Though it has notes of cherry and fig, the voluptuous Amarone is dry and pairs well with a range of dishes. Photo by Erik Kellar

Wine Watch

That’s Amarone

This Italian wine is defined by more than its terroir—a special drying technique creates a memorable, fruit-forward bottle.

As a country with thousands of indigenous varieties, Italy’s wine culture runs the depth and breadth of styles. For a sommelier, these endless options both exhilarate and challenge, especially when it comes to creating an Italian-centric wine list. However, Ivan Brkovic, wine director and restaurant manager at Sale e Pepe at the Marco Beach Ocean Resort, embraces the country’s diversity, along with other global selections, to craft an award-winning wine menu. When asked about a wine that currently captures his attention, Brkovic barely hesitates before pointing to Amarone—specifically, an ultrarare 1967 Bertani Amarone Classico. “I like the kick-in-the-face, silky, velvety, full-bodied, [yet] easy-to-drink style,” he says. It’s a wine that definitely needs food; and he points to meaty options like a rib-eye or the restaurant’s seasonal osso buco as ideal matches. While terroir and varieties dominate conversations about wine, Amarone—a wine from the Valpolicella region outside of Verona—highlights the vinification process, which is just as important to its style as the grapes and where it comes from. Bertani’s technical director Andrea Lonardi calls it “a methodology wine,” because its character is so dict
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