Tuesday, November 9, 2010



DOC This rich Amarone gushes with ripe cherry and plum fruit with notes of vanilla oak and toast. Dry and round with ripe tannins, this mouthfilling wine would pair well with grilled lamb, duck, veal, filet mignon or stuffed pasta dishes.

Amarone della Valpolicella, usually known as Amarone, is a typically rich Italian dry red winemade from the partially dried grapes of the Corvina (40.0% – 70.0%), Rondinella (20.0% – 40.0%) and Molinara (5.0% – 25.0%) varieties. The wine was awarded Denominazione di Origine Controllata (DOC) status in December 1990. On 4 December 2009, Amarone and Recioto della Valpolicella were promoted to the status of Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita(DOCG). Amarone is one of Italy's wine treasures that is loved by wine drinkers looking for ripe fruit, power, roundness and a sense of adventure in their red wine. Amarone is produced in the region of Veneto by estates that make Valpolicella, one of the most popular wines of this area in Northeastern Italy. The same grapes, primarily Corvina (usually the leading component in the blend) along with Rondinella and Molinara, are used to produce Amarone. But the difference between the two wines is usually striking; where Valpolicella is a medium-weight wine meant for consumption with lighter fare with in its first 3-5 years, Amarone is a much more robust wine that is perfect with game birds or other such sturdy fare over the course of 7 to 15 years.
 Allegrini Amarone is produced around ten miles east of beautiful Lake Garda in the Valpolicella classico region. The most distinctive character of Valpolicella wines are their very high alcoholic content (up to 16%) with the very best producers, Allegrini, Quintarelli, Tedeschi and Dal Forno successfully managing to create structurally excellent wines where the alcohol level does not stymie quality and overtake flavour. 

Allegrini Amarone Classico 2001 -
Very dark ruby red in the glass quickly giving up rich aromas of chocolate cherries with some dried fruit and plum action. The palate was mouth pucker tannic, full bodied and fat but with plenty of fruity cherries on the mid palate. Lingering finish holding its alcohol well.

All of Allegrini's wines are produced from estate-grown fruit; there is no négociant aspect to this family business. They tend over 70 hectares of vineyard, in the communes of Fumane, Sant' Ambrogio and San Pietro, all situated within the Valpolicella Classico DOC. To this day the La Grola vineyard remains the source of Allegrini's greatest wines; it is a vineyard of mixed terroir, with volcanic soils at its foot, extending up the slope. This is the source of La Grola, principally a blend of Corvina and Rondinella but also including Syrah and Sangiovese, subsequently aged in French oak; this is an excellent yet affordable example of what can be done with these varieties. At the top of La Grola the soil is predominantly calcareous, and here Corvina is cultivated in isolation, this fruit being the source of La Poja. This is one of Valpolicella's most profound wines, which in some of the few vintages I have tasted has been very impressive indeed. Allegrini's other famous vineyard is Palazzo della Torre, a clay site which is the source of the wine of the same name. Here Corvina, Rondinella and Sangiovese come together, in part using a ripasso method for a portion of the harvest; 70% of the fruit is fermented in the normal fashion, but the remainder is dried until December, and then the wine is blended with the dried fruit for a second fermentation.
The family own an impressive array of other vineyards, but it is the two above that are of most interest. Having acknowledged that, the wines from these other vineyards are certainly worthy of our attention. Perhaps the most notable wine, one that can certainly not go unmentioned, is Allegrini's Amarone, frequently vying for position as top wine of the vintage. This wine, a unique style which - surprisingly - dates back to only the mid-20th Century, is a blend produced using Corvina, Rondinella and Molinara grapes which are dried for three to four months.

Allegrini winery, under the stewardship of sixth generation Marilisa Allegrini, produces some of Italy's, if not the world's, finest wines. Their commitment to the wines of Valpolicella shows a passion for elegance and a commitment to a long tradition of true yet enlightened wine making.

Marilisa e Franco Allegrini con la nipote Silvia.

Silvia Allegrini shows us her Amarone.

I like to call the Palazzo della Torre, 
«The Baby Amarone»

Winemaker's notes:
La Grola was bought by Allegrini in 1979. It is situated at 310m above sea level. The vineyard covers 30 hectares of southeast facing, well drained calcareous, stony soils with vines planted from 1979-1992. The vines are double guyot trained with 4200 vines/ha and an average age of 22 years. Yields are 56 hl/ha.

As the vines are double guyot trained (rather than the traditional Pergola), there was no need for the ripasso technique to be used. The grapes were de-stemmed and crushed, after which fermentation took place between at 20-28°C. Maceration lasted for 9 days during which pumping over took place daily. Malolactic fermentation took place in December. The wine was then racked into oak where it matured for 16 months before spending a further 2 months in tank before bottling. The wine was then matured in bottle for 11 months before release.

Bright ruby in colour with fresh, ripe cherry perfumes and a touch of redcurrant and raspberry. On the palate it is fine, with bright, lively fruit with good intensity, summer berries characters offset by a hint of liquorice from the Syrah and a bitter almond twist characteristic of the region. Long and elegant on the finish.

Valpolicella Allegrini is a happy wine. It’s warm, soft, gentle. Fruited. There’s cherry and chocolate and a smidge of coffee at the end. 

Il s'agit d'un beau vin de vieux style italien. Lisse, les tannins doux, un beau nez, des notes basses, bonne longueur, de l'équilibre et une finale complexe. Je l'ai aimé. 

Le Allegrini Amarone della Valpolicella Classico est le meilleur jeune millésime que j'ai jamais goûté de ce vin. Le 2001 est un Amarone magnifiquement équilibré avec une grande intensité dans ses fruits noirs et de la structure d'accompagnement pour le soutenir de nombreuses années en cave. Indices de fumée, de goudron, de réglisse et d'encens s'attardent à la finition bien serré. La fraîcheur, la clarté et le dynamisme sont de première classe. C'est un amarone exquis de Allegrini.

Ici, je suis avec Marilisa Allegrini à Montréal dans les bureaux de son agent pour le Canada.