AMARONE OPERA PRIMA – A Special Event to Discover the Territory and Wines of Valpolicella – Filippo Magnani

The body and intensity of Amarone is traditionally associated with winter months – wonderfully enjoyed in front of a warm, cozy fire.

In fact, the anteprime, dedicated to Amarone della Valpolicella, is always held in the early, frigid months of the year.

The 2022 Edition was unique in every aspect. It was held, for the first time, in the summer from 17th to 20th June. The objective of the Consortium of Valpolicella was to demonstrate and enhance the versatility of the wines of this area, aiming to reimagine Amarone from a ‘challenging’ wine that is mostly paired with game dishes to a more contemporary-styled-wine, balanced with less concentration and more fitness. On this concept, the first exclusive masterclass “Amarone 4wd, off the beaten track” was held June 18th at Palazzo Verità Poeta, which also opened the program for Amarone Opera Prima. The masterclass shed a spotlight on pairings with cuisines from four corners of the earth, accompanied by 4 different expressions of the territory of Valpolicella. The challenge was assisted by Nicola Portinari, a two Michelin-starred chef at La Peca in Lonigo.

In this extraordinary event of the previews of the 2017 vintage of Amarone, the Consortium of Valpolicella wanted to mix the masterful wine production from this area with the other flagships and absolute attractions of the Italian territory: history, art, culture, and music. On the night of the 18th, the 100 wine writers from 20 different countries, were invited to attend the Aida Opera by Verdi in the beautiful frame of the Roman Arena di Verona.  An amazing moment that everybody enjoyed, before the grand tasting of Anteprima Amarone the following day in the Palazzo della Grand Guardia (in the heart of Verona).

An Overview of an Iconic Wine Territory 

In the center of Northern Italy, located in an extraordinary and unique microclimate is the wine district of Valpolicella. Home of masterpieces including Amarone, Recioto, Ripasso, Valpolicella and Valpolicella Superiore. This wine region is a jewel of the Italian wine tradition. The area is characterized by a moderate continental climate. Many factors maintain this extraordinary pedoclimatic balance. The Northern border is occupied by the Monti Lessini plateau, probably the most important area from which the most valuable grapes of the DOC are harvested and shielded against cold currents from the Alps. Going South, the land assumes flatter features, a luminous valley that reaches the banks of the River Adige. To the West, the borders of the DOC touch the famous “neighboring” wine district of Bardolino, on the shores of the fascinating Lake Garda that has major influences on the entire climate of the area. It maintains mild winters and ensures excellent ventilation. To the East, the city of Verona raises the cultural and historical center of this bright area. The Valpolicella Classica, it is located in the northern area of the wine district and includes the towns of Marano, Fumane, Sant’Ambrogio, Negrar and San Pietro in Cariano.

On the beautiful rolling hills, we can find soils with poorer characteristics, with a major presence of limestone, clay and volcanic soils. These are the more preferred areas for the production of wines – they have great balance and complexity, there is also a longer growing season and the wines are more concentrated and have high acidity. To the East of the classic area the DOC enclave the territories of Valpantena, and Valpolicella DOC.

Valpolicella, the Eldorado of Wine Travelling

With its 240 km2 the Valpolicella has an ancient heritage, the name itself may refer to “the valley of the many wineries”. Viticulture and winemaking have been rooted here for centuries. A charming valley with stretches of vineyards framed by traditional marogne (dry stone walls). Historic territory, precious, where the interweaving of autochthonous varieties give life to incredible high-end wine production, the result of traditional techniques settled over time.  Wines are linked to a territory that every year attracts wine lovers, professionals, and collectors eager to know and deepen themselves into the different interpretations of Valpolicella, in particular its Amarone. The rolling hills are decorated by orchards and olive groves, small family-run wineries and famous wineries in the elegant Venetian Villas, now converted to wine resorts for an immersive experience. This place is a precious piece of Italian history.

Heading South-East, Verona rises the heart of the wine area. The hometown of Vinitaly, the yearly wine fair at the beginning of April where more than 4,000 producers gather from every region of Italy, trying to impress wine lovers from all over the world with tastings, seminars and talks. The “City of Love” and the scenario of the intense passion between Romeo and Juliet. The City of the Arena and its Opera, home of the famous Piazza delle Erbe, and undisputed flagship of Italian lives. To the East you can choose the enchanting Verona; the West side opens up to Lake Garda. A lake destination that can be chosen by those who want to visit the charming hamlets and small villages on the shores, alternating days of tastings with boat rides, long walks of different intensities, water sports and sensational fish meals. In order to help the guests in this extraordinary territory, a mobile app has been developed that has the task of directing the eno-curious towards the experience that is adduced more, being able to choose from a wide range of options.

