Marion Amarone della Valpolicella 2018


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“Marion is located in Marcellise, on the hills east of Verona and just outside of the Soave production zone. At this address, there has always been a focus on pure ripe fruits and a more balanced style instead of leaning on the overuse of appassimento and oak to create large-scale and confectionary wines. At one time, their claim to fame was in part a collaboration with Celestino Gaspari, who had gained recognition working with Giuseppe Quintarelli, and who also went on to create Zyme. In fact, this was the selling point that caught my attention many years ago and got me tasting Marion wines. I’m glad I did, because this continues to be a winery worth watching, even if they’ve morphed slightly in style and work with a new team. The fact is that the real driving force since the very beginning, and what continues to make this winery special, are the owners, Stefano Campedelli and his wife, Nicoletta Fornasa, who are constantly experimenting with methods to bring further refinement to their portfolio. For one thing, there is a constant move toward increasing the percentage of larger, neutral-aging vessels, at this time 30-hectoliter Slavonian oak. Marion has always been known to rely mostly on a combination of tonneaux and large casks, but today, the use of tonneaux has gone down even further to around 10%, and all untoasted. What’s more, Campedelli explained to me that they are looking to reduce the amount of residual sugar in their wines, “wines that you can drink rather than fleshy big-boned wines,” proudly stating that the 2016 Valpolicella comes in at zero grams per liter. Speaking of the wines, the two vintages of Valpolicella (2015 and 2016) were both fantastic, but there is really something special about the 2016, which punches well above its price point. Also from 2016, the Amarone is one to buy and bury in the cellar. Another great showing was the Teroldego, from vines planted using cuttings from Elisabetta Foradori. The 2015 is pure elegance in a glass, and it’s really quite unique. It’s produced using partial appassimento, and it matures just as much as the house Amarone, for three years in large oak and tonneaux. In fact, the only wine from this year’s submission that didn’t find a way to impress me was the 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon, again produced using partial appassimento. It simply didn’t have the depth and structure that you’d expect from both the vintage and the winemaking process. It was simply too easy to like. Overall, though, Marion continues to be at the top of their game.”

Eric Guido, Vinous (02/21)