2006 'La Piccola Botte' Amarone della Valpolicella
Red Blend •Amarone della Valpolicella DOC
What We Say
EXCLUSIVE WINE ALERT:
Today’s special Amarone della Valpolicella is only available in the U.S. through The Wine Spies. Wether you are a long time fan of Amarone or never tried one, this is a wine that belongs in your cellar.
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Mission Codename: Il Mio Primo Amore
Operative: Agent White
Objective: Secure a very special Amarone for our operatives
Mission Status: Accomplished!
Current Winery: Fratelli Giuliari
Wine Subject: 2006 ‘La Piccola Botte’ Amarone della Valpolicella
Winemaker: Giuseppe Bassanelli
Amarone della Valpolicella is one of the most unique wines in all of Italy. Made in Italy’s northeast Veneto region and specifically in the Valpolicella DOC (near Verona), Amarone is made with grapes that are dried for several months on straw mats in the lofts above the farm houses or barns at the winery before being pressed and fermented. The dried fruit has a higher residual sugar which is mostly fermented away. This results in a dry wine of tremendous depth and intensity; in addition to a generally higher alcohol content.
Amarone is usually a blend of Corvina, Rondinella and Molinara. On occasion, other varietals are blended into the mix. Amarone is aged for two years in oak barriques before being aged further in the bottle. These wines have a long life, with most Amarone showing its best character many years after their release. Flavors and aromas of complex dried fruit, chocolate and spice linger and meld with its distinct texture.
Today’s selection has a small amount of Barbera, which is not dried, added to its blend – a process and style unique to Fratelli Giuliari.
Wine Spies Tasting Profile:
Look – Dark purple and almost black with dark purple highlights in its dark almost inky core. Slightly thicker in viscosity and when swirled, slow thin legs with hints of color creep down the side of the glass to the wine below.
Smell – Bold and powerful aromas of port-like fruit including dried but sweet raisin and juicy currants layered over dark chocolate and subtle herbs and cardamon spice. Toasted and smokey oak (with vanilla) components and a subtle floral quality add complexity to the intense nose.
Feel – Velvet smooth, this dry to off-dry full-bodied wine has firm, but finely textured tannins and soft acidity. Well-structured, deep and chewy, coating and reaching to the far corners of the palate with a clay like minerality lingers into the finish.
Taste – Broad, muscular and expansive on the palate, this wine’s rich port-like flavors of dried fruit, fresh plum, and juicy currents are integrated with toasted and smokey oak. Decadent finely powdered dark cocoa, spice and herbs emerge creating an almost meaty character. A touch of fresh juicy fruit (from the Barbera) and dark minerals makes a subtle presence.
Finish – Long, rich and complex with persistent flavors of rich dark fruit, cocoa and oak linger with this wine’s textured tannins and minerality lingering for several minutes.
Conclusion – The 2006 Fratelli Giuliari ‘La Piccola Botte’ Amarone della Valpolicella is a delicious wine that will benefit tremendously by some maturation in the bottle. Rich and deep, with layers of complexity that unfold on the palate. Take your time with this one and you’ll be rewarded. It is almost a shame to have had to open this bottle now for the review – but when we get an exclusive wine, we want to make it available to you. Pick up a few bottles of this delicious wine, drink one this year (decant) and stash the rest in the back of your cellar. When the bottles are good and dusty in about 10 years pull one out – you’ll be treated to an amazing experience.
We all have experiences that are the “the tipping point” for our love of wine. This is the story of my first love, or in Italian Il Mio Primo Amore.
About 15 years ago, I had to visit New York City for business (before I had the pleasure of being a Wine Spy). My sister was going to school in the city and at the time was dating a great guy, we’ll call him Agent D who worked in the restaurant business.
We made dinner plans for Italian food and when we arrived at the restaurant, Agent D grabbed the wine list and his eyes lit up. He insisted we try this wine called *Amarone della Valpolicella*.
Now, I grew up with wine – we had wine with just about every dinner – but usually California styles. I had always enjoyed Italian wines but exposure to Italian wines was limited to the big three of Brunello, Barolo and Barbaresco (which, at the time, I could hardly afford); and of course plenty of Chianti. I had never tried Amarone. It was a bit more expensive than I wanted to spend, but I thought, what the heck I’m in NYC and life is good.
The waiter brought over the bottle, opened it up, we made sure it wasn’t tainted and then decanted it. As the wine was being carefully poured into the decanter, I caught a whiff of the aromas of dark fruit and chocolate and I knew at that moment I was in for a treat.
