Cellar notes #57: Amarone all-stars

Amarone's concentrated richness and power make it an excellent wine for cellaring for anything from five to 10 years plus. It's not a cheap wine, but at its best, its distinctive character makes it a special-occasion wine to savour. For a glimpse of the style at the (relatively) affordable end, the 2000 Sainsbury's Classic Selection Amarone, £10.99, offers ripe, plum-pudding richness.

At the high end, the pure seductive, sweet-and-sour cherry fruit and fresh tangy character of the muscular, spicy and powerful 1999 Serego Alighieri, Vaia Armaron Masi, must have something going for it because thieves broke into Masi and stole 12,000 bottles this month; £26.99, Wimbledon Wine Cellar (020-8540 9979). The 1999 Amarone della Valpolicella, Marion, Stefano Campedelli is deeply perfumed with cherry concentration and deceptively delicate fruit in an accessible modern style; £35-£40, Uncorked (020-7638 5998); Raeburn Fine Wines, Edinburgh (0131 343 1159).

Another superb red, the 1999 Amarone Le Ragose is richly endowed with spicy and superbly fresh fruit. This is around £31.99, Winecellars, London (020-8963 4816); Swig, London W4 (freephone 08000 272 272); Wimbledon Wine; The Great Northern Wine Co (01765 606767). In the 2000 Allegrini Amarone, the mulberry fruit character is immensely concentrated, the framework muscular demanding a mature cheese for company; £33.95-£35.95, Harrods, Harvey Nichols, La Reserve, Connollys of Birmingham (0121 236 9269), Valvona & Crolla, Edinburgh (0131 556 6066), Waitrose Canary Wharf.

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