Amarone della Valpolicella DOCG Classico Riserva “Caloetto” by Le Ragose
Perhaps Le Ragose’s most special Amarone, made with grapes from the highest altitude vineyards that the house owns. This altitude allows the fruit to ripen more gradually and evenly, promoting concentration and quality. Stunning stuff, that at this age is still just getting stunning-er year by year.
Winemaking: hand-harvested grapes dried on a single-layer plastic sheet for around a month or two. Fermentation is done relatively cool with native yeasts for up to a month, and is then aged in French oak tonneaux for at least four years and as many as six.
Soil: clay and limestone.
Assemblage: corvina 50%, rondinella 20%, corvinone 10%, others 10%.
Colour: dense purple, with a certain sunset-edge round the rim.
Aroma: very intense black cherries, with hints of cinnamon and star anise.
Palate: phenomenally ripe fruit, but exceptionally well integrated with a dry tannic backbone. Black cherries abound, with gentle but unmistakable vanilla and a hint of white pepper and forest floor. Top class stuff.
Ageability: going beautifully, this one has decades yet left in it for development and accrued subtlety.
Pairing: this feels like a roast duck wine, the complex fruits in it acting almost like a plum sauce. Pecorino and parmigiano cheese of course, but also very dark chocolate and even intense soft cheeses like Camembert.