Robert Parker 97
This wine is seamless and fearless, and there’s little else that really needs to be said about it, except that, at $850 per bottle, there’s probably some more explaining to do. Packaged in a release of 4,500 heavy glass bottles, the Zýmè 2008 Amarone della Valpolicella Classico Riserva La Mattonara is a massive wine with wonderful exaggerations of ripe fruit, oak spice, dark aromas and thick texture. It all plays out beautifully in the end, and it will appeal to Amarone fans and other big-wine enthusiasts who are not given pause by its price tag or its 16% alcohol. The traditional blend sees Corvina, Corvinone, Rondinella, Molinara, Oseleta and Croatina. There’s nothing at all shy about this wine, whose name evokes the Italian word for “brick” or “hammer.” Even that oversize and profoundly eco-unfriendly bottle could be used to hammer nails into a brick. Its character is dark, brooding and spicy, but the appassito fruit is impeccably balanced, period.
Anticipated maturity: 2025-2055
The 2008 Amarone della Valpolicella Riserva La Mattonara keeps you at the edge of the glass, as it opens up in layers, showing dried cherries, currants and hints of pine. Further coaxing brings forward savory smoke followed by crushed blackberries, cinnamon, clove and candied citrus. The textures are like pure silk, slowly draped across the palate with a polished sheen, leaving ripe red and black fruits, mocha, sweet herbs and autumnal spice. You can feel the weight, yet the 2008 remains remarkably balanced, vibrant and flat-out delicious, with a finish that never seems to end. The Riserva La Mattonara is produced through strict selection in the vineyards, followed by three months of air-drying, two months of maceration and nine years maturing in large Slavonian oak. In a word—Wow!
Anticipated maturity: 2021-2038