Valpolicella produces some of Italy’s vinous treasures and fascinatingly, all the wines come from a blend of the same three grape varieties – Corvina, Molinara and Rondinella. Perhaps the wine most sought after here is Amarone made by semi-drying the ripe red grapes after they are picked. Either laid on shelves or hung to get that shrivel factor to concentrate the flavours and aromas plus take on some additional complexity. It also means that the grapes contain a higher proportion of sugars producing a higher alcohol, dry red wine when fermented.
This amarone shows classic rich plums and cherry fruit nuanced with some smoky cinnamon, chocolate and dried thyme. Full bodied, it still retains an elegant nature bolstered by some velvety tannins that gently fill your mouth. It needs some time in the glass to settle and get into its groove. The spicy chocolate finish lasts long into the conversation, this is a wine that you can take your time with now or a decade on.
Date: February 2018 Price: £22 (Laithwaites) Drink: 5-8 years