Today we have a special guest post by Steve Kubota, a wine consumer with over two decades experience searching out great value in wine. Follow Steve on Twitter to get more of his great value picks!
Amarone della Valpolicella (Amarone) is the top designation for red wine produced in Valpolicella region of Veneto, Italy. Amarone represents 25% of the total production from Valpolicella and recently earned DOCG (Denominazione di origine controllata e Gaurantia; controlled designation or origin guaranteed) status in 2009.
The need for DOCG identification arose when the DOC designation was, in the view of many Italian food industries, given too liberally to different products. A new, more restrictive identification was then created, as similar as possible to the previous one so that buyers could still recognize it, but qualitatively different. A notable difference for wines is that DOCG labeled wines are analyzed and tasted by government–licensed personnel before being bottled. To prevent later manipulation, DOCG wine bottles then are sealed with a numbered governmental seal across the cap or cork. [Source reference: Wikipedia]
Amarone is produced using a specific method not typical with the production of most dry red wines found around the world. Grapes are harvested and then dried on racks. This drying process concentrates the intensity of fruit and as a result lowers the amount of juice that is typically extracted but produces a rich, full-bodied dry red wine.
I have tried several sub US$40 Amarone over the past twenty years and thought this Trader Joe’s exclusive Amarone by Conte di Bregonzo to be a good one for readers of The Reverse Wine Snobto try. This Amarone is one novice and aficionados can appreciate. It is big, soft and round with loads of preserved and stewed fruit aromas and a generous dark fruit and cocoa in a lengthy finish.
The current vintage available nationwide is 2010 and varies in price. I purchased it in WA, CA and NYC $16.99, $18.99 and $17.99 respectably. This offering isn’t made for aging but meant to be consumed now and is best before 2018. I have had previous vintages of Conte and the wine did not improve enough to warrant long-term cellaring.
I suggest decanting the wine or gently pouring the wine into stemware with a large, open mouthed bowl and waiting 10-15 minutes. This will help unlock some hidden treasures and allow the consumer to enjoy the full benefits available.
Consistency is the key: I have enjoyed the last four vintages and feel Conte di Bregonzo has maintained a consistent base level with two really good vintages.
This is my first wine review for The Reverse Wine Snob. It was an honor and pleasure to write a review for a blog that I have come to enjoy and respect.
-- Steve Kubota
This wine is available exclusively at Trader Joe's.
Overall Rating: 7.8
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