico "Mazzano" 1997 – This single-vineyard offering from the fabulous 1997 vintage is nothing short of beguiling: Mature, complex, concentrated aromas of exotic brown spices practically leap from the glass. The finish lasts for well over a minute.
Bertani Amarone Classico 1972 – Fully mature and perfectly structured, offering a deep well of black pepper, grilled green bell peppers, bitter chocolate, cardamom, and a touch of thyme, all of it wrapped up in a texture of pure velvet.