I recently attended a tasting in NYC hosted by The Amarone Families. This is a group of 12 Family owned wineries that have formed their own association. All 12 of these families and their wineries are steeped in history, tradition and unforgiving dedication to their craft and the quality of their wines. The tasting allowed me to sample older and current vintages from each of the producers. Regardless of the style of Amarone you lean towards, they have something for you. Today I’ll take a look at a current release Amarone from one of those very families. The Masi 2006 Costasera Amarone Classico was produced using grapes sourced at hillside, estate vineyards in the Amarone della Valpolicella Classic DOC region. This offering is a blend of Corvina (70%), Rondinella (25%) and Molinara (5%). Grapes were allowed to dry until late January when they were partially destalked prior to pressing. Fermentation occurred over 45 days in Slavonian oak. Barrel aging took place over 24 months; 80% in larger Slavonian oak and the rest in a combination of small Allier and Slavonian barrels. 40% of the barrels were new and the remainder either once or twice used previously. The wine is then bottle aged for a minimum of 4 months prior to release. It has a suggested retail price of approximately $60.
Aromas of plum and raisin are prominent in the nose which is heady and loaded with dark, brooding fruit characteristics. Just below that is an undercurrent of fresh vibrant aromas. Blackberry, blueberry, cherry and zingy raspberry flavors are all part of the palate which is full flavored, layered and intense. Chocolate and espresso notes are both in abundance on the finish along with continued wallops of fruit, particularly cherry. This wine is impeccably balanced and shows excellent acidity.
There’s no doubt this Amarone is delicious now. Decanted for a couple of hours and paired with flavorful foods this wine is just tremendously satisfying as well as an exceptional example of Amarone. However if you have some patience, you want to put this wine away for a decade or two. When you come back to it down the road you’ll find an even more elegant wine. Either way this is a sure-fire winner.