"This glorious Amarone made with Corvina grapes was partially fermented on the skins for 45 days before being allowed to finish the fermentation in French oak barrels. The aroma has notes of raisins, cherries and toasted oak. The wine has flavors of tobacco and fig, and goes well with game and ripe cheese. Hannibal of Silence of the Lambs fame, of course, had his with fava beans. In the movie version, they had him drinking the more pedestrian Chianti wine type. Try it with stews but because of its richness, it also goes well with cheeses, salads and antipasti. It is one of the great wines to use with light game such as wild boar, venison, pork, and antelope because despite its rich fruity flavor it has the right qualities to cut through and clean the taste of game."
"While some styles of Amarone can be very bitter (that's where the name comes from), newer styles like ours are more fruity. Our Amarone has soft tannins and alcohol of around 14%."
Let’s take a look at the articles 1,2 3 and 7 of Italian laws governing the production of wines named Amarone:
The controlled appellation of origin “Amarone della Valpolicella” already registered as DOC with the DPR 21st August 1968, is reserved to wines meeting the requirements of the following production regulations for the types of wine: “Amarone della Valpolicella” also with specifications “Classico”, “Valpantena” and “Riserva”.
Art.2 - Amarone Grape Varietals
Wines with appellation of origin controlled and guaranteed “Amarone della Valpolicella” must be obtained by a blend of grapes in the following percentages:
- Corvina Veronese (Cruina or Corvina) between 45% and 95%. It is nevertheless allowed a percentage of Corvinone up to 50% in substitution to a similar percentage of Corvina.
- Rondinella between 5% and 30%.
Art. 3 – Amarone Production Territory *
Production area of wines with controlled and guaranteed denomination “Amarone della Valpolicella” includes all or part of the territory of the municipality of: Marano, Fumane, Negrar, S. Ambrogio, S. Pietro in Cariano, Dolce, Verona, San Martino Buon Albergo, Lavagno, Mezzane, Tregnago, Illasi, Colognola ai Colli, Cazzano di Tramigna, Grezzana, Cerro Veronese, San Mauro di Saline and Montecchia di Crosara. Vineyards for the production of “Amarone della Valpoliella” wines should be listed in the DOCG Register.
The production area of wines with controlled and guaranteed denomination of origin “Amarone della Valpolicella” with the specification “Classico” includes the municipality of Negrar, Marano, Fumane, Sant’Ambrogio. S. Pietro in Cariano.
( *Note: Nowhere does it say vineyards in California, Virginia or Texas)
Art.7 Amarone Labeling
1) On the label of wines of the appellation of origin controlled and guaranteed “Amarone della Valpolicella” it is forbidden to add any specification beside those allowed by this production regulation, including worlds such as: “extra”, “fine”, “selected”, etc.
2) It is allowed the use of indications referring to names, companies, private brands and consortiums as long as they do not have any laudatory meaning and are not misleading for consumers.
3) On the label of wines “Amarone della Valpolicella” can be used the indication “vineyard” (vigna) as long as it is followed by the corresponding toponym, the specific vineyard is reported in the DOCG Register of vineyards and the drying, fermentation and ageing of the wine occurs in separated containers.
4) On the label of wines “Amarone della Valpolicella”, for all different typologies, it is mandatory to specify the vintage of the production of grapes.
Here’s what I have to say to winemakers in Texas or California or Italy:
If you want to make an Italian wine, make it in Italy.
If you want to make a California wine, make it in California.
And if you want to make wine in Texas, make it from Texas grapes, label it clearly and honestly, and for Heaven’s sake, never, ever try to sell Amarone, real or "imagined", by diminishing another wine (like Chianti). It is against the spirit of all we do and it is ineffably specious.
And when you do make a wine and label it "reserve" how about attaching a vintage to it? NV really doesn't cut the bacon.
Said from one who has made wine in Texas from Texas grapes and knows how bloody hard it is to do. But it is the right thing to do.
Texas, all y'all (who don't know any better) need to put on your big boy pants and get all yourself right with your Lord, your wine-making and your wine-naming. Do it soon.
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