Monte Santoccio Amarone Classico Valpolicella 2016
As a devout lover of Napa cabernet, the first time I tasted an Amarone, I was in love. Great Amarone has the ability to make a new world palate weak in the knees. The main issue is Amarone can be really expensive, and there are not a plethora of opportunities on the value side. It takes approximately 23 lbs. of grapes to make 1 bottle of Amarone. Prior to pressing, the grapes are wine-dried in wicker baskets for up to 90 days. The grapes are nearly raisins prior to being pressed, so it takes a lot of work as well as produce to make the wines, and that’s what drives the cost up.
The greatest all-time producer of Amarone is Giuseppe Quintarelli. Quintarelli’s Amarones are as good as it gets; go search for them, you can’t even touch the wines right now for under $500 a bottle. His Valpolicella sells for well over $100. Quinterelli did pass away back in 2012, however, Nicola Ferrari is picking up where Quinterelli left off. Nicola was Quinterelli’s right hand man prior to his passing, he was like his shadow both in the vineyard as well as in the winery, paying close attention to the formula for making top quality Amarone. After Quinterelli’s passing, Nicola purchased a 3 hectare vineyard in the finest area within the Veneto, Fumane. The name of the winery is Monte Santoccio.
Monte Santoccio’s wines were reviewed by the London Telegraph, and they raved about the wines and labeled Nicola Quinterelli’s “Eloquent Successor”
"They are gorgeous. Real thinking wines – beautiful, intelligent artefacts, filled with the taste of sweet-sour amarena cherries, sap, dried fruit and a very gentle tinge of old wood...The wines are made by Nicola Ferrari, a young winemaker who spent 11 years working in the cellar alongside the legendary Giuseppe Quintarelli...Judging by the two wines I have tasted (see below), Nicola Ferrari is an eloquent successor to his master, but if he has benefited from learning techniques (such as long lees-ageing) at his elbow, he’s also making wines in his own style, not copycats."
If you know and appreciate Amarone, this is a VERY low price to pay for the quality that is in this bottle.
If you are unsure about Amarone or want to explore, as long as you appreciate full bodied reds, I have a hard time believing that you would not enjoy the wine. Beautiful fruit, silky complexion, and interlaced tannins. The wine rocks right out of the bottle. This wine definitely opens up even more with a good breathe.
Varietals: Corvina 40%, Corvinone 30%, Rondinella 25%, Molinara 5%
Aging: Ageing in tonneaux for 30 months
Tasting Notes: Clean, intense and complex aroma or blackberries, plum and cherries jam, balsamic notes and very long finish
Food Paring: Traditional dishes like risotto all’amarone, beef, game, horse meat, lamb, veal, rabbit, wildboar and chees like Parmiggiano Reggiano and Monte Veronese