Amarone Wine Tours
A Tour of one of Italy’s Best Red Wines
In this guide we are going to take a look at exploring the region of Italy that is responsible for producing Amarone della Valpolicella, one of the quintessential Italian red wines.
This is a trip for people with a strong palate, and a capacity for alcohol, as Amarone della Valpolicella one of the strongest reds in the world.
Where is Amarone from?
Amarone della Valpolicella is produced in the Valpolicella region of Italy. This is one of the most significant wine producing regions of Italy.
Alongside Barolo, Amarone della Valpolicella is seen as one of Italy’s main contributions to the world wine market.
Amarone della Valpolicella is a historical wine, that dates back to Roman times. So it is no surprise that the Roman city of Verona is the regional capital.
The geography of the Valpolicella region is almost subtropical in nature, lush green valleys, spreading out to joining the base of the Lessini Mountain Range.
Perhaps, the best way to get to understand how important this region; is when it comes to winemaking, and how prolific it has been for many decades, lays in understanding the name. Valpolicella actually means Valley of Many Cellars.
Alongside, the lush valleys are some of the most beautiful countryside found in Europe.
The foothills of the Lessini Mountains are full of hidden groves, natural springs and charming burbling brooks.
Indeed, this natural water supply is one of the reasons why Amarone della Valpolicella is so unique.
What is Amarone Like?
Amarone della Valpolicella is considered a unique Italian red wine for a reason. It is incredibly complex.
Much of this complexity stems from the fact that production of Amarone della Valpolicella calls for a full 23 lbs of grapes to go in to every bottle.
This is several pounds more than most varieties of red wine. These extra grapes really help to bring some complexity to Amarone.
Typically, the bouquet of a good Amarone is going to punch forward with a sweet and spicy delivery.
Although as a strong red, Valpolicella also assaults the nose with undertones of liquor. With Amarone della Valpolicella, there is no doubt right from the get go, that you are drinking alcohol.
The taste delivery is equally complex, beginning with an almost sweet pre-taste, which is quickly overridden by a tart, tannin heavy experience. Spice remains, but the flavors of earth and alcohol overpower it in the finish.
Generally, Amarone is one of the most complex red wines. And for this reason, it also varies very much in quality.
A good vintage will taste very different from a mediocre vintage. A bad vintage is best avoided.
Why is Amarone a Famous Italian Wine?
Several things are combined to make Amarone della Valpolicella a famous Italian red wine.
Firstly, the fact it has been around for hundreds of years.
It was drunk by Roman Emperors, and enjoyed by the common people alike. Secondly, production of Amarone has always, and still continues, to rely heavily upon manual labor and traditional production methods.
Where other Italian red wines have changed to incorporate modern production techniques, Amarone has remained true to its roots.
And lastly, because Amarone della Valpolicella is a high ticket wine. There is no such thing as an exceptional budget Amarone.
Cheaper vintages are certainly never from the Classico region. The cost of production keeps the price of Amarone high. This makes it a premier wine, to be enjoyed on special occasions.
How to Get to the Amarone Region
Getting to the region of Italy that is responsible for producing Amarone della Valpolicella is probably best achieved by plane.
The City of Verona has a full international airport. Couriers fly in each day from most European countries.
Road is also an option. Verona sits on the national highway that runs east to west from Venice to Milan.
And on another major road that runs north to south from Trento to Modena. If you are driving to the Valpolicella region, this makes getting to Verona very easy indeed.
Where to Stay in the Amarone Region
The historic Roman City of Verona is an excellent choice of places to stay if you are visiting the Valpolicella region.
The city itself is a major tourist destination. Therefore, it is entirely possible to combine a wine tour with a great cultural experience.
Indeed, many people actually visit Verona on vacation, and only learn about the region’s winemaking fame whilst there.
This prompts them to discover Amarone della Valpolicella for the first time. Many Amarone converts first sampled the wine whilst on a long weekend in this great Italian city.
Best Amarone Vineyards to Visit
The real trick to visiting the best Amarone della Valpolicella vineyards, is to try and stick to those in the Classico region.
These are the wineries that still use the most traditional methods. Visiting one of these, means that you get to see just how wine has been made for hundreds of years.
