Revisiting my FIJEV trip to Valpolicella for Amarone Anteprima 2016 , in February 2016
I was a participant along with other members of FIJEV for Anteprima Amarone. This event occurs annually, arranged by the Consorzio di Tutela Vini Valpolicella and designed to showcase the 2012 Amarone vintage.
It was a very well arranged trip in that the journalists were broken into small groups, and taken to visit an assortment of producers – some large and some very small family operations.
For Amarone lovers, Amarone Anteprima 2016 was also a chance to experience the very different styles — the result of different terroir, and different wine making techniques.
You might know that the red wine we know as Valpolicella is made from four key grapes: Corvina, Corvinone, Rondinella and Molinara. These grapes are used to make wines that range from the dry styles (Valpolicella Classico, superiore with a minimum 12% ABV and 1 year in wood, Valpolicella Superiore Ripasso (the fresh young wine is given new concentration, aroma, and flavors by being poured over the skins (pomace) left over from Amarone), and Amarone della Valpolicella made with Valpolicella grapes that are dried for 4-5 months to lose water and concentrate sugars, and then aged for a minimum for two years before release.
I had to memorize these grape names and styles when I was taking my WSET Diploma (I graduated in 2009, the same year Amarone de Valpolicella became a DOCG).
The articles below reflect my experiences with many of the producers. They were all warm, generous people — some of them were parents, others were adult children in their 20s and 30s carrying on the family tradition.
All of them were eager to highlight the unique terroir of the region.
After the visits there was an important press conference in which Consorzio President Christian Marchesini and his colleagues made enthusiastic presentations. They demonstrated how Amarone has reached iconic status, with 60% of production now exported worldwide. Other subjects included climate change, vintage variation, economic trends and new market opportunities. I was able to hear the translated words via a headset generously provided.
Then those of us lucky to scoot down to the second floor in time had the opportunity to blind taste 78 Amarone wines from the 2012 vintage.
That evening, there was a party for the journalists with all 74 producers in the Consorzio in attendance.