Sunday, January 29, 2012

Report from ... Verona Italy: Anteprima Amarone '08 - January 28, 2012

The reason we are all here ...

This is the day we all came for, the tasting of the Amarones coming for the 2008 vintage.  The press conference before hand gave everybody the background of the vintage, the economy we find ourselves in and whether or not Amorone, Valpolicella and Ripasso will continue its steady growth (though we learn that Valpolicella itself is on the decline both sales wise and production wise) ... plus an oenologist gave us an interesting presentation about the various regions of Valpolicella and how the wines differ from region to region.  After the conference the media had a choice of two room in which to taste the 65 wines ... the blind tasting room, or the non-blind.  I chose the blind room so as not to be influence by label or producer, because yes even a writer can be seduce by packaging.  

My top five Amorone were as follows, all from the 2008 vintage ... most have already been bottled but there were also barrel samples in the mix, I will indicate as such:
Recchia (bottle)
Giuseppe Campagnola (bottle)
Ca Vegri (bottle)
Santi (barrel)
Roccolo Grassi (bottle)

After the tasting a little R & R time ... then dinner at Ristorante Rubiani, which was only a hop, skip and jump from the hotel Accademia where we are all staying..

Now I can sit and describe things to you but it might be easier to give you a little bit of a slide show ... because as someone once said, "a picture is worth a thousand words", if that is the case I give you 20,000 words of text in these pictures:

Empty Tasting Room for the Producers to pour their wines
Same room some 3 hours later ... is that guy (left) picking his nose?
Media tasting room - a little quieter ...
Bottles of 2008 Amarone for tasting ...
... More bottles of Amarone for tasting ...
... 65 bottles in total
That means 11 flights of wine like this one (minus one glass).
Make it through and you got some after snacks: cheese, bread, jams ...
more cheese, more bread, some meats ...

And don't forget the cookies, cakes and pies ... like I needed more sweetness
Dinner at Ristorante Rubiani ... a cornucopia of food and wine, more wine than food actually

Pasta e fagioli alla Veneta
Guancetta di mazo brasata (beef) con purea di sedano rapa (celeriac)
Zaletti caldi con gelato alla vanigla
The Wines ... of the 12 different wines tried this evening, here were the stars of dinner

spicy, dark fruit, plum and cocoa (****+)
smooth, slightly spicy but very nice across the palate (****+)
sweet plum, black cherry, white pepper, hints of vanilla, smooth and nicely balanced (**** 1/2)
red fruit, plum, spice and chocolate, lots of pepper on the finish - heat on the nose does not translate to the palate (****)
Back to the Hotel ... After dinner it was a 5 minute walk back to the hotel ... you might remember this street from yesterday's post, but it looks mighty different at night:

The walk home ...
Sobering moment of the day ... In the middle of the Palazzo della Gran Guardia - which is just outside the Musei D'Arte where the tasting was taking place, sat an actual deportation box car, a stark and sobering reminder of the "bad old days" during World War II when millions were deported out of Italy and the rest of Europe.  I was shocked at how small this box car was and even after all that wine I was dumb-struck-sober by the sight both inside and out ... I thought I would share the outside - the inside was too dark to take pictures of ...
A sobering moment of reflection ... it looks bigger in the picture than it is in real life
Tomorrow ... Visits to four wineries, and some side trips along the way.

1 comment:

wino-fred said...

Really enjoying your blog about your Italy trip. Love the pictures of wine and food!