A Wine Lover’s Review Of Upscale Wine – An Italian Amarone Classico

We promised to pay a minimum of $50 a bottle for our upscale wines. This one comes in a bit cheaper, but by buying a half bottle, we saved enough money to make the next round come all that sooner. Frankly, I always thought of Amarone as an upscale wine. It comes from the same grapes as the low-priced Valpolicella, namely, Corvina, Rondinella, and Molinara. But the production process is quite different; the grapes are dried, traditionally on straw mats, enhancing their flavor and alcoholic content. Amarone is made only in the Veneto region of northeastern Italy. Masi is a major producer, whose ancestors acquired much of this land at the end of the Eighteenth Century. They have a beautiful web site. If you get a chance stop by Sant’ Ambrogio di Valpolicella about 120 kilometers (75 miles) west of Venice and its Twelfth Century Romanesque church featuring Fourteenth Century paintings. Its basement was once a Roman cellar in which you’ll see Eleventh Century frescoes. The companion wine is a Valpolicella, made by the first producer to commercialize Amarone, costing about one fourth the price, ounce per ounce.

OUR WINE REVIEW POLICY All wines that we taste and review were purchased at the full retail price.

Wine Reviewed Masi Costasera Amarone Bolla 2008 DOC 15 % alcohol about $18 (half bottle).

We can start by quoting the marketing materials “Tasting Note : Deep purple ruby colour; rich, ripe, plummy cherry aromas and flavours with hints of chocolate, spice and earth; full-bodied with a firm, long finish. Serving Suggestion : Roasted meats, game or strong cheeses.” And now for my review.

At the first sips this rich wine was very powerful, long, and chewy. The main dish was a beef chili that was made with spicy salsa. Now our Amar was dark and oaky, filled with plums and good acidity. The accompanying eggplant cooked in tomato, onion, and mushroom sauce imparted good substance to this drink, but its acidity became harsher at first. It was long. The side dish of brown rice placed dark cherries and chocolate into this long mix in my glass. Fruit juice candy extracted the acidity and tannins from this libation, but the dark cherries remained.

The second meal featured a barbecued chicken breast and leg. When paired with the white meat this drink was long with dark cherries, tobacco, good acidity, and round tannins. Things were quite the same when our wine met the chicken leg except that the drink’s acidity mounted. The side dish of green beans in tomato sauce with onions gave our Italian friend the pleasant taste of tobacco and dark chocolate. In the presence of fresh strawberries for dessert the Amarone was still long offering tobacco, good acidity, and a burnt taste.

The final meal focused on sliced slow cooked round steak. In response the wine had a strong tobacco taste. It was long and pleasantly sweet. The accompanying white potatoes rendered this liquid so long and multilayered. When paired with the accompanying sweet potatoes things worked about the same but I got some oak in my glass. Adding Yemini jalapeno pepper sauce to the meat thinned the wine. And not a drop was left of this half bottle.

Final verdict. I can’t help saying that I was somewhat disappointed. I might well buy another Amarone, but certainly not this one.

Levi Reiss authored or co-authored ten computer and Internet books, but prefers drinking fine wine. He teaches computers at an Ontario French-language community college. His global wine website www.theworldwidewine.com features a weekly review of $10 wines and a whole lot more. Visit his wine, nutrition, and health website www.wineinyourdiet.com.

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