Ber­tani Amarone Clas­sico

A leg­end with two fifti­eth an­niver­saries

Decanter - - DECANTER PROMOTION -

There’s no such thing as co­in­ci­dence at the Ber­tani win­ery: ev­ery­thing is the re­sult of en­tre­pre­neur­ial vision and pro­fes­sional ca­pa­bil­i­ties. Which makes the “co­in­ci­dence” of two spe­cial fifti­eth an­niver­saries – one for the re­turn of the his­toric 50-year-old 1967 vin­tage to the mar­ket, and the other cel­e­brat­ing 50 years dis­tance from the first vin­tage in 1958 and the cur­rent vin­tage in prepa­ra­tion now, 2008 – par­tic­u­larly op­por­tune as ev­i­dence of the one of the most im­por­tant wine­mak­ing projects in mo­tion at an in­ter­na­tional level.

The Ber­tani Amarone pro­ject is the fruit of shared vision and three el­e­ments at its core: a coura­geous and far-sighted en­tre­pre­neur (Guglielmo Ber­tani), a great winemaker (Ernesto Bar­bero) and a wine­mak­ing ter­ri­tory with very spe­cial char­ac­ter­is­tics (Valpo­li­cella Clas­sica).

This com­bi­na­tion of fac­tors pro­vides the back­ground for one of the few wines in the world that can re­ally boast of be­ing “leg­endary”.

For this rea­son, un­der­stand­ing the sig­nif­i­cance of these two Ber­tani fifti­eth an­niver­saries means un­der­stand­ing what it means to make a wine that is be­yond the con­fines of time and out­side the dic­tates of fash­ion.

To­day, Ber­tani Amarone Clas­sico re­mains a bench­mark for those who want to master the real re­la­tion­ship be­tween Amarone and its ter­ri­tory and be­tween Amarone and its con­stituent grape va­ri­eties.

It is, in fact, no ex­ag­ger­a­tion to say that Ber­tani Amarone Clas­sico is the in­spi­ra­tion for an en­tire denom­i­na­tion. This is the wine that launched a denom­i­na­tion and made it not only world fa­mous but also, and above all, au­thor­i­ta­tive and cred­i­ble.

There are four car­di­nal el­e­ments that have al­ways been, and still are to­day, the ba­sis for the Ber­tani Amarone Clas­sico pro­ject:

¥ PLACE: Tenuta No­vare lies in the heart of the Valpo­li­cella Clas­sica re­gion and is made up of a nat­u­ral am­phithe­atre where vines al­ter­nate with woods and the abun­dance of Na­ture. This is a spe­cial place where con­stant wa­ter is guar­an­teed by no fewer than seven nat­u­ral springs and where there is a for­tu­itous series of soil types, from the clay in the val­ley floor sites to chalky sites rich in iron and man­ganese, and then higher up the basalt rich soils ideal for the pro­duc­tion of great red wines, such as Amarone. The cli­mate is mild and tem­per­ate, as the pres­ence of olive trees

Two amaz­ing fifti­eth an­niver­saries for Ber­tani Amarone Clas­sico: • 50 years since the first vin­tage went on sale, • The re­turn of the his­toric 1967 vin­tage to the mar­ket. Tes­ta­ments to Ber­tani’s im­por­tance in the mak­ing of Amarone’s rep­u­ta­tion on the world stage.

proves, and this is a fer­tile and wel­com­ing land, never hos­tile.

• GRAPE DRY­ING: Grapes for Amarone are dried for 130 days on ‘arele’, tra­di­tional bam­boo-cane racks, in com­pletely nat­u­ral con­di­tions, or rather, as they pre­fer to say in the Ber­tani win­ery, com­pletely ‘tra­di­tional’ con­di­tions. This is the kind of tra­di­tion that is the fruit of re­search, anal­y­sis and com­par­i­son, all designed to bring the most au­then­tic char­ac­ter out of the grapes. Dry­ing, or ap­pas­si­mento, has gone on like this in the same place and in the same way for more than 50 years. In dry­ing ar­eas that ex­pe­ri­ence all pos­si­ble cli­mate changes from September to De­cem­ber. Which means that Ber­tani Amarone is the prod­uct of nat­u­ral con­di­tions all year round, and not just for eight months.

• FER­MEN­TA­TION: fer­men­ta­tion lasts for 50 days in ce­ment vats that reach as much as 18°C in tem­per­a­ture, be­cause this is the only way to give the wine sen­so­rial char­ac­ter­is­tics that are dif­fer­ent to the more nor­mal con­cen­tra­tion on fruiti­ness at the ex­pense of fi­nesse and el­e­gance. This is a com­plex de­ci­sion that means it is even more im­por­tant for Ber­tani to use the health­i­est and the most rigidly se­lected grapes.

• AGE­ING: “Ber­tani time” has an im­por­tant role as a star in the process of Amarone mak­ing. For it is long age­ing times that en­hance the char­ac­ter of Ber­tani’s Amarone Clas­sico, which stays 6 to 7 years in Slavo­nian oak bar­rels be­fore emerg­ing com­pletely trans­formed.

Long age­ing al­lows Ber­tani to give com­plete re­spect to both the vines and the grapes. The suc­cess of this process is proof of Ber­tani’s choice of pro­duc­tion meth­ods: never in­va­sive and al­ways re­spect­ful of Na­ture, even when nat­u­ral con­di­tions seem not to be at their best.

This is the only way to make a leg­endary wine like Ber­tani Amarone Clas­sico.

Clockwise from above: nat­u­ral springs abound at Tenuta No­vare; scenes from the ap­pas­si­mento grape dry­ing process in Ber­tani dry­ing lofts

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