Wine-Searcher is a pretty good and informative wine web site, and we often read its posts.
Recently, Alfonso Cevola (a good wine blogger who we are lucky to know personally), wrote on Wine-Searcher a great and clear post about Amarone della Valpolicella. It worths a read, and you can find it here.
Everything Alfonso says is correct, and we cannot agree more, mainly where he says that
“folks sometimes confuse a Maremma wine with Amarone wine. The Veneto – and Valpolicella in particular – has a branding problem”.
It’s true. Although many people all around the world love Amarone, often they really have no idea where it comes from. And - sadly - Valpolicella’s producers don’t seem to do much to inform them. It needs an effective strategy of “geographic” communication of this part of Verona province before speaking about grapes or technique. If geography is the history’s eyes, history is an essential part of wine culture, so you cannot avoid having a deal with them. This is the reason why we love to talk about the different valleys and soils of Valpolicella when we have to handle a tasting, as we did a few weeks ago in Montreux. We believe that this approach helps the people to better understand what they have in the glass.
History and tradition apart, there is something new in Valpolicella - let’s call it a new wave - and comes from new producers. We met some of them in a recent tasting focused only on basic Valpolicella and the Superiore, hosted in a fine restaurant and hotel, Villa de Winckels. The main news is that the Amarone-land is no longer a mainly male world. Many women are appearing on the stage. Girls like Laura Albertini (Terre di Pietra), Beatrice Bottaro (Pagani), Camilla Rossi Chauvenet (Massimago) and Veronica Tommasini (Piccoli Daniela), make wines which are fresh, pleasant, balanced, easy to drink and with a good price for value. If you are looking for some alternatives, those might be some good ones.
Last, a quite sad note: a few days ago, Roberto Ferrarini, an important oenologist and professor of oenology at University of Verona, passed away, suddenly, during a trip to Chile, where he was participating to a congress of OIV. Ferrarini was a renowned researcher, and a consultant of many famous wineries in Valpolicella (Quintarelli, Brigaldara, Musella, Villa Spinosa, Cavalchina, Guerrieri Rizzardi and many other), but despite his cleverness and culture, he was always a discreet and humble person, who didn’t love the fashionable limelights. When in 2009 he was awarded as the “winemaker of the year” by Italian wine guide Gambero Rosso, many wine lovers were surprised, because had never heard of him. Vice versa, in the academic circles in Italy and abroad he was well known and respected: his scientific publications are often used as textbooks in the universities of oenology. In Valpolicella, almost everybody in the wine world knew him, for his researches, his passion for the bio-technologies and his curiosity for the withering process. With his love for Valpolicella, Roberto Ferrarini was likely the man who more than any other has contributed to the knowledge of Amarone on a scientific level.