The day after the Amarone Anteprima, the Consorzio organized several tours through the region for those who had come to the presentation, and I joined Michelle Shah and several other English-speaking journalists. Our first stop was Villa Monteleone, which is in the town of Gargagnago.
The place is quite beautiful, and in addition to making wines they operate a bed & breakfast with very nice rooms, a couple of which are pictured here. In short, you could well go for the wines and stay on to explore the area.
Raffaele Bovo, their cellarmaster and agronomist, said, in the course of showing us around, that the varietal breakdown of the wines is roughly 70% Corvina, 20% Corvinone, and 5% each Rondinella and Molinara. The Amarone has relatively more Corvina and Corvinone, though the varietals are mixed in the vineyards, and this makes separating them out more difficult. Of their production, about 85% is exported.
The Wines, Tasted at the end of January 2011:
Villa Monteleone Campo Santa Lena Valpolicella Classico 2009
Ferments in steel, and ages 6 months in bottle. Lively cherry ruby with pink rim. The bouquet is bright and fresh, with rich sour cherries supported by brambly acidity and savory notes, also some underbrush and greenish vegetal accents. Bright, with hints of dappled shade. On the palate it's fairly rich, with nice red berry fruit supported by moderate acidity and by tannins that seem a little dry when drunk by itself, but that will work nicely to balance something such as pasta with a meat sauce or succulent burgers. The finish is pleasantly fruity with some vegetal accents, and you could well want a second bottle.
Villa Monteleone Campo San Vito Valpolicella Superiore 2008
This is a ripasso; the wine spends 4-5 days on the lees of the Amarone -- not longer because the seeds can give off less good aromas if the riapssata is overdone. Lively cherry ruby with black reflections. The bouquet is fairly intense, with sour cherries supported by greenish sandalwood and pleasant spice with slight jammy accents. Nice balance and pleasant to sniff; it opens nicely gaining intensity of both fruit and spice, hints nutmeg and mace. On the palate it's pleasant, with fairly rich cherry fruit supported by tannins that have pleasing bitter accents and a slight burr that flows into a clean slightly greenish finish. Pleasant, and will work very well with hearty stews and succulent roasts, but needs another year or two to get its bearings and smooth. I would expect it to age well for 5-8 years.
Villa Monteleone Amarone della Valpolicella DOC Classico 2007
Deep cherry ruby with bright black reflections. The bouquet is fairly rich, and bright for a 2007, with cherry fruit that has some prune accents supported by some brown sugar and hints of sandalwood with underlying hints of jamminess. On the palate it's ample and rich, with powerful cherry plum fruit supported by moderate acidity and clean fairly sweet tannins that have slight bitter accents and a slight burr that will smooth in with time; the finish is fairly sweet and fairly long with some bitter accents. Pleasant, and will drink nicely with succulent stews or boiled meats now, though it will reward those who have some patience.
Villa Monteleone Amarone della Valpolicella DOC Classico 2005
Deep ruby with almandine rim. The bouquet is fairly rich, with brighter cherry fruit (now) than the 07, with berry fruit supported by brambly accents and sandalwood, with hints of cumin and sea salt too. Considerable complexity On the palate it's rich, with elegant red berry fruit supported by deft acidity and some brown sugar sweetness, with tannins that are a touch drier than they might be in a better vintage, with some hints of vanilla as well, and flows into a clean slightly sour finish. Very pleasant in an obviously lesser, cooler wetter vintage key: with respect to a better vintage it's thinner and lighter, but is a very fine expression of the 05.
Villa Monteleone Recioto della Valpolicella 2004
This spends three years in wood before bottling, during which time they watch it closely because it is want to referment. Deep black almandine with black reflections. The bouquet is elegant, and a bit less sweet than some, with bitter accents mingled into the sweetness, brown sugar, some vegetal notes, hints of green squash (which sounds odd but works very well), dates and dried fruit, and opens beautifully, growing and gaining in complexity. On the palate it's rich, with elegant plum cherry fruit supported by deft acidity and smooth sweet tannins that flow into a rich, sweet finish. Beautiful wine, and the perfect thing to open with (good) friends far from the table, and will work very well with cheeses too.
Villa Monteleone Recioto della Valpolicella 2005 Deep black almandine with black reflections and almandine in the rim. The bouquet is elegant, with cantaloupe and hints of sandalwood on the outset, followed by elegant fried fruit and underlying sweetness. Quite pleasant to sniff, and beautiful depth. On the palate it's very rich, with elegant cherry fruit, supported by deft cedar that is a bit more apparent than in the 04, though this is also because it's a year younger, and flows into a long sweet berry fruit finish. Beautiful, and most impressive, with some sandalwood spice in the finish as well.
Want to know more about the winery or the B&B? Their Site
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