Tastings Amarone della Valpolicella Docg 2017  

2017 showed lovely ripe fruit and good aromatic intensity. In general, I tasted great wines rich in structure, with persistent fruit, well-balanced with firm tannins. A sufficient level of acidity guarantees freshness to almost all wines. This shows the hard work of the producers during an uneasy season.


Colour ranging from ruby core to light garnet rim. Intense flavour  of ripe plum with balsamic notes of mint. A hint of vanilla. Rich in structure, with persistent ripe fruit, well balanced with soft tannins. Fresh long finish. A great wine.


Deep ruby colour. Rich bouquet of black cherry with hints of violet. Round, full body and warm. Good structure with quite delicate tannins and long length. Lovely wine.


Ruby core with narrow light rim. Great nose with ripe plum, spicy notes of licorice and rhubarb. Slight notes of leather. A full-body wine with good freshness. Present delicate tannins and quite a long aftertaste.  I like it.


The colour is medium ruby with a compact rim. Pronounced intensity of ripe red fruit mixed with notes of chocolate and tobacco. Medium body with ripe red fruit and freshness. Moderate coarse tannins. Quite a long finish.  I really appreciated it.


Bright with intense core and paler rim. The wine displays ripe red fruit and floral notes of violet with hearty overtones. Exuberant and full body in the palate, elegant fruit and velvety tannins. Long, fresh finish. A very good wine.


Brillant with a deep ruby core. Pronounced bouquet of blackcherry, dried prune and fig. Overtones of coconut and the scent of tobacco. Good structure with firm, velvety tannins and long length. A wine with a personality.


Brilliant, deep garnet colour with compact rim. Various and intense aromas of ripe plum, blackberry and raisin. Full body with discrete alcohol level and soft tannins. Long finish. A delicious wine.


Medium garnet core, paler on the rim. The nose shows the beautiful flavour of blueberries. Spicy with a hint of anise. The palate is elegant with overtones of black cherry and fig. Dry, medium plus body, silky tannins and a long finish. A great wine.


Garnet red with a paler tinge. It displays an intense flavour of dark cherry and raspberry with light earthy overtones. Juicy and vibrant with a medium-bodied palate, firm tannins with a light smoky hint at the end. I have really appreciated this wine.


Deep ruby red with paler reflections. Pronounced intensity of ripe red fruit mixed with notes of chocolate and tobacco. Smooth and delicious palate with delicate tannins and quite a long aftertaste present.  A great wine.

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Valpolicella Soars in 2021

The Valpolicella Wine Consortium has recently announced the numbers for the first five months of 2021.  The numbers show around 30 million state seals were issued for the Valpolicella, Ripasso, Amarone and Recioto origins, which is 18% over 2020.

Compared to 2019, the increase is 14%.  Amarone, which after a disastrous January 2021 (-24.5 %), accelerated to a sensational 38 % increase by May 31. According to the consortium’s analysis, these are the best figures of the last decade. “A total of 7.4 million bottles were brought to market in this period, two million more than last year. Not only is the quantity excellent, but the performance also gives us hope. According to the latest price list of the Chamber of Commerce of Verona, the open goods have increased by 4.5 percent,” Christian Marchesini, president of the consortium, states. The figures are due to a combination of the restrictive measures of the consortium as well as the high flexibility of many small businesses, which immediately knew how to move on unfamiliar terrain like e-commerce and food retail.

Valpolicella achieved an overall growth of 14 % after a strong pick-up in the month of May (+48 percent). Ripasso closed with an increase of twelve %. Stocks are down for all typologies of Valpolicella, especially Amarone and Recioto. In May 2021, five million bottles less were registered than in May 2020 (-8 percent).

Source:  Valpolicella Wine Consortium

Great Italian Wines Masterclass – Understanding Indigenous Grape Varieties – The “Noble” Nebbiolo and Valpolicella Varieties

I attended an amazing Masterclass last week: “Great Italian Wines – Understanding Indigenous Grape Varieties.”  The seminar was led by the knowledgeable Sandra Colosimo, a member of the Associazione Italiana Sommeliers. Sandra led us to explore and learn about the “Noble” Nebbiolo and Valpolicella varieties, their qualities, traceability, terroir and unique characteristics.

Here are details on the two wines tasted:

2016 “Rocolo” Valpolicella DOC Superiore (Agricola Piccoli Daniella S.S.)

Grape varieties: Corvina 40%, Corvinone 25%, Rondinella 30%, Oseleta, Molinara and Croatina 5%
Alcohol:14.5% vol.

