It really is an A for Amarone!
I have been a bit slack with the first wine of #newwinethisweek. It has nothing to do with the massive alcohol content in January, or the sometimes eye-watering prices of the first wine… I’ve just been too bloody busy! But enough of my January woes, I managed to get myself a bottle of ‘A’ for Amarone eventually.
I was having a mooch around Costco today (very impressive wine range if you have a card!) and picked up a young Amarone for about £15… then I spotted a boxed wine, like you often get with grand marque Champagne, in the middle of the reds, with a familiar logo. It was the Masi logo, one of the greatest producers of Valpolicella. It was priced at £18.49. Wow. This is Costco; add the VAT and it came to £22.19. Still wow. We’ve seen from earlier comments that you get very little for under £20, so this looked like a real bargain (in the context of Amarone).
I have one small gripe. The unboxed bottle on the shelf underneath was from the 2009 vintage, when I got home I discovered the bottle in my box was from 2010; Amarone is a wine that rewards ageing and I was a bit miffed to miss out on 12 months of maturation… but I needn’t have worried so much (although the AOC did declare 2010 only a 4* rating compared the perfect 5* in 2009 – it’s fine, I’m over it).
Let’s get down to the wine itself, which is the Masi ‘Costasera’ Amarone Classico 2010 (Costco £22.19). Costasera the name of the vineyard from where the grapes are sourced; the slopes face the sunset and the Masi winemakers believe these west-facing slopes reflecting in Lake Garda to be the superior sites for growing Corvina, Rondinella and Molinara in the Valpolicella Classico region. The grapes are dried on bamboo mats for around 100 days in temperature and humidity- controlled- rooms, before being pressed. The wine is then aged for 24 months; 80% in huge Slavonian oak casks, 20% in small Allier and Slavonian oak barrels (40% new, 30% 1 year old, 30% 2 year old) and then aged for a further 4 months in bottle before release.
I decanted the wine 2 hours before drinking and the room was filled with the sweet notes of expensive, aged balsamic vinegar… did I really have to wait 2 months to drink it? When slurp time arrived the wine poured viscous and slowly into the waiting glass. The colour was opaque, with a bright crimson rim; the aromas were heady with dark fruit notes of damson, plum and black cherry, all underpinned with bitter chocolate, balsamic and even a hint of sweet butterscotch. The wine coats the mouth beautifully, the texture smooth and rich. The black fruits are reminiscent of a beautifully made damson and blackberry jam, deep and concentrated, the sweetness coming through at the end. There is a chocolate note supporting the fruit and that wonderful balsamic sweet & sour carrying through to a very decent length finish of ripe black cherries dipped in dark, bitter chocolate. 93 points (9/10 in #newwinethisweek currency)
If ‘A’ is anything to go by, 2015 is going to be a great year for #newwinethisweek!
To choose what will represent ‘B’ in the #newwinethisweek alphabet, have a look at the options and cast your vote: