Being a long time Italophile, I love most anything Italian, with wines being high on the list. Sadly, some of Italy’s more interesting wines are unknown to most North Americans.
However, the Association of Amarone Families, comprised of the 12 most prestigious producers of the Veneto’s signature red wine, are out to change perceptions and raise awareness.
This impassioned group will be coming to Washington, D.C. Oct. 17-19, 2015, for a series of events during the National Italian American Foundation (NIAF) Gala Weekend and for tastings at the Italian Embassy.
“We’re proud to partner with the leading Italian American organization in the United States,” said Marilisa Allegrini, President of the Amarone Families, “and to once again pour our great wines at Italy’s atmospheric embassy in Washington, D.C.”
On Oct. 17, as part of the NIAF Gala Weekend, the Amarone Families are hosting a ticketed wine tasting from 1:30 to 3:00 p.m. at the Washington Marriott Wardman Park Hotel. Tickets cost $150 per person. Interested wine lovers should call Xavier Atizol (202-939-3100) or visit www.niaf.org for more information.
Additionally, on Oct. 19, noted wine educator Geralyn Brostrom, CWE and founder of Italian Wine Central, will guide a tasting of select Amarone vintages from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Following the seminar, a walk-around tasting will provide local press and trade an opportunity to taste current vintages and meet the 12 Amarone Families producers.
Both the guided seminar and the grand tasting will be hosted by the Italian Embassy. To register, members of the press and trade should visit: www.amaronefamiliesdc2015.eventbrite.com. For more information, call 646-624-2885 ext. 239.
While most wine lovers are familiar with Barolo, Barbaresco, Brunello di Montalcino, Chianti and the associated Super Tuscans, only a relative few know of or have tasted Amarone wines.
Amarone is unique in that it is produced using the ‘appassimento’ drying technique. The grapes sit for 100 to 120 days and lose 40 to 50% of their weight. The grapes that make Amarone (Corvina, Corvinone, Rondinella and Oseleta) are picked in late September and early October, then placed in ventilated cellars to continue drying for the majority of the winter. This method dates back to early Roman times, around 500 A.D.
This method of aging is popular with other wines from Italy, a process often used in dessert wines. However, in the Veneto region the Appassimento approach can help create consistent wines from year to year that have bigger, bolder flavors. The resulting wines are of higher quality but the number of cases produced are less than what is common in a traditional wine making process.
The mission of the Association of Amarone Families is to educate trade and consumers on the tradition and quality of this celebrated Italian wine, which received the prestigious DOCG appellation in Decemeber 2009. The DOCG accolade is given to only the best wines of Italy.
The association is comprised of twelve historical producers of the celebrated Amarone wine (Allegrini, Begali, Brigaldara, Masi, Musella, Guerrieri Rizzard, Speri, Tedeschi, Tenuta Sant’Antonio, Tommasi, Venturini, Zenato) who formed the association “Amarone Families” in 2009, combining their rich tradition with expert craftsmanship and exacting standards in wine making.
For more information visit them at www.amaronefamilies.it, or better yet buy their wines and discover the wonderfully unique experience that is Amarone.
In a year when Italy surpassed France as the world’s largest wine producer, why deny yourself the best that il bel paese has to offer?