When visiting VinItaly this year with my good friends who run Club Amarone, I got a chance to spend the weekend at long-time collaborator of Club Amarone: Villa Montelone run by sincerely hospitable Lucia Raimondi and located in the village of Gargagnago. She carries on a pension which is highly recommended (http://www.villamonteleone.com), should you be traveling to Veneto, the province of Italy where the beautiful city of Verona is situated. Needless to say, we tasted her wines and in particular, I enjoy her Amarone della Valpolicella. “Well of course you do”, you say. However, for many of the Venetian producers, my first drink of choice is not the Amarone, but the Valpolicella Superiore (Roccolo Grassi would be a decent option. I’ll write about that one at another occasion). Not to mention the Cabernet Sauvignon IGT of Marion…great wine. Stefano Campedelli of Marion was by the way the first encounter we had at VinItaly, and what an encounter! This guy is truly and seriously devoted to making outstanding wines. I simply think that Amarone sometimes tend to be too overwhelming, and at an ABV of 16 %+ they are occasionally difficult to pair with food. But of course, for a ripe piece of Parmigiano Reggiano, the mighty Amarone would be my weapon of choice.
The 2005 Villa Monteleone Amarone della Valpolicella is matured on French oak for 28 months before being tamed in bottle for another 18 months. Maturing a wine for a total of 46 months is certainly not good cash management, but man do you achieve a fine result. For the first time, it achieved Three Glasses (“Tre Bicchieri”) in the Vini d’Italia guide 2010. Congratulations.
At 15 % ABV, it’s certainly not packing punches by Amarone standards. Maybe it is even slightly atypical for this type of wine. Nevertheless, it is very elegant on the nose: chocolate, cherries, lavender and leather. Quite round and balanced on the palate. I’m not the expert here, but this is usually not your typical Amarone. For instance, there’s no raisiny sensation, a fact I surely welcome. Further, even though it is not that common in Venetian fine wines anymore, there are no signs of botrytis-affected grapes. I’d give this wine 90p, but I think it will evolve further with a couple of years in the cellar.