[This map of Italy, with the Vento region highlighted, is borrowed from the Italylogue.com Website.] The Veneto region is where Amarone wines originated.

My journey has just begun with Amarone wines, and it’s a love to last a lifetime. It began with Cesari Vineyards contacting me for a promotion they are having. This winery is located in the province of Verona… I had to admit that I had never tasted an Amarone wine, much less even know what it is. Their promotion has the hash tag of #IAMarone, so they can track interest and involvement. I decided to be all in.

A few days ago a sample of Cesari’s  2012 Cesari Amarone della Valpolicella Classico arrived. At last, with other stories I had written to prepare for this moment, here was the beautiful bottle that was now going to open up my world to Amarone, and one I could add to my Wine Century Club experience… bringing my total of individual varieties tasted to 164. Corvina I had already tasted (5/1/10 – 2008 Punta Crena Colline Savonesi IGT Cruvin). Now, I was going to enjoy Rondinella and Molinara.

José photographed the bottle for me, because a couple of days after it had arrived, he was drooling. He knows Amarone wines, from his Wine Spectrum days. this job was where he got to taste excellent wines from around the world, in order to sell them. I told him we could open it; but, he had to photograph it for me, before the cork was pulled. Bam!

The aromas that wafted up from the bottle were alluring, to put it mildly. Now, I was really curious. I had coincidentally bought a Stonewall Kitchen Vidalia Onion Fig Sauce and we had a tri-tip ready for cooking. Oh-my-gawd, it was going to be a great night.

[Verona Italy, Copyright: ekaterinabelova / 123RF Stock Photo]

And it was, ending with dancing our hearts out.

A tag associated the bottle; I’m going to share this with you, so you can begin your journey, too, if you haven’t already started it:

A superior red wine produced from Corvina, Rondinella, and Molinara grapes. Its production is long and exacting… One requiring the grapes to dry before pressing and aging. The unique method of production is one that has withstood centuries of testing and tasting, making Amarone a classic of all wines. When poured, Amarone releases an ethereal orange aura that highlights the glass with warm color. Best when left to breathe and served at room temperature with hearty meats and game.

Bring on the Tri-Tip and sweet Vidalia onion fig sauce!

So, what did it taste like?

Where to begin… It was not what I expected, to be sure. From what I had read, I expected something akin to a sweeter wine, just because the grapes are dried before being made into wine. (What was I thinking, because reading about this wine, nothing suggests sweet. Being so used to raisins, what can I say?) I was so wrong. This Cesari Amarone wine is sultry, with just a dollop of richness; one that invited me in, but didn’t overtake anything… simply pure joy.

Amarone is a Sophia Loren kind of wine

This Amarone experience – if putting Italian culture into context – made me think of a tarantella dance that I learned so very long ago (even though it’s indigenous to Southern Italy).  Lively and fun, and a tasty, velvety treat when enjoying it. And so we tasted, had dinner, and then danced into the night. This may have been my first Amarone, but it will definitely not be my last.

More insights on Amarone? Click here.