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A difficult vintage that turns out to be complex and elegant: the Amarone 2016 in the glass

Less residual sugar, dry extract, and pH for longer aging in the cellar: the trends in Valpolicella for a more balanced Amarone

Experts in the field say that the 2016 vintage is turning out to be very interesting for several Italian wine territories, even more than the acclaimed 2015, which however gave very healthy grapes but also very structured and, at times, not very harmonious wines. Valpolicella is no exception: the Anteprima Amarone 2016 of the Consorzio Vini della Valpolicella, which took place in Verona, presented bottles with a wide and well-balanced aromatic spectrum and a taste-balanced sip, thanks to the climatic trend of the year: cold but dry winter, rainy and cool spring until May and then a not particularly hot summer, which, however, ended in a pleasant autumn with high temperatures and good ventilation, precisely in the months decisive for optimal technical-phenolic maturation. The constant humidity during the year caused quite a few headaches concerning downy mildew and the constantly below-average temperatures delayed the various phenological phases, which only resumed in autumn: all this meant that 2016 was declared as a difficult vintage.
But - again, and more and more often - wine manages to demonstrate its evolutionary capacity independent of agronomic data and forecasts. And, in fact, here are the organoleptic characteristics of Amarone 2016: all the fruity markers are present, from the black fruits (blackberry and blueberry) to the red ones (raspberry, strawberry and cherry), up to the citrus notes of blood orange. The spices are present (basically sweet and delicate, more limited are the strong and woody ones) and the balsamic notes, both deep, but often fresher. Consistently complex structure on the palate: the characteristic sweet soul of Amarone has found a good side in the tannins (often smooth, sometimes still high), but above all in the flavor, which has tapered a sip warm enough, without always being able - in our opinion - to refresh it enough to make it juicy.
Wines that are pleasantly balsamic and mineral, which are perfumed in the center of the mouth, whose imprint is recognizable even when compared to dry drying wines from other continents - from Australia and New Zealand to the Americas and South Africa - as demonstrated by the tasting “Amarone vs. New World wines” held by the Master of Wine Peter McCombie.
Still, in term of style, the Consortium has pointed out that Amarone 2016 shows “an ever clearer tendency to produce a wine characterized by a lower average sugar residue (below 4 g/l), but also a dry extract and a lower pH, in search not only of power and richness but also of an elegant and well-balanced taste”. The wineries also seem to focus on longer aging periods before the wine is introduced to the market: as proof of this, out of 54 samples presented for tasting, 36 in this edition were barrel samples (almost 70%).

Here are the best wine tastings of the Winenews staff:
Albino Armani, Amarone della Valpolicella Classico 2016
Light: fruity, definitely fresh and vertical. Aromas of raspberries and vanilla, peppery and vegetable at the end of the sip.

Ca’ Rugate, Amarone della Valpolicella Punta 470 2016
A crunchy cherry, sweet spices, the sip is alive and central, pleasantly fresh and balsamic

Falezze by Luca Anselmi, Amarone della Valpolicella 2016
A distinctly floral aroma of rose, accompanied by citrus fruits, sweet sip and mentholated, good tannin

Giovanni Ederle, Amarone della Valpolicella 2016
Peppery on the nose and intense cherry, it is also fruity in the mouth

Le Guaite di Noemi, Amarone della Valpolicella 2016
Balsamic notes of fresh cherries and roses, it has a delicate freshness that reduces the heat, almond in the finish

Vigna ’800, Amarone della Valpolicella Classico 2016
Very deep wine, jam and cinchona and medicinal herbs, from the sip that starts sweet and marbiso but ends up peppery and balsamic

Villa San Carlo, Amarone della Valpolicella 2016
Crunchy cherries and delicate balsamic notes, for a sweet sip, with central tannin and final flavor

Santa Sofia, Amarone della Valpolicella Classico 2016
The dark nose of cherry and chocolate, fresh licorice and vanilla, dense, recovers in the fruity final flavor

La Collina dei Ciliegi, Amarone della Valpolicella Valpantena 2016
Warm wine made of cinnamon, cherry and cinchona, it is tight in the mouth but balanced by the fruity returns.

Roccolo Grassi, Amarone della Valpolicella 2016
Red-orange, blood, spicy and sweet notes of chocolate, reveals a sip with a fine tannic texture and a peppery finish.

Zýmē, Amarone della Valpolicella Classico 2016
Intensely citrusy, with a lively scent of cherry, it has a soft and fruity sip and finally savory with scents of blood orange.

Vigneti di Ettore, Amarone della Valpolicella Classico 2016
Laurel oak and cinchona both on the nose and in the mouth, it has a warm and spicy sip that ends up slightly almond and fruity

Secondo Marco, Valpolicella Classico 2017
Special mention for this Valpolicella graceful as a dancer, alive in color and juicy

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