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Posted: Friday, October 09 2009. 18:05

Amarone Quality Under Attack

One of the fine wines of Italy, the well-known Amarone from Veneto region is under threat of drastically going down in quality with higher quantities under production , says Sandro Boscaini, President of Amarone Families, a newly formed group to promote higher quality wines.

Boscaini who owns Masi said in London this week that Amarone has become a victim of its own success. This is not the first such instance where wines/regions become victims of their popularity. In order to meet the explosive demand, producers stoop to higher volumes which bring the quality down. Mosel, Austria (sweet wines), Barossa Valley are the most recent examples where the popularity of the region caused the quality to go down and needed quality producers or the law took stringent measures to try and get back to the original levels.

Boscaini and nine other producers have joined hands initially to launch the newly-formed group called Amarone Families in London, reports the Drinks Business. Allegrini, Brigaldara, Musella, Nicolis, Speri, Tedeschi, Tenuta Sant’Antonio, Tommasi and Zenato are the other nine quality producers who have joined hands with Masi in forming the association.

According to Sandro, current market for Amarone is only around 8 m bottles. But by the end of next year around 15m bottles would be released in the market. “Where are these extra 7m bottles to be sold?” he asked. “Because of the success of Amarone production has become very high and I’m afraid we’ve created a monster.”

He said: “Already in Germany and Denmark there is very aggressively priced Amarone in the supermarkets and we are seeing a new sub category of Amarone. Well made Amarone is difficult to find on the shelf for less than €30 but in Germany you can find one for €10!.”

Producers within the association will mark their bottles with the group’s newly designed  logo, and they must comply with certain criteria. They will also jointly promote Amarone around the world, with a tasting in the US, after the launch tasting in London. USA, Canada, and Switzerland are large markets for this wine.

“Our aim is to protect the integrity and quality of Amarone and promote it as a unique and special wine,” added Boscaini who also said that to be a member of this group the family run winery must be small or mid sized (which rules out producers like Cantina di Soave who are exporting to India), the member must be winegrower or winemaker and must be involved in the production of Amarone for at least 15 years. The members are also required to age the wines longer for 6 months, have the min level of alcohol 1% higher and have higher dry extract of 30 gms per liter, besides meeting the strict price and quality requirements.

Amarone Families represent 40% of the total sales of Amarone della Valpolicella DOC and 55% of the region’s high value wines. It is a rich, dry red made from the partially dried grapes of  Corvina, Rondinella and Molinara  varieties and was awarded the DOC status in 1990.The name of this wine was given to distinguish it from the sweet wine made from a similar process and known as Recioto.

Amarone is generally considered at the top of the quality hierarchy in the Italian wines and is respected almost as much as Barolo, Barbaresco and Brunello di Montalcino- the 3 Big B’s. It is also known as a meditation wine since one can drink it even after dinner with friends, although it is a serious dry wine which needs red meats for company. It ages very well. Masi, Speri, Tedeschi, Tommasi are already being imported into India.

       

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