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by Fred McMillin
for March 6, 2000

 

Ah-Mah-Row-Nee Is No Phony


Prologue

The method of making Italy's Amarone (ah-mah-row-nee) has not changed much since Pliny the Elder recorded the method of making a potent red wine from semidried grapes stored in covered amphorea.

...Italy's Noble Red Wines, Sheldon Wasserman


The Rest of the Story

Amarone is a classic wine made in northern Italy west of Venice. The wine later disappeared along with the Roman Empire. A millennium later, Venice became a great wine trading center. Then, the Turks cut off supplies from the sea, so northeastern Italy turned to producing its own wines. High strength was coveted; hence the tradition of half-drying the grapes prior to crushing was revived. It continues today in...


Our Wine of the Day

Amarone Montresor 1995 Amarone Montresor
Verona, Italy
Producer—The Montresor family moved from France's Loire Valley to Verona about the time the Turks were blockading Venice. Their village and castle still stand today.
Winemaker—Dr. Giuseppe Longo has seen a few Amarone vintages...he started making Montresor wines over 30 years ago!
Winemaking—While harvested in 1995, the grapes were dried on trays until January 1996, when they were then crushed and the concentrated juice fermented. (The vintage indicates the year the grapes are grown, not when they are processed into wine.)
Reader's Appraisal—The bottle for today's wine has a frosted, not glossy, finish. Reader Jim Pompilio wrote me about an Amarone in a frosted bottle. He didn't have the name, but said "it's the nectar of the gods!"
Flavors—The name Amarone comes from "amaro," the Italian word for "bitter." You may find a trace of it in the finish, some raisin-port richness, and intense alcohol. There is no dish or cheese that can overwhelm a classic Amarone.
Contact in New York City—Christine Deussen, (212) 979-2700, X-258, FAX (212) 979-2869
Price—$27 range


Postscript

Here's another way to taste this Amarone. It's one of 60 wines I'm pouring in my History of Wine course, S.F. State University, College of Extended Education, (415) 405-7700, FX (415) 338-7290.


Postscript #2

Why didn't we mention the varietals used in Amarone? They're hardly household names, but let's do it: Corvina and Rondinella.

 
About the Writer

Fred McMillin, a veteran wine writer, has taught wine history for 30 years on three continents. He currently teaches wine courses at San Francisco State and San Francisco City College. In 1995, the Academy of Wine Communications honored Fred with one of only 22 Certificates of Commendation awarded to American wine writers.

 
 


This page created March 2000

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