Tasting Tommasi: Amarone for the Ages

 


Pierangelo Tommasi is the Co-Proprietor and Export Director of Tommasi Viticoltori, a family-owned winery founded by his great-grandfather in 1902 in the heart of Italy’s Valpolicella Classico region in the Veneto. He is one of nine members of the fourth generation currently running the family business, which has expanded its holdings to a total of 550 hectares of vineyards across Italy. I recently had the opportunity to taste several vintages of Tommasi’s flagship Amarone and their Ca’ Florian Amarone Riserva at a lunch hosted by Pierangelo at the New York restaurant Olie e Più.

Tommasi was one of the founders of the Amarone Families, an elite association of family-owned wineries created in 2009, which caused something of a telenovela (soap opera) in the Italian wine world. But Pierangelo described its inception as the result of a casual conversation among five friends over lunch. Today the group consists of 12 historic Amarone producers who follow more stringent guidelines than the Consorzio Tutela Vini Valpolicella requires for Amarone, he explained, with the goal of ensuring high quality and authenticity in their wines.
Over pizza and pasta, we compared Tommasi’s 2007, 2008, and 2009 Amarone with their single vineyard Ca’ Florian Riserva from those same years, as well as the current 2012 vintage of Amarone. The 2007 Ca’ Florian had the most finesse, while the power and complexity of the 2009 Riserva suggested great aging potential. Pierangelo said Tommasi has been moving toward producing drier Amarones, thus making them easier to combine with food. He also shared with us the 2011 Brunello di Montalcino and 2011 Colombaiolo Brunello di Montalcino Riserva from their newly acquired property in Tuscany, Podere Casisano. Both were classic and elegant, with the Colombaiolo a bit rounder and more structured. Pierangelo explained that owning a vineyard in Montalcino had been a family dream for nearly 20 years, and that the size and location of Casisano, situated on one of the highest elevations in the town, are an excellent match with the traditional Tommasi winemaking style.

Kristine Jannuzzi is a food and travel writer based in New York City. She is a frequent contributor to Culture: The Word on Cheese. Follow her on Instagram @nyccheesechick.

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