Amarone is a red wine that we have featured a number of times on the pages of the Xtrawine blog and there are many producers in the Veneto region who have developed strong reputations based on the quality of their Amarones.
While the wine perhaps does not boast the level of recognition that a number of other reds produced in the country have, especially in international markets, what cannot be denied is that when an Amarone is done right it stands as one of the greatest Italian red wines of all time.
This week we will be taking a look at a producer that has dedicated itself to creating fine wines that everybody can enjoy. Bertani has maintained a stellar reputation for more than 150 years, so before looking at one of the company’s best Amarones we’ll take a look at the origins of Bertani and where it stands in the current winemaking industry.
Founded in 1857 by two brothers – Giovan Battista and Gaetano Bertani – the winery was located just north of Verona and quickly developed a reputation because of the talents of the two men involved. Gaetano, in particular, was already an expert in the art of winemaking, having travelled to France to develop his skills under the watchful eye of Professor Guyot, who to this day is still considered one of the world’s leading authorities on Viticulture.
Together the brothers focused on innovation from the off, making use of the latest production techniques, many of which Gaetano had brought over from France. Both the cellars and vineyards benefited from this attitude, while the brothers still made it a point to respect their land and the traditions that the region held so dear.
Combining this penchant for innovation with a business acumen that outstripped that of many of the company’s rivals, Bertani stood out in Verona very quickly. The company was one of the first to truly understand the value of bottled wine and what it brought to the table in terms of improving the quality of their products and ensuring that customers had everything they expected when they made their purchases.
The company was also one of the first to take advantage of growing international interest in Italian wine, with their products being amongst the most popular in a number of American cities before the 1800s had concluded. It was also during this period that the Accademia di Agricoltura, Arti e Commercio di Verona nominated the company’s operation as a model farm, demonstrating the quality and professionalism that defined the company in the early years of existence and still define it in the present day.
Having established such a stellar reputation over the course of 50 years, the company was one of the first to be recognized under the new Kingdom of Italy by being granted the royal warrant in 1923. Though the warrant no longer holds the power it once did since Italy became a republic, it is still a mark of the regard that the company was held in well into the 1900s and acts as recognition that has driven the company forward in the years that followed.
This association with royalty continued for a number of years. In 1937, the company’s Soave was on the menu during the coronation of Britain’s King George VI.
However, it is with Amarone that the company will always be linked. It was Bertani’s efforts in 1958 to create “the Wine” that was made to last forever that resulted in the creation of Amarone. While many other producers have since offered their own takes on this amazing wine, Bertani is the only one that is able to claim to have been the innovator.
Today, the company maintains more than 200 hectares of vineyards spread all across the region of Verona, each one having been specially selected because of its suitability for the wines that the company creates.
The international expansion that had defined the company so much during the tail end of the 19th century also continues. Today, the company distributes its wines all over the world, having established a solid foothold throughout Europe in addition to consolidating its base in the United States.
The Bertani company truly stands as one of the most iconic in the long and storied history of Italian wine. With such a long history and the track record of innovation, which directly lead to the creation of one of Italy’s foremost varieties of red wine, it is likely that the two brothers who started the whole venture would be delighted with the reputation for quality, professionalism and innovation that the company has developed and maintained to the present day.
Through it all, Bertani has stuck to two key principles – innovation in winemaking and the business acumen required to ensure that the company, and wine industry as a whole succeed in an increasingly challenging and expanding market.
So with all of that being said, we think it’s about time to take a look at one of Bertani’s Amarones to find out just what makes it so special.
As you would expect, given that the company was the innovator of the wine, the Bertani Amarone Classico 2007 is amongst the best of its kind that you will find anywhere in the world.
Aged to perfection, as can be seen with just a cursory glance at the bottle and a note of the brilliant ruby red colouring, it is a wine that demands respect from the moment it is opened.
Uncorking the bottle will leave your nose awash with some beautifully balanced aromas, with hints of red fruits like plums and cherries being balanced with a number of more subtle tones that combine spices, fruits and liquorice to great effect.
All of this serves to heighten the senses in anticipation for the wine being introduced to the palette. The notes of red berries and fruits will come to the fore immediately, with the wine being offered an unexpected sweetness by the hints of vanilla that you will notice beneath the surface. Everything is in perfect balance and this stands as one of the best red wines to be available in wide circulation.