December 27, 2007

2000 Tommasi Amarone Della Valpolicella Classico

Amarone, one of Italy's treasured wines that has gained increasing popularity over the years is known for it's powerful, raisiny flavor and high alcohol content. To produce an Amarone wine is definitely a lengthly labor of love that takes quite some time. After the grapes are picked they are laid out on a straw mat and dried, resulting in a raisining of the grapes and concentrated sugars. Due to the time spent producing this wine it usually carries a hefty pricetag, up there with good Brunello and Barolo. Legend has it Amarone was originally created as a mistake. The story goes that cellar master Adelino Lucchese forgot about some Recioto that he had left in a fermentation barrel. When one of the Cantina's founders, Gaetano dall'Ora, tasted the wine, the sugar had been completely fermented, resulting in a much drier wine. In the wake of their "eureka" moment, they called the wine "Amarone Extra" (amarone, "very bitter," from the Italian amaro or "bitter"). The wine might be a bit of an aquired taste for some, but to sip a great glass of Amarone is truly one of lifes pleasures.

Tommasi is a family winery founded in 1902 by Giacomo Tommasi. Located in Pedemonte, in the heart of the historic Valpolicella Classico region the estate is run by the 4th generation of family operation, 6 members working together, each with his well defined area of responsibility. This wine is composed of the Corvina, Rodinella and Molinara grapes, aged for 3 years in oak before undergoing another year of aging in the bottle. Amarone is particulary a good pairing with gamey meats, and if I was to enjoy this with food I would pick something like a Venison stew, or enjoy it by itself. This bottle is drinking nicely now but in general most Amarone's from good vintages will benefit from at least 10 years in the cellar. I decanted this wine 2 hours before drinking.

Tasting Notes:
Deep garnet with a slight brown tint at the rim, the nose is a classic core of raisin with surrounding aromas of dried cherry, fig, some raspberry and shoe polish. In the mouth there are layers of flavor combining plum, cherry, tar, heavy raisin and a bit of old leather. Opens up nicely after decanting. Not the benchmark for Amarone but a good wine nonetheless.

Alcohol: 15%

Score: 89

Price: $65

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