Amarone is that rare Italian wine that most folks seem to know and ask about yet is a bit of a challenge for us to source. While there is plenty of Amarone on the market, there is also a wide diversity of styles, price points and quality levels that make it hard to find just the right one. After tasting several samples, we landed with this lovely version from the classic producer, Cesari which has been making world class Amarone since its inception in 1936. It has a wonderful, mysterious and sensual nose of dark chocolate, black plum, smoke and spice which all continue onto the medium bodied palate with a lush and silky texture. What is distinctive about this wine is its relative restraint. Even though it delivers all the flavors one looks for in Amarone, it does it in an understated way, with fresh as opposed to overly raisiny character. It is incredibly well balanced and finishes with fine grained, slightly dusty tannins.
To give you an idea of what goes into its production, here is the information on how the wine is made and aged: “After undergoing appassimento (drying) for 3-4 months, the grapes lose about 30-40% of their original weight. In January, the bunches are pressed and the must undergoes a slow fermentation with the skins, seeds, and stalks in stainless steel tanks at a controlled temperature for 20-30 days. Yeasts are carefully selected to resist the high alcohol content and the cold winter temperatures. The wine is racked off the lees before undergoing malolactic. It is then aged in 20% small French oak barrels & 80% large Slavonian oak barrels for 12 months. Following blending, the wine ages an additional 16-18 months in large Slavonian oak barrels, then 6-8 months in bottle.”