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My experience with a Sexy 20 year old....bottle of wine.

Updated on July 11, 2013
Sartori Amarome...Not the bottle I drank.
Sartori Amarome...Not the bottle I drank.

1982 Sartori Amarone

It was some time around October of 2002 when my friend Joe and his lovely wife Cheryl invited us over for dinner. The table was set elegantly and the lights were dimmed. The ambiance was perfect and we were in the best of company. Joe brought up a bottle of 1982 Sartori Amarone della Valpolicella. Amarone a dry robust Italian wine made from a blend of three grapes, Corvina, Rondinella and Molinara that are grown in the Veneto region of Northeastern Italy, and is best when 10 years old or older. We didn't know what to expect at this point. He carefully uncorked the bottle and slowly decanted it, being careful not to let any of the sediment pour into the decanter. Immediately a foul stench of mold and must filled the air. We looked at each other in disbelief. This was one of our favorite wines and we always bought it by the case and split it. This was the last remaining bottle so as you can imagine we were heart broken. Regardless, he poured us each a glass and we took a sip. The wine had no body, it was pale in color and tasted like stale vinegar. He set the decanter aside, walked down to his wine cellar (which at the time consisted of a collection of wine boxes lying on their side in the corner of the basement). He came back with a bottle of Kendall Jackson Cabernet Sauvignon that was exceptional.

Kendall Jackson Vintner's Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon

The K-J