The Aldeghieri Winery has been active in Valpolicella since the second half of the 1950’. I had a bit of knowledge about their history, so during the last Vinitaly I decided to visit their exhibition stand to taste some of their wines. With Paolo Aldeghieri I had the opportunity to go on a deeper knowledge of an extraordinary Amarone Classico Riserva 2004, which is the focus of today’s story.
Valpolicella is a wine-growing area located on the outskirts of Verona and includes four small valleys (Val Squaranto, Valle di Mezzane, Val d’Illasi, Val Tramigna), that are crossed by streams coming from the ancient glaciers of the Lessini mountains. It is the crossroads of the fresh air of the mountains and the mild breezes from Garda Lake, a precious microclimate that promotes the production of grapes and wines of high quality.
Aldegheri is one of the main players in this successful sector. The winery is located in the municipality of Sant’Ambrogio, in the historic area of Valpolicella, further west than the aforementioned valleys. The wine producer has always worked perfectly, coordinating technology with love for nature and its fruits. Great attention has always been paid to the management of the vineyards, the rigorous selection of grapes and the constant improvement of the winemaking techniques. All these factors allow to obtain grapes with distinctive characteristics and to achieve high quality level in the wines production.
The vineyard covers about 50 hectares mainly facing south-east, largely located in the hills, with a density of about 3,500 vines per hectare. It is planted on red and brown soils with Cretaceous marls and red limestones from the Eocene period. The average age of the vines is 20 years old and the oldest ones are 35 years old in some rows planted with Corvina.
The stages of ripening of the grapes destined for the production of Amarone – mostly Corvina, with a lesser proportion of Rondinella and other recommended grapes, including Molinara that has been chosen for the wine I am describing now – are carefully monitored to decide the right moment of harvesting. The harvesting of the grapes takes place between the end of September and the beginning of October after a slight extra-ripening of the plant. The grapes are hand harvested to select the best bunches for the successful phase of appassimento.
The appassimento technique, has been practiced since the times of the ancient Romans, and requires the selected bunches to be placed partly on racks and partly on modern plateaus to wait for the berries to slowly dehydrate. The pressing process take place later than usual (in the middle of winter), four months after the harvest, between the end of January and the first days of February.
The grapes are destemmed and softly pressed. The must is fermented on the skins for about fifteen days. After a period of settling, the wine is racked off its sediments and transferred into large oak barrels for a long period of ageing. Then a small part of this wine finishes its maturation process in barriques. The Amarone is bottled and aged for one year in order to show the best of its characteristics when opened.
This exceptional 2004 vintage has obtained an Amarone with a style hard to match. With almost ten years spent in large barrels, the wine is even stronger, fuller bodied and warmer due to the particular aging process.
Let’s move on to the tasting
Amarone della Valpolicella Classico Riserva 2004
This wine shows an intense garnet colour and the tears on the glass fall very slowly, showing great texture. On the nose, we still find floral scents of rose and withered violet, fruity hints of sour cherries in spirit, plum jam and berries. Then important tertiary flavors of liquorice, leather and tobacco emerge at the end. In the mouth the wine is full bodied, soft and warm, balanced with silky tannins and acidity is still present. It closes with a long finish with a mint aftertaste.
It is a wine with great structure, that this year has turned 18 years old; I wonder how much longer it will be able to evolve. It is a wine to pair with great roasts, game, or cheeses such as seasoned Taleggio.