Santi Amarone 2013
Deep ruby red in color with a very slight garnet edge, Amarone has an intense and very complex bouquet with dominant notes of raisins, cherries and bitter chocolate with hints of tobacco and spices. Full and generous on the palate, the wine has a rich yet powerful mouthfeel marked by focused, silky tannins and a long, lingering finish. Ideal with elaborate and robust pasta dishes like pappardelle noodles with hare sauce, game and horse sirloin.
Santi traces its origins to 1843, when Carlo Santi established a wine cellar in Illasi, near Verona and Lake Garda. The original winery, very attractively renovated, still houses the winemaking facilities and aging cellar and stands on the plain below Castello d'Illasi, a ruined medieval fortress. Santi specializes in Veneto and Trentino wines. In addition to experimenting with the benefits of aging in new French oak barrels (barriques) for wines such as their single vineyard Trentino Chardonnay I Piovi, Santi emphasizes new techniques to improve the quality of their wines.
Producing every style of wine and with great success, the Veneto is one of the most multi-faceted wine regions of Italy.
Veneto's appellation called Valpolicella (meaning “valley of cellars” in Italian) is a series of north to south valleys and is the source of the region’s best red wine with the same name. Valpolicella—the wine—is juicy, spicy, tart and packed full of red cherry flavors. Corvina makes up the backbone of the blend with Rondinella, Molinara, Croatina and others playing supporting roles. Amarone, a dry red, and Recioto, a sweet wine, follow the same blending patterns but are made from grapes left to dry for a few months before pressing. The drying process results in intense, full-bodied, heady and often, quite cerebral wines.
Soave, based on the indigenous Garganega grape, is the famous white here—made ultra popular in the 1970s at a time when quantity was more important than quality. Today one can find great values on whites from Soave, making it a perfect choice as an everyday sipper! But the more recent local, increased focus on low yields and high quality winemaking in the original Soave zone, now called Soave Classico, gives the real gems of the area. A fine Soave Classico will exhibit a round palate full of flavors such as ripe pear, yellow peach, melon or orange zest and have smoky and floral aromas and a sapid, fresh, mineral-driven finish.
With hundreds of red grape varieties to choose from, winemakers have the freedom to create a virtually endless assortment of blended wines. In many European regions, strict laws are in place determining the set of varieties that may be used, but in the New World, experimentation is permitted and encouraged. Blending can be utilized to enhance balance or create complexity, lending different layers of flavors and aromas. For example, a variety that creates a fruity and full-bodied wine would do well combined with one that is naturally high in acidity and tannins. Sometimes small amounts of a particular variety are added to boost color or aromatics. Blending can take place before or after fermentation, with the latter, more popular option giving more control to the winemaker over the final qualities of the wine.