Home > Amarone, Experiences > Searching For The Perfect Amarone

Searching For The Perfect Amarone

Le Ragose Amarone Della Valpolicella 2004

Le Ragose Amarone Della Valpolicella 2004

Let me confess: I have a wine weakness. This weakness is called Amarone. Ever since I tried Amarone for the first time, which happened in 2004 when I was taking Windows on the World Wine School classes, I kept searching for the same experience. Amarone wine which we tried during the class was absolutely amazing – it had a sweet rich nose of raisins, and powerful dry body of muscular wine. Once you experience something like that, you want to do it again and again. The only small issue left – finding that perfect bottle.

Problem is  – Amarone is not a cheap wine. Of course it is not super-expensive, like first growth Bordeaux, but at about $60 per bottle, it is way outside of my daily wine budget. That complicates the search, as at such price point Amarone really becomes a “special occasion wine”.

Number of different Amarone later, you can guess that I still had high respect for that wine, as I designated it as one of the “best kept secrets of the wine world” in the post written for The Art of Life Magazine (you can find this pots here). For that blog post, I tried three different wines from Vaona Pegrandi – starting from Valpolicella Ripasso, a “poor man’s Amarone”, and then two of the actual Amarone wines – all good, but not what I was looking for. That forced me to dig out the notebook from that Windows on the World wine school classes, and find out that Amarone I felt in love with was 1997 Le Ragose Amarone della Valpolicella Classico.

Shortly after, with help of my friend Zak, I was holding the bottle of Le Ragose Amarone in my hands. Other than the fact that this bottle was from 2004 vintage, everything looked exactly the same. Except one little detail – 1997 version had 14% alcohol, 2004 – 15.5%. Finally I got to open the bottle. Swirl, sniff – practically nothing. More of the swirl and sniff – still not much. May be a hint of sweetness, but absolutely none of the jammy raisins and dried fruit, which were stuck in my memory forever from that 2004 tasting. On the palate, the wine had more of the dark fruit and may be hint of a fruit jam, but alcohol was not integrated and not balanced, hitting you after the initial taste was subsiding. Nothing changed on the second day – same limited nose, and same unbalanced wine on the palate.

I don’t know what happened with Amarone during those 7 years (interestingly enough, in 2004 I tasted wine from 1997, and in 2011 it was the wine from 2004, so both times the wine was 7 years old). Actually, it doesn’t matter what happened – I want the old Amarone back. The new one has no soul, it is simply one of many unbalanced wines, high in alcohol.

Well, I will keep searching – being an eternal optimist, I will keep looking for that perfect Amarone. True, I might be running simply after the memories which can not be brought back – but hey, at the very least, I will keep trying – new wines, it is. And if you experienced that amazing Amarone wine – any suggestions will be greatly appreciated. I might even share that special bottle with you! Cheers!

Categories: Amarone, Experiences Tags: ,
  1. October 18, 2012 at 7:56 am

    Must have been a great experience to try such an old Amarone 🙂

    • talkavino
      October 18, 2012 at 8:47 am

      Thanks – it was not that old when I tried that for the first time (7 years). I have a bottle of 1990 Le Ragose Amarone waiting for me – probably next February the time will be right : )

  2. April 9, 2013 at 2:51 am

    Very interesting….So year or vintage makes all the difference? The fact that the quality of grapes can vary is fascinating. İ havent yet found “The Wine” for me.

    • talkavino
      April 9, 2013 at 6:23 am

      There are way too many factors, I think – vintage, winemaker, serving temperature, breathing time – but in general with Amarone, I seriously despise the trend for over-extracted wines. That 1997 was perfectly fine at 14% ABV, why most of the modern Amarone are in 15%+ area?

      I don’t know if this was “the wine” for me. This was definitely an extremely memorable experience, but then there were others…

      Don’t worry, you will find yours. Just keep looking : )

  1. October 22, 2011 at 12:17 am
  2. February 28, 2012 at 11:01 am
  3. August 21, 2012 at 7:42 pm
  4. April 8, 2013 at 10:58 pm

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