Several years ago–perhaps even a decade–I had occasion to join colleagues and clients at a high-end working dinner in Manhattan (or Boston?) in discussion of potential collaboration. No longer can I remember on what fare we dined, or how I enjoyed the meal, but I can remember with stark clarity the two wines that we enjoyed. One was Bogle, and the first time I’d been exposed to that winemaker, and the featured twin was an Amarone–also a first for me. The Amarone was remarkable and a grape that I set out to find nearly a month ago, off and on, with no tangible outcome.
Wine stores here in town didn’t seem to carry Amarone, and it hadn’t appeared on any of the online sites we frequent. And then, unexpectedly, we stumbled across this intensely flavored red at a high-end grocery store in the city and absolutely snapped it up–unsure of what to expect in the 2010 Tezza Corte Majoli Amarone della Valpolicella. It was first sampled together with home made sliders that were so large they strained toward “burger” classification in their size and substance. Topped with crispy dill pickles and just the right amount of mustard, the sliders were a perfect way to kick off a Memorial Day of grilled treats and a perfect companion for the Amarone.
It was sweet, it was deep, it was ridiculously purple, and its berry scent swelled from the glass to greet your nose. The 2010 vintage from Corte Majoli had a long finish and immediately made me wish we had additional bottles to savor. As I now research, Amarone della Valpolicella is made from dried grapes in the Veneto region of northeastern Italy and is one of the region’s most recognized and prestigious reds. It results from the efforts of Veneto winemakers who sought out ways “to increase the body, complexity, and alcohol content of their wines” by concentrating the natural sugars and aromatics in Valpolicella wines.
These grapes are picked in whole bunches and kept in drying rooms (via the “appassimento” process) for 3 to 12 weeks until they are gently pressed and the “must” is fermented to dry. Their high sugar content translates to a stronger wine (15% to 16% alcohol) after fermentation, one that is barrel-aged for a minimum of two years prior to commercial release.
Our 2010 Amarone della Valpolicella from Tezza Corte Majoli was remarkable upon its debut and again the following evening when we polished it off with grilled steaks, blue cheese salads (yes a staple on our table), and some miscellaneous crispy crowns, onion rings, and the like. As I contemplate good vino options for an upcoming weekend with friends at a lake getaway, the 2010 Tezza Corte Majoli Amarone della Valpolicella makes a compelling case for inclusion. The only tragedy one encounters with this rich red is when it’s gone.
Note: Special acknowledgment to Wine Searcher for assistance on the profile and process associated with the amarone style.