We poured our glasses, swirled and sniffed. The deep and complex aromas filled my head. I could hardly wait to take a sip. As I did and let the intense wine slide over my palate I just closed my eyes, savoring the moment before swallowing. The flavors lingered for what seemed an eternity. At that point, wine took on a new meaning for me – I was lost in the moment – a most delicious one.
A special thanks to Agent D, you know who you are, for introducing me to Amarone which ultimately lead me into my career in the wine business.
Wine Spies Vineyard Check:
The location of the Fratelli Giuliari near Verona, Italy can be seen in this satellite photo.
What the Winery Says
About This Wine:
This wine is made from Corvina, Rondinella and Molinara grapes with a small addition of Barbera. The bunches with scattered grapes are harvested and left to raisin-dry in airy lofts until March. Pressed grapes ferment according to traditional methods and the new wine reposes in oak barrels for a couple years. Then it is bottled and undergoes aging. It is excellent with game and cheeses and a superb after dinner conversation wine.
About The Winery:
In the evocative district deputy head to the village Right altomedievale of Santa Giustina, to the doors of the country of Illasi, rises the cellar of the Fratello Giuliari.
In a charming main court of the eighteenth century, Titian and Carlo Giuliari with the sons Juri and Andrea, every day dedicate themselves with passion to an activity that more hundred-year-old accompanied them you of this branch of the family Giuliari. Luigi Giuliari, grandfather of Titian and Carlo, to the dawn of the twentieth century, already took care of jealously the wine from him produced. And ‘to quest’ chronological height in fact that the historical farmstead, that had been of property of the count Paolo Trezza, goes in property to the family Giuliari. Titian, that often fascinates in the to trace the genealogies, true or assumed of its family, loves to collect the depositions dell’ origin of the actual surname.
Giuliari is the surname of an ancient of Verona family that, in documents of the fourteenth century, appears in the Olive shapes, Oleariis, Uliaris and then Iuliarius. To the base it was yourselves the Latin limit of diversion Olive, name of occupation of someone that sold oil become then surname of the descendants.
That the family Giuliari is really ancient and possibly a considerable tradition to Verona is testified from the summonses that the Cartolari, an important scholar of the genealogies scaligere, does some Giuliari in its scholarly work of 1854 naming Bartolomeo Giuliari (1761-1842) l’ last “Provveditor of Comun” dell’ Venetian administration and Giovan Baptist Carlo Giuliari (1810-1892) considerable scholarly figure of monk and sculptor.
On via XX September, in the Verona center, it is raised then Palace Giuliari, today university seat, a time possession of the family and seat of a’ important scholarly collection of texts. Of everything these historical details make proud the Giuliari that did some respect for the one ancestors of the strong elements of their tradition.
The cellar of the Fratelli Giuliari is known also with the name of ‘Small Barrel’. This name translation was chosen the proverb “in the old barrel is the good wine” replacing old with small to underline another side of their story namely that of to be a cellar of modest dimensions but in a position of to produce the “good wine”. And’ the quality in fact l’ other fixed nail in the objective of Titian, Carlo, Juri and Andrea. From the Fifties and Sixty, when still all it is done to hand and while Carlo immersed the empty bottles returned to them in warm water to make to detach the labels (were the times of the postwar period and re-uses and not to throw away anything) and Titian went to sell with a funny red van, the Giuliari always had like first dream that to produce recognizable wine for the quality more Quantity.
Designation: Amarone della Valpolicella DOC
Varietals: Corvina, Rondinella, Molinara, Barbera
Vinification/ageing: The selected grapes will be dried until March in well ventilated lofts. Then the grapes are pressed and fermented and vinificated in a traditional manner. Ageing period in oak: 24 months , refining period in the bottle: 6-8 months
Alcohol by Volume: 15.5%
Appellation: DOC (Denominazione di Origine Controllata) existing since 1968 and produced in the districts of Marano, Fiumano, Negrar, S.Ambrogio, S. Pietro in Cariano, Dolcè, Verona, S. Martino, Bonalbergo, Lavagno, Mezane, Tregnano, Illasi, Colognola ai Colli, Cazzano di Traminia, Grezzana, Pescantina, Cerro Veronese, S.Mauro di Saline, Montecchia di Corsara – Veneto.
Oenologist: Giuseppe Bassanelli
Production area: Illasi (VR) – Veneto
Altitude: 220/230 m.o.s.l.
Exposure to the sun: south west
Other vines procuced: Recioto V. Classico, Recioto di Soave, S. Giustina IGT, Le Pale IGT
Composition of the soil: rich of pebble and stones
Total extension of the estate: 5 ha
Total ha of vineyards: 4 ha