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Allegrini Amarone della Valpolicella Classico 2014 £64.95
ALLEGRINI AMARONE DELLA VALPOLICELLA CLASSICO
The Allegrini family estate covers 100 hectares of vineyard in the heart of the Valpolicella Classico area. The family has been growing grapes here for six generations, but the estate in its current form was founded by Giovanni Allegrini. When he passed away in 1983, it passed to his three children, who ran it together until Walter's death in July 2003. Franco now looks after the vineyards and is the winemaker, and Marilisa is the director of marketing.
The Allegrini family's south-east facing vineyards are located in the Valpolicella Classico hills at 180-280 metres above sea level. The varied soils are mostly chalk and clay and are well-drained. The older vines are 30 years old on average, pergola trentina-trained, with about 3,000 vines per hectare. Newer vines are single Guyot trained with about 5,000 vines per hectare.
2014 began with a mild, almost warm winter, followed by springtime growth that was some 15 days earlier than usual. From April onwards, the weather started to get progressively worse, culminating in a surprisingly cold and wet summer. The frequent rainfall, the ‘lens effect’ caused by alternating heavy rain and hours of very strong sunshine, and two light hailstorms created a situation that was more challenging than usual for the overall balance of the vine. The exposure and the altitude of the vineyards proved crucial, as did the quality of the work undertaken on site. Meticulous trimming and selection were necessary at harvest time, resulting in a15% reduction in yield. The scrupulous selection of grape bunches meant that only the best grapes were used.
The grapes were dried at 'Terre di Fumane', a state of the art drying centre with controlled temperature and humidity. Under these conditions, the development of botrytis was avoided and the integrity of the fruit preserved. During the drying period, the grapes lost 40-45% of their original weight. Vinification took place in the first two weeks of January. The dried grapes were de-stemmed, crushed and fermented in stainless steel tanks at temperatures between 8-22ºC. Maceration lasted 25 days, with daily pumping over. The wine was racked into 100% new oak barriques (225 litres) in March for 18 months. After blending, it spent seven months in 8,700-litre oak casks, and 14 months in bottle.
A classic of the appellation with both tradition and a sense of place. With intense aromas of ripe, dark fruit and spice, it has an imposing structure and depth, superb balance with refined tannins and a long, spiced finish.
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