Today is my dad’s birthday so I am going to write about one of his favorite wines – Amarone. Before we began drinking wine together, we went fishing together. A bonding experience. He taught me to put worms on a hook at an early age. It was a useful skill to show the boys in my class that I wasn’t afraid of bugs and insects… Now he is teaching my son to fish.
Dad also made wine in the basement when I was young. Old vine Zinfandel with his friend Carmelo from Ragusa, Sicily. Thus the wine bug was planted. Now I make wine with him in his basement. This year we made Petite Sirah, Chardonnay, and Vermentino. This year they are fermenting in his home as I write this post. My son helps me cork the bottles.
Of all the wines my dad loves Amarone most of all, whether it is from a small or a big producer. I, on the other hand, have never been partial to Amarone. Sure, I recognize that it is one of the great wines of Italy but I only really enjoy it with Roast beef at Christmas. That all changed for me one year at Vinitaly when Mark Levy, a veteran wine salesman, introduced me to Amarone della Valpolicella Classico D.O.C. “TB” 2001 by Tommaso Bussola. A life changing event in terms of my appreciation for Amarone.
The wine was a blend of 75% Corvina, 20% Rondinella and 5% of Cab Franc, Dindarella, Croatina and Molinara. It was rich and luxurious with black and red fruit, spice, oak and chocolate and tar notes. It was in a word, a sexy wine. A couple of years ago, I had the pleasure of presenting Amarone during a seminar. The wines were amazing and helped me see the wine under a new light. Amarone’s a gem, just like my Dad. Happy Birthday.