Operated by a pair of brothers since 1965, this is one of the newer Amarone wineries. Yet despite this, it is still known as one of the best. It is located in the Valpantena Valley, and offers visitors bot accommodation, and great on-site dining.
Whilst visiting Tezza, it is possible to view the entire Amarone production process. You will see polished steel vats, providing contrast with the ancient oak barrels used to age the wine.
This is a winery run by a female entrepreneur. She has concentrated on producing an entirely natural Amarone della.
Everything about this vineyard is state of the art. It is also a very small vineyard, and visiting it is a real pleasure.
Osteria Numero Uno
In complete contrast to our previous selection, this is a traditional Amarone della vineyard in every way.
It is also a favorite hangout for other local winemakers, who enjoying the old oak bar, and the many vintages of Amarone available to drink. The local village is also worth a visit, a real taste of traditional Italian rural life.
Which are the Best Amarone to Taste?
Amarone 2010 Allegrini
Available from Majestic Wines, this is a very interesting Valpolicella. Why is it so interesting?
Although it is produced in the Classico region, it is produced using modern methods. This means it can be sold at a slightly lower price point. A full Amarone taste experience, in true Classico style, yet at an affordable price.
Amarone Classico Costasera 2011 Masi
Available from Majestic Wine, this is one of the newer takes on Amarone. A rich experience, with a strong, liquor loaded bouquet, and a taste delivery that has all of the classic Amarone della Valpolicella experience.
Amarone Classico Vigneto il Fornetto
From Stefano Accordini, this is a solid Amarone della Valpolicella Classico at a very competitive price point, a dark red wine, with a fruity bouquet, yet no lacking on spice and tannin. A taste delivery that gives earth undertones and a long finish that dries the palate.
Taking in the Surroundings
Visiting the Amarone della Valpolicella region is a pleasure in itself. But in case you feel the need for a little variety during your tour, there are plenty of other great activities and attractions, these include:
Take a Segway Tour
The historic City of Verona is well worth exploring. But doing this on foot could be very tiring. So why not take a tour on a Segway electric vehicle? Discover all of the historic sites, without tiring out your legs!
Discover Romeo and Juliet
Verona was the city that inspired the classic Shakespeare play Romeo and Juliet. Several companies offer tours that take in all of the key locations the play was written around. This is a fantastic way to understand more about this cultural masterpiece.
Garda Thermal Park
Visit the hot springs and warm water lakes at Garda. This is both a natural environment that is stunning, and also a highly beneficial health spa. Full on site facilities are available, including swimming suit hire.
Classic Amarone Wines
More than any other Italian red wine, the distinction between Classico Amarone della Valpolicella, and Amarone made in the Greater Valpolicella Region is very distinct.
Only in the Classico region does the winemaker have access to the clear, pure water supply that originates in the Lessini Mountain Range. This really does change things.
This water supply is mineral loaded, and for some reason seems to fit winemaking perfectly. All good classic Amarone della Valpolicella are made from this water supply.
Modern Amarone Wines
Moving out of the Classico region, we find Amarone della Valpolicella wines that share many of the traits of the wines produced in the Classico region.
What they don’t have, is the same mineral loaded taste. This in many ways, makes them a much less complex wine.
That is not to say that modern Amarone is not a good wine, it is. It is also the most cost effective way to get to try the Amarone experience.
But it simply isn’t Classico. If you love Amarone, then you know the difference already.
Amarone in Conclusion
Amarone della Valpolicella is a very special wine. Whilst other Italian red wines have become almost international staples such as Chianti, Amarone has maintained its premium image.
If you are ready to step up and try a complex wine, that rewards with every sip, then this could be the wine for you.
Amarone is perfect for pairing with rich dishes, and it is also an exceptional wine to drink just for the enjoyment of it.
Mac is an avid traveller, who spends many months of the year wandering the world with a laptop and a suitcase. He has been a wine lover for over 30 years, and has a fondness for Italian reds, although don’t ask his opinion on the Barolo Wars. On his travels he has tasted a great many wines. Some good, some bad, and some that should never have been sold for human consumption.