Ruby red hue with hints of purple; elegant yet complex nose with floral notes and berries evolving to eucalyptus, and slight touches of smokiness and balsamic; very well-balanced wine, some flavours of cherry and raspberry with hints of vanilla – long elegant finish

Food pairings: red meat, game dishes and strong hard cheeses

2018 Oddero Langhe Nebbiolo DOC

Grape Varietal: 100% Nebbiolo
Alcohol: 14% vol.

typical Nebbiolo with a ruby-red hue, perfumed bouquet of violets and red fruits, with dusty chalky tannins – lovely long finish.

Food Pairings: Aged cheeses, Meat or mushroom-based pasta and rice dishes

To enhance the tasting experience, the wines were paired with and appetizer plate of Italian specialty foods: Prosciutto di Parma DOP, Grana Padano DOP, Salame Finocchiona Toscano IGP, Piave DOP, Olive Taggiasche, and Olive Baresane, Taralli.

This masterclass series is organized in collaboration with Cavinona, Terroni’s exclusive wine agency.






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#italianwine #nebbiolo #valpolicella




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The 13th Edition of Anteprima Amarone – Verona

IMG_5933 The 13th Edition of Anteprima Amarone was held in Verona on January 30 and 31st when 74 producers revealed their wines from the 2012 harvest to international press, industry insiders and general public.

This preview was promoted by the Consortium of Valpolicella and was held at the beautiful historical Palazzo della Gran Guardia, Verona.

In addition to tasting, the program included a conference on opening day, moderated by journalist Andrea Scanzi who, together with Christian Marchesini, President of the Consorzio Valpolicella, discussed the Consortium. There was also a technical presentation of the vintage curated by Dr. Diego Tommasi of Cra di Conegliano, along with the performance of the denomination on foreign markets was presented by Denis Pantini of Nomisma Observatory.

Christian Marchesini confirms “the role of the brand Ambassador of the territory in the world of the Great Red Veronese, but mainly is the driving force for the local economy and its tourist exploitation.” He goes onto say: “Unique – Amarone is a wine-icon, a seductive wine”, “fruit of the earth, where 97% of the vines were indigenous. The discovery in recent years of the Oseleta variety and the return to Guyot, is raising more the gap between modernity and tradition, between different styles and corporate philosophies”

Denis Pantini also points out that “According to 35% of the producers, the denomination of origin is the main factor of Amarone success abroad, even before the reputation of the corporate brand (I think 21%) and Italian origin (15% ), In fact, nearly 1 out of 2 producers believe this.”

He goes on to say –

“The leading export markets for Amarone include: USA, China, Russia and Canada. These countries, together with the Northern Europe export 60% of Amarone della Valpolicella.”

“Going into detail of the placement and the Amarone market share abroad, Germany (18%), Switzerland (14%) and Canada (13%) constitute the main countries of destination, followed by the United States (10%), Scandinavia (mostly with Denmark and Sweden) and the United Kingdom.”

In light of the importance that these markets hold, a study on the Canadian consumer was conducted. From this survey by the Wine Monitor Nomisma on 1,200 purchasing managers of households, showed a rate of penetration of Italian red wines of 44%, with a 25% share of red Valpolicella with Amarone 19%.

This study has also shown the the demographics of the Amarone Canadian consumer has a household income of more than $75,000 CDN/YR, has a high level of education and has traveled to Italy. An element that confirms the strategic importance of the enhancement of the Valpolicella area.

“It’s been a difficult year for 2012” said Tomasi

He goes on to say: “It’s the first vintage that marked the real climate change, followed by 2013, 2014, 2015 with an unpredictable climate change and a seasonal change characterized by water stress, so these conditions there will always bring more to the September stage – he concluded – to create the true quality. The Amarone 2012 vintage, with softer wines, fruity, gave great results especially for the last stage of maturation.”

In 2015 Amarone has reached 310 million Euros (a 6% increase over the previous year), calculating that a bottle in six was ​​exported to foreign markets, and will pay a close attention to the Canada market.

Amarone 2012 Preview
74 wineries represented, with 78 labels, 32 of which were bottled and 46 from the barrel

Some that stood out:

Accordini Stefano Acinatico Amarone Classico 2012 (B) – very promising

Albino Armani Cuslanus Amarone Classico 2012 (C) – beautiful transparency, acidity and elegance – lots of potential

Bertani Amarone Valpantena 2012 (B) – elegance, some high acidity

Cantina Negrar Domini Veneti Amarone Classico 2012 (B) – elegant, classic

Massimago Amarone 2012 (B) – elegant, long finish

Novaya Amarone Classico 2012 (C) – a classic

Peter Zanoni Zovo Amarone 2012 (B) – very dry, great balance with fruit, acidity and taste

Rubinelli Vajol Amarone Classico 2012 (C) – balanced

Zymè Amarone Classico 2012 (C) – some sweetness, yet elegant


B = bottle, C = barrel sample