Winery: Azienda Agricola Marion di Nicoletta e Stefano Campedelli
Region: Valpolicella, Veneto
Locale: Marcellise, hamlet of San Martino Buon Albergo (Verona)
Site: Older vines, up to 60 years, from hillside and hilltop vineyards; altitudes from 100-200 meters, soils a bright white, chalky, stony calcareous marl.
Grapes: Corvina, Rondinella, Corvinone, Croatina, sometimes some Molinara if it adds something positive in any given vintage.
Fermentation and Aging: Harvested by hand in small boxes. All the grapes go upstairs to the modern Frutaio for appassimento, where they gently desiccate in the plastic bins in which they were picked. Sometime in December, the date depending on the vintage and on how the appassimento goes, the now raisins are crushed and wine is made from the sweet must. The same 24-36hr cold soak, with a spontaneous (natural yeast) fermentation which takes longer due to the higher sugar in the grapes, but for which nevertheless there is no post-fermentation maceration - again the idea is soft, drinkable wines without harsh tannins or astringency. The wine goes into large barrels (barili and botti) for its malolactic fermentation and three years of maturation. After three years, the most stringent selection process possible is used - tasting each barrel blind, comparing notes, making initial judgements, and then returning a month later to confirm those judgements and to make the assemblage.
Notes: There is Amarone, and then there is Amarone. If pure pleasure, soft gentle textures, structure that is impressive but in no way mean, gorgeous fruit from healthy, ripe grapes, absolute balance, and never-ending finish are your deal, then Marion's Amarone will not disappoint. Drink it with hard, aged cheese, or with a sturdy roast or grilled meat, or drink it on its own for its pure, un-adultured pleasure.