Valley of Many Cellars
val — poli — cella


The Valley of Many Cellars

A quest through the rolling, pastoral zone that is The Valley of Many Cellars (the val-poli-cella) offers sweeping views of small fiefdoms dotting the landscape. Nestled in the hills, the almost two hundred feudal properties border each other on all sides, their battlefields now vineyards, their conquests recognition for and sales of their wares. Each kingdom has its lore, a romantic yarn spinning human history, technique, and wisdom passed down from yesteryear. Today’s citizens carry out farming and production tasks that occupy the space between Mother Nature’s will and the end consumers’ wants.


The Legend of Amarone

If Cabernet Sauvignon to the west is the king of wine, and Riesling to the north the Prima Ballerina, then the local Amarone has to be the club-wielding Giant. Not born, but made from mortal grapes through the alchemy of concentration and conversion, the magic process imbues tremendous power and size, but can also amplify imperfections and asymmetry. Giants can be ugly, overweight and simple, but so too can they be dashing, powerful and complex. Thus the raw material must be perfect and the spell must be correct.

Amarone, ‘the great bitter’, rode into North America after WWII on the coattails of its minstrel Valpolicella. Once Valpolicella charmed its audience with a sprightly, easy melody from the corvina, rondinella and molinara grape varieties, Amarone emerged with its sonorous baseline and seductive seriousness. The grapes and vineyard sources are the same. But where Valpolicella is fermented dry from freshly harvested grapes, Amarone uses those same grapes left to dry. The desiccation concentrates sugars to give more body, increases the aromatic spectrum, and then amplifies that spectrum. If the fruit isn’t pretty, we see it more clearly, and the road to completion is fraught with the danger of rot.

Click right here to read more about Amarone from Matt Browman at Culinaire Magazine.


Traditional Style Amarone

Farina 2009 Amarone

Brigaldera 2008 Amarone


Modern Style Amarone

Masi 2008 Costasera

Zenato 2007


About Culinaire Magazine

Culinaire serves up features on dining in, dining out, wine, beer, spirits and cocktails. Culinaire is a food and beverage magazine tempting tastebuds, engaging appetites, and celebrating Alberta. We’re highlighting local people and learning from their experience and success. Sharing their secrets are chefs, sommeliers, brewers, mixologists, restaurateurs, and local food and beverage experts.