See what our judges thought about Amarone in this panel tasting from the May 2017 issue of Decanter magazine...
Top Amarone – the scores:
166 wines tasted
Exceptional – 0
Outstanding – 2
Highly Recommended – 25
Recommended – 82
Commended – 46
Fair – 11
Poor – 0
Faulty – 0
Andrea Briccarello, Michael Garner & Susan Hulme MW
Quality, typicity and vintage variation
Our tasters were cheeringly upbeat after tasting their way through 166 Amarones – by definition a high-alcohol and robust style.
‘There were some excellent wines here, and the tasting was surprisingly easy to enjoy, with well-tamed alcohol and good balance in most of the wines,’ said Andrea Briccarello. ‘The quality was there, and there was typicity.’
With more than 65% of wines Recommended and above, this was a fine tasting that emphasised vintage variation and importance of producer name.
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The top Amarone della Valpolicella wines of the tasting:
Susan Hulme MW agreed that producer name is vital – pointing out that this drives pricing more than whether or not a wine is classico. ‘Amarone is about winemaking as much as anything else. Decisions around drying the grapes, length of appassimento, and time fermenting on skins make dramatic differences to style and quality.’
The top wines have amazing ageing potential, said Garner, but in general he wouldn’t advise long-term cellaring. ‘One of the great things about Amarone is its approachability. There are a few long-distance runners, but they’re more about palate roundness, ripe softness and richness. Drink them within 10 years of the vintage.’
Enjoy these wines at the end of a meal, said our tasters, or with Oriental food, where the residual sugar will contrast with and even magnify the spice.