Now I'll try not to let the negative comments sway me, after all some folks thought this wine would ruin the perception of Amarone to an entire generation of wine drinkers, which I consider a little hyperbole. After all, this wine has been coming out of Valpolicella since the Romans were running things, so I seriously doubt offering a bottle at a great price could ruin what took millennia to build. In fact, I'd put greater odds on the wine makers themselves shooting the golden goose before TJ's could (2004 Brunello scandal anyone?).
So on to tonight's wine, which is also our office wine club selection for February (Happy Valentines Day wine club peeps!). Now it's generally good to let a bottle breathe a bit before serving, so this one's been open about 30 minutes or so. In the glass, the wine has aromas of cedar, spice, and a sweet cherry or berry and a faint hint of anise. The taste is concentrated fruit at the outset, with a touch of bitterness mid-palate, and somewhat concentrated tannins creating a smooth, dry finish. Some have complained that this wine is one dimensional, and I could see that being the case, but I think they miss the beauty of what this wine is, a representation of a larger than life wine, with concentrated fruit that is to Italy what a big bold Cabernet is to Napa Valley.
Now considering that most Amarone's are tough to find in the sub$50 range, and that this one came from Trader Joe's at just under $20 makes this a considerable bargain. If you're an Amarone expert, this one might not be for you, but if you enjoy a good glass of wine with a meal, this is your ticket! Oh, and speaking of meals, what am I enjoying this bottle with tonight? Glad you asked, I am having this with St. Louis style barbecue pork steaks, with my own variations (like adding a little habanero pineapple salsa to the barbecue sauce that the meat has been braising in for the last 3 hours), along with some homemade corn bread, and green beans with butter and slivered almonds, a real southern treat! The bold spice of this wine should play nicely with the sweetness of the pork and sauce, I can't wait to dig in! For the wine itself, I'd rate this one a solid 8, but given the bargain price, I'd boost that up to an 8.5 easily! Enjoy!