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Top 12 Amarone 2017

Italian wine expert Filippo Bartolotta gives his top twelve picks of Amarone from the 2017 vintage, noting five different styles of this classic from Valpolicella. 

Last week saw the Amarone Anteprima Opera Prima in Verona, a food & wine matching event proving the versatility of Amarone, its structure, important aging potential as well as its great versatility in pairing with haute cuisine. Here are the top picks from the tasting.

Classic & austere

Bolla Amarone della Valpolicella DOCG Classico Riserva Le Origini 2017:

Tar, prunes and roses. A beautiful clean and very complex Amarone with an intriguing gunflint nose, sage flowers, dry herbs and tobacco. On the palate there’s a brilliant display of minerality matching some wild blackberries and a very elegant juicy sapidity. An elegant act built to last. Drink Now-35 93/100.

Sartori Amarone della Valpolicella DOCG CLASSICO Rejus 2017

What a performance for this extremely elegant wine which starts with a reserved nose opening up to some bright raspberries, licorice, bay leaf and an elegant  floral character. On the palate it’s all about the black cherries a lovely balsamic action with a touch of oak spices. Smooth and round and yet vibrant. drink now-25 94/100

Bertani Amarone della Valpolicella DOCG Valpantena  2017:

Strawberries, tea tree oil, propolis and and a very clean floral touch. The nose is still not very expressive and so is the palate. This is an austere Amarone, build to last given its important but lean muscular structure like a marathon athlete. Some Mediterranean notes of myth and rosemary on the very refreshing and still to austere to drink finish. drink 3-40  95/100

Artisan & juicy

Ca La Bionda Amarone della Valpolicella DOCG Classico Ravazzol 2017

Gun flint, volcanic, floral and smokey. Bay leaf, tobacco, prunes and black berries. Then it’s the earthy character of the wine taking charge for a bit before releasing again some extremely fresh red-berries and a really mineral energy. Salty, reactive with so much juicy length and depth. A touch of black pepper, beeswax and goji berries create a wonderful kaleidoscopic finish. drink now-30 97/100

Novaia Amarone della Valpolicella Classico DOCG Corte Vaona 2017

Smoky, volcanic and pencil shavings. An austere to begin with nose which gently opens up to a great deal of very fresh red fruit, some extremely delicate violets and sour cherries and a tobacco finish. Amazing fruit. spectacular length and bright complex finish. 95/100 drinks now-25

Extractive & powerful

Secondo Marco Amarone della Valpolicella DOCG 2017

Menthol, chocolate, dark cherries and orange zest. An extractive palate with so much power, some sweet prunes, dry figs, orange peel and again a fernet complexity with sweet roots on the finish. The extremely extractive structure is counterbalanced by so much acidity and delicious salty bites: impossible not to love it. Drinks now-30  96/100

Corte Figaretto Amarone della Valpolicella DOCG Valpantena Brolo del Figaretto 2017

A big and extractive power house Amarone packed with very sweet blueberries and prunes but also releasing some red driven juice like pomegranate and strawberries. Great acidity and lovely minerality. An important structured sweet and earthy character with a lot of cherries under spirit. It needs some time to find its balance.  drinks now-20 92/100

Smooth & round

Pasqua Vigneti e Cantine Amarone della Valpolicella DOCG 2017

Pasqua Vigneti e Cantine. Bell peppers, earl grey tea, mulberries and vanilla. Sweet, smooth and round palate with a very well controlled alcoholic texture and a delightful chocolate & blueberry muffin and a touch of fresh mint finish. A modern and very expressive style Amarone. 93/100 drinks now-20

Zeni 1870 Amarone della Valpolicella DOCG Classico 2017

Red driven fruit nose which releases some mountain flowers, rosemary and sweet tobacco aromas. Cherries, incense and orange peel with a velvet light bodied palate. Some mediterranean herbs, like marjory and thyme add up freshness to this smooth and crunchy red. with a delightful sour cherry and vanilla aftertaste. 92/100 drink now-15 .

La Collina dei ciliegi Amarone della Valpolicella DOCG 2017

An expressive tobacco, leather and cherry driven clean wine with so much length, pulpy blueberries and cherries. Dark chocolate, blueberries and echinacea. A seductive wine with a sweet mouthful but also a good tannic grip. 90/100 drinks now-20.

Light & fruit-driven

Fattori Amarone della Valpolicella DOCG  Riserva 2017

Raspberries and blueberries with distinctive pine sap and sweet damsons notes. A crunchy and reactive medium bodied Amarone with a very pleasant floral style. Crunchy and smooth contrast with some basil and myrrh and rosemary flowers. Drinks now-25 91/100.

Massimago Amarone della Valpolicella DOCG 2017

Fresh, reactive with a good sapidity, some pulpy fresh plums, orange zest, cola, licorice stick and black pepper notes. The structure is lean but with more complexity then it seems at the beginning. Some oak spices, with good fruit extraction which brings juiciness and a pleasant finish. now-18  92/100


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