Friday, March 6, 2015

Loving Italian Amarones with Armando Fumanelli

 Edible Skinny LOVES Amarones, LOVES THEM!!! 
Armando Fumanelli and Maria Brown

ICYMI an Amarone (aka Amarone della Valpolicella) is a typically rich Italian dry red wine made from partially dried grapes of the varietal combination of Corvina, Corvinone, and Rondinella.  It’s like if velvet was transformed through the magical of alchemy into a bottle of wine!  And last week we were lucky enough to try out some fun ones from the family estate of Marchesi Fumanelli at a classic Italian lunch at Mr. Cs in Beverly Hills.   

Our event was hosted by Mister Armando Fumanelli, head of Marchesi Fumanelli family and the wines they produce.  As of 1998 Armando has served as proprietor and CEO of this wine with a goal of combining traditional and modern techniques to produce authentic expression of their family estate’s distinctive terrior.  Before working in the family business, Armando served in the Italian Embassy for several East African and Middle Eastern countries.  Armando definitely gives the Most Interesting Man in the World a run for his money as when he’s not working on the grounds or being an ambassador for Fumanelli he’s racing his twenty plus vintage cars in exotic destinations (gotta Love Italian men flying around racing 1967 Mercedes for 3 days in the South African desert…).  
But back to the wine!  So the continental Squarano estate is located in the heart of Valpolicella Classico area in Verona (yes that Verona, home of a certain pair of infamous star crossed lovers…) on a gentle hilltop surrounded by vineyards, cypress, and cherry trees (apparently they have a fabulous cherry festival every year on the estate where all the female guests must dress in red!).

Wine is nothing new to Armando as the Marchesi Fumanelli family have been fostering grapes and producing wines since 1470.  Located on 78 acre Squarano estate are vestiges of a temple dedicated to the Goddess Flora, built by the Romans who planted the first vines over a thousand years ago.

Mr. Cs' Gnocchi
Of the wines sampled at that multi multi course meal (gotta Love Italians and there Love of 3 hours lunches…) one of our favorite delights was their white Terson Bianco Venteo 2009 MSRP $40).  Their only white wine is a 50/50 blend of Garganega and Trebbiano Toscano.   The wine’s high minerality is due to their fifty-year-old vines growing over limestone rocks.  Once hand harvested the grapes are then placed into plateau where they are left to rest for 15-20 days.   The result is tangy acidity with flavors of green apple, almond, and fennel that’s great balance to lobster and scallops!

Our other favorite was their flagship, the Octavius Amarone della Valpolicella DOC Classico Riserva (MSRP $150).  Composed of the classic Amarone balance of Corvina Veronese 40%, Corvinone 40%, Rondinella 20%.  The vines are forty years on average and are hand selected and then placed into the traditional wooden plateaux and left to rest for 120 days with drying and concentration of all the elements.  

Grilled Veggies at Mr. Cs
This is a wine traditionally enjoyed with boar meat (and this was actually suggested in at the lunch… Gotta Love Italians and their love of game meat…), hard cheeses, and dark chocolate.  Full of spice, cherry, and cranberries with a dark ruby red coloring and a viscosity that screams a vampire should sip it.  

So if you’re looking a classical Mediterranean bottle that whispers to you of that dream of velvet being transformed into wine, Armando Fumanelli would say “stay thirsty my friends and Salute”! 

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