The day trip I took with Michele Shah and a group of English-speaking journalists after the Amarone Anteprima finished with Cesari.
The estate, which was founded in 1936 by Gherardo Cesari, is a sizeable winery, and in addition to making wine from grapes from proprietary vineyards, they also purchase grapes from growers whose production they oversee. We started out with a Lugana, which was a welcome change of pace, and then continued with reds.
Cesari Cento Filari Lugana DOC 2009
95% Trebbiano and 5% Chardonnay; they cut the grapes, leaving them in the vineyards to dry for 20 days, and then harvest them. The goal is to increase the body of the wine; considering that it ferments in steel the color suggests the goal has been reached -- it's brilliant brassy gold with slightly greenish reflections. The bouquet is powerful, with bitter almonds and pleasant heather with some sunny acidity as well. On the palate it's full, with fairly rich lemony fruit supported by savory notes and some delicate soft white grape tannins that have a slight burr and flow into a clean fairly bright fresh citrus laced finish with some greenish accents. It will work nicely as an aperitif and with hearty flavorful fish, including fish stews and flavorful grilled fish, and it has the body to work well with white meats too.
Cesari Mara Valpolicella Superiore Ripasso 2008
Deep black cherry ruby with cherry rim; it's close to poured ink. The bouquet is fairly intense, and fruity - plum cherry fruit - with some floral accents and hints of dark chocolate supported by slight cedar and sandalwood. On the palate it's quite approachable, with fairly rich cherry fruit supported by moderately bright berry fruit acidity and by tannins that have a warm greenish burr and flow into a clean slightly sour burr with some leafy undertones that emerge in the finish. It's a bit more direct than the Bosan Ripasso (see below), and a little fresher, something that also depends upon its younger age.
Cesari Bosan Valpolicella Superiore Ripasso 2007
This is made using the skins from the Amarone Bosan. It's deep cherry ruby that has very slightly more brick to it, and this reflects its greater age. The bouquet is fairly powerful, with berry fruit supported by a fair amount of cedar, and some cedar as well, with underlying sandalwood. Harmonious in an international key. On the palate it's quite approachable, with fairly rich cherry fruit that gains definition and is supported by cedar-laced tannins that also have some sandalwood bitterness and mineral acidity; the tannins are quite smooth, and the wine is very approachable in an international key; it will drink well with stews or roasts, and if you like the style you will like it very much.
Cesari Jemma Corvina Veronese IGT 2005
This is a new wine that they decided to make to understand Corvina on its own. They didn't want to recreate Amarone, but did dry the grapes for 20 days. It's impenetrable pyrope with cherry rim, and has a fairly rich bouquet with fresh berry fruit supported by cedar and tart berry fruit acidity with some nutmeg spice and hints of sandalwood. On the palate it's full and rich, with powerful cherry and forest berry fruit supported by deft acidity and by tannins that have a fair amount of cedar to them, and flow into a clean rather bitter cocoa laced finish with berry fruit underpinning. It's pleasant in a very international key, and if you like bright fruit driven wines in this style -- it's not the least bit overripe -- you will enjoy it considerably. It will work very well with stews or roasts, and also with braised meats.
Cesari Amarone Classico della Valpolicella 2007
This sends a year in large wood. Deep black almandine with black reflections and almandine rim. The bouquet is moderately intense, with leathery notes and greenish accents mingled with brown sugar sweetness and some prune plum fruit, while there is also some sandalwood, and a fair amount of peppery spice. On the palate it's full and fairly sweet, with prune fruit supported by greenish acidity and tannins that have a warm burr, and flow into a clean fairly sweet prune finish. It's typical of the vintage, in a softer riper key, with less acidity and brightness to the fruit than I might have liked. This said, it will age nicely for a few years, becoming lacy and rather austere with time.
Cesari Bosco Amarone Classico della Valpolicella 2004
This is from a vineyard near San Pietro in Cariano, and spent 24 months in wood, 12 in bariques and 12 more in large oak. Poured ink; it's deep black almandine with black reflections and cherry rim. The bouquet is fresh, with fairly rich cherry and forest berry fruit supported by bright berry fruit acidity and some sandalwood, with underlying jammy accents and slight nutmeg as well. Pleasant, and quite fresh. On the palate it's full, with fairly rich, fairly bright cherry and forest berry fruit supported by bright berry fruit acidity and by tannins that have a warm peppery sandalwood burr that flows into a fairly long berry fruit finish with peppery tannic underpinning. Pleasant, and much, much brighter than the 07; it's more what I would hope for from an Amarone, and to my mind much more successful.
Cesari Bosan Amarone Classico Della Valpolicella 2003
This spent 36 months in wood, 18 in bariques and another 18 in large oak. Impenetrable black cherry ruby with black reflections and cherry ruby rim. The bouquet is powerful, and frankly oaky, with a great deal of licorice and chocolate that comes from the oak, and also warm bright greenish notes with some cedar, and a fair amount of alcohol as well. It's quite charged, and the fruit is generic red berry fruit more than some thing specific, and this is an effect of the vintage's considerable heat. On the palate it's sweet for an Amarone, with moderately intense generic berry fruit supported by warmth and acidity that's warmer and more fruit driven than I had expected, and by smooth soft tannins that flow into a fairly long warm finish. It's a nice expression of a difficult vintage, and though it does suffer the limitations -- the grapes weren't as properly ripe nor as complex as a better vintage's would have been, it is pleasant and will drink nicely with succulent roasts or stews, and braised meats too, or even a bollito misto.
Want to know more about Cesari? Their Site.
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