Riserva status requires a minumin of 30 months in barrel and 6 months in bottle before release, making Reserva the "ne ultra plus" of the world of Amarone. This flagship of the Fabiano estate, named in honour of the family's founding generation (I Fondatori = The Founders), has an exuberant nose followed by ripe fruits, chocolate, hazelnut and classic cigar box notes on the palate. A mouth-coatingly long finish.
Amarone... yet another thing (alledgedly) the Romans have done for us, with the source of this wine dating back to those times. So here's how it works: grapes are harvested as usual, but rather than being used to make wine immediately (fresh grapes are used to make Valpolicella wine), some of the grapes are laid out on straw mats and left to dry in a cool, well-aired space. They can be dried for anywhere between 60 and 110 days, with the water inside the grapes evaporating and the skins thickening ... leaving all the good stuff inside .... These raisins are then pressed, and the resulting juice is fermented to make wine. Having shed so much water during the drying out process, the "must" (grape juice) has much more sugar, and richer darker fruit flavours, than fresh must. And as fermentation is the process of converting sugars into alcohol, the wine is typically high in alcohol (15%-16% abv), rich, weighty and deliciously complex. Of course, the Romans would then have adulterated it with spices, wood bark, sea water and all sorts of other dodgy additions, but luckily today we just let the wine speak for itself!
The history of the Fabiano Family in the wine making industry started in 1912, when Francesco Fabiano opened a wine store in Venice, just a few steps from St. Marco's Cathedral. His son Sergio, having made his store very popular in the whole city, started trading wine throughout the Veneto region. A clever merchant and a charismatic character, in 1955 he engaged himself in the production and distribution of bottled wine, buying a small estate in Lazise on the Veronese shore of Garda lake. The business flourished at a very rapid pace and in 1968 the winery was moved to its current location in Sona, an area uniquely suited for wine growing (half way between the city of Verona and Lake Garda). During the nineties the vineyards and winery were expanded, with the estate now owning some 50 hectares of vineyard. A new cellar in San Pietro in Cariano was established for the drying of grapes, with wine making and maturation facilities.