WTN: 2001 Primo Moda (Amarone) Cab/Merlot

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WTN: 2001 Primo Moda (Amarone) Cab/Merlot

Postby Ian Sutton » Thu Nov 05, 2009 5:58 pm

I was tempted to say that here's a wine, that whilst using the same grape varieties, would be as far away from Bordeaux as you could get. However with current trends in right bank Bordeaux, my comment may be open to challenge :wink: This wine is made via the Amarone method of drying some of the grapes before fermentation, though owner Joe Grilli incurred the wrath of the Italian authorities a few years ago for using 'Amarone' hence the wine is now called 'Moda' (lit. 'Fashion').

2001 Primo Estate Cabernet-Merlot Joseph Moda (Amarone) - Australia, South Australia, Mount Lofty Ranges, Adelaide Plains (11/5/2009)
Still a deep and youthful colour, with just a touch of age at the rim.

Rich plummy,veering towards currant-like fruit & milk chocolate on the nose, but with a measure of restraint. On the rich palate, good liquery (plum/orange) dried but not baked fruit, backed again by a thread of milk chocolate (think Milka!) through the core, with quite tangy acidity and soft residual tannins keeping the wine in check. A good long, finish of good intensity gives an autumnal warming feeling (but without any fire from the sometimes elevated alcohol of this label).

Overall perhaps the best we've had from this label. It's seemed a challenge in the other bottles we've tried (mix of vintages) to get balance. In this instance the balance seems right, though perhaps it's helped by matching mood/food/weather. That said, this is no delicate wallflower of a wine :)

For the record, alc% listed at 14.5%
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Re: WTN: 2001 Primo Moda (Amarone) Cab/Merlot

Postby Bob Parsons Alberta » Fri Nov 06, 2009 4:53 am

I had to scratch my head when I switched on and saw the thread title. Amarone/Cab/Merlot. Nice one Ian!
I think Joe has raised quite a few eyebrows with some of his wines. Makes it more fun eh.
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Re: WTN: 2001 Primo Moda (Amarone) Cab/Merlot

Postby Hoke » Fri Nov 06, 2009 4:01 pm

This is very interesting, Ian (and thanks for posting), especially since a CA winemaker friend and I had tinkered around with some of what we called "Malbecarone" a few years ago. Didn't work, really, because we didn't have the right variety, and we didn't have the same humidity conditions, and couldn't leave it in vats for four years...

Also talked to a winemaker down in Southern Orgeon (Crater Lake Cellars) that is making a Merlot Ripasso style wine, but haven't had a chance to taste that.

This is all so interesting because the creation of the amarone---and the ripasso method---in the Veneto was driven by the desire to do through technique (intervention and manipulation) what couldn't be done naturally given the combination of climate and variety and farming techniques.

That is to say, the vintners were trying to get a fairly moderate and inexpressive "light" grape, grown in an area that did not lend itself historically to "big" grape varieties, to produce big, massive, silky, intensely flavored and intensely aromatic wines.

Corvina/Corvinone and the other blending grapes in the Veneto simply didn't deliver that style of wine, so the ripasso/amarone (drying and concentration and extended aging in inert containers) delivered what the region lacked...which meant the vintners could have their own version of big,massive wines instead of having to rely on other areas (such as Piedmont and Bordeaux, say).

But it's another thing altogether when you take varieties that tend to be big and expressive to begin with and put them through the same process. And especially so in places like Australia, where I've heard there's no particular problem with warmth and dryness and getting the grapes mature (if not overly so). :D

So, again, thanks for an intriguing report.
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Re: WTN: 2001 Primo Moda (Amarone) Cab/Merlot

Postby Ian Sutton » Fri Nov 06, 2009 4:12 pm

Hoke wrote:This is very interesting, Ian (and thanks for posting), especially since a CA winemaker friend and I had tinkered around with some of what we called "Malbecarone" a few years ago.

"Malbecarone" - the wine with it's own dance! :lol: Perhaps of interest would be what Veneto wine producer Masi has done in Argentina with their ripasso (Passo Doble), plus more pertinently the Corbec (Corvina/Malbec blend) whose production method I don't recall exactly, but may well include some dried grapes. Wel worth a try - should be around $25-35 a bottle.

Yes the Adelaide Plains are by all accounts 'warm climate', yet as Bob says, Grilli seems a wonderful innovator / crafter of wine - including his Sparkling shiraz, that has older wines (varioualy I've heard of this wine, port, aged reds from other producers) added with the expedition liquer. He now also makes a Nebbiolo, which I'd be keen to try sometime.

Bob
I can't remember where I got this - possibly Noel Young in Cambridge or from auction.

regards

Ian
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Re: WTN: 2001 Primo Moda (Amarone) Cab/Merlot

Postby Tim York » Fri Nov 06, 2009 4:40 pm

I have come across this wine at tastings and have liked it a lot. Ian's TN captures its essence very well. Indeed I wonder whether a grape with rigour and structure like Cabernet Sauvignon or Nebbiolo does not lend itself better to the Amarone style than Valpolicella's Corvina, etc. which can seem flabby.

I mention Nebbiolo with some wonderful Valtellina Sforzato in mind.
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