For a while now I have used Amarone as an example of a classic wine, often considered great, that I just didn’t care for. My wife and our friend Matt, both of whom love Amarone, have regarded this as a real flaw in my wine judgment. Well I changed my mind. At least, I tasted one Amarone that I loved.
First some details. Amarone is a wine from the Venetto region of north-eastern Italy. The grapes used and the area it is grown in are the same as for Valpolicella which is usually a food friendly easy drinking red. What is different is how the wine is made. The grapes are slowly dried for as much as three months before they are pressed. The result is a powerful, high alcohol wine with definite raisin flavor. My complaint has been that alcohol and raisin flavors can be too strong leaving little else to experience.
Well, as I now know, it doesn’t have to be that way. I attended the Vin Italy – New York tasting yesterday and tried the Amarone Riserva Cent’ anni Albert Trabucchi, 2004, from Trabuchi d’ Illasi. The alcohol was there, as was the raisin flavor. But it also had ripe fruit flavors like plum and even cherries. On top of that there was a nice amount acidity. It was still a big wine, but for me it was beautifully balanced. I loved it. I think I will be much more open to trying other Amarones to see if they too can be so good.
So what do I think is the takeaway on this? Your tastes can change. If you don’t try and re-try you can miss a wine that may become a favorite. So what will I use for an example now? Well I have never had a Pintotage that I thought much of…