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Is there a good Amarone under $40?

jcoz23 Jan 7, 2008 11:32 AM

I am looking to buy a bottle of Amarone for a wine tasting, but trying not to break the bank. I don't know much about Amarone, but from what I've read there are types that are more syrup-like that would pair better with a cheese course and others that are more medium-bodied that would pair better with meat. I am looking for the second type since all the tasters would be new to Amarone, I figure best to start with the lighter version. I have read in previous threads that Masi would be a good one to try, but I was hoping for something a little cheaper. Is that wishful thinking on my part? If not under $40, could someone that knows more about it than I do please recommend the cheapest one they find to be good?

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    whiner RE: jcoz23 Jan 7, 2008 12:59 PM

    Good Amarone strats just around $50. There are exceptions -- sales, tiny producers that get dirct-imported to a couple of wine stores -- but in general, you have to shell out $50. At $50, Zenato, Bussola bg, and Begali are all very good-excellent with my edge probably going to the Begali right now (assuming 2001 for all). If you want a wine that truly tastes like an Amarone but is not, I would reccomend the Bussola Valpolicalla TB which should be about $35. It is a Ripassa - styled Valpolicella which really brings out a lot of the Amarone qualities that Ripassos can.

    6 Replies
    1. re: whiner
      jcoz23 RE: whiner Jan 7, 2008 01:11 PM

      Thanks! I have seen Valpolicella that is Ripassa-style and was wondering how similar it is to the Amarone. Good to know! The Bussola is a 2001 also?

      1. re: jcoz23
        whiner RE: jcoz23 Jan 7, 2008 09:50 PM

        SOME Ripassas taste like mini Amarones (or in the Bussola case, not so mini) others do not. Yeah, the '01 would be good for the Bussola... just avoid '02 across the board and you should be fine.

      2. re: whiner
        maria lorraine RE: whiner Jan 7, 2008 10:22 PM

        Whiner, Jason and others,
        Any stores you can recommend in the East Bay/North Bay to acquire the Begali or others?

        1. re: maria lorraine
          whiner RE: maria lorraine Jan 8, 2008 08:08 AM


          I am buying most of my Italians (including the Begali) at Biondivino on Green between Polk and Van Nass in Russian Hill in SF proper. The owner is called Ceri Smith, a beautiful young woman who has clearly forgotten more about Italian wine than I will ever learn. If you can ever make it to the city, I'd highly reccomend checking it out. Not the very cheapest store in town, but the service and selection are worth the tariff, imo. Hell, she loaned me Reidel Vinum wine glasses for a month -- free of charge, of course -- while mine were in storage... and told me not to worry if they broke! (They didn't, and I would have replaced them had they, but...)

          1. re: whiner
            mengathon RE: whiner Jan 8, 2008 03:37 PM

            As RicRios suggested to me in another post... Get her number... if not for yourself, then for the other CHers!

            I think a friend of mine in the Bay Area has also talked about this store with high acclaim.

            1. re: mengathon
              maria lorraine RE: mengathon Jan 18, 2008 10:29 AM

              Ceri Smith is clearly a beautiful woman and knowledgeable proprietor.
              Here's today's San Francisco Chronicle article about her with a photo
              of the lovely woman herself:

      3. Frodnesor RE: jcoz23 Jan 7, 2008 03:08 PM

        I recently found a '97 Giacomo Montresor Capitel della Crosara Amarone for $40 but typically expect to pay $50+ for a good amarone.

        Looking on Wine Searcher there are bottles from Cesari, Tinnazzi, Luigi Righetti, Sartori, Terre Molin all under $40 but I've not had any of these and can't vouch for them.

        2 Replies
        1. re: Frodnesor
          tom porc RE: Frodnesor Jan 8, 2008 11:21 PM

          Winelibrary and Winelegend has a few under $40 so it is possible.

          Is the 1962 Bertani special that it cost $266?

          1. re: tom porc
            whiner RE: tom porc Jan 9, 2008 04:11 AM

            "Is the 1962 Bertani special that it cost $266?"

            No. I've had Bertani with age on it. Not ccertain if I've had the '62, though.

            I would not think about spending that type of money for any Amarone not produced by Quintarelli or Dal Forno.

        2. Bill Hunt RE: jcoz23 Jan 7, 2008 03:43 PM

          If you have a Costco nearby, you might want to check their selecions. Just picked up a fair Amarone ($29) and a much nicer one ($40). I do not have TNs on these, and cannot find my list, to give you the producer. It will be moot, should either you not have Costco, or should yours not stock any Amarone. Sorry to be so vague, but it's been a busy four months.


          2 Replies
          1. re: Bill Hunt
            jcoz23 RE: Bill Hunt Jan 8, 2008 08:29 AM

            I am in the Phoenix area also. Which Costco did you pick them up?

            1. re: jcoz23
              Bill Hunt RE: jcoz23 Jan 8, 2008 07:19 PM

              The Desert Ridge shop, 101 & Cave Creek. Of the metro units, their's is the second best for wines. Only Scottsdale beats them out, and it's a bit further to drive (for me), plus the shoppers are a real *treat*, and I do not mean that in a positive way.

              Because of proximity, I support the Desert Ridge store, and only venture to Scottsdale, when I have to. I hate the crowd there... though, they do have a few more high-end wines. Still, I have to have a major reason to go there.


          2. 2top RE: jcoz23 Jan 8, 2008 06:24 AM

            Antica Corte Amarone Classico $29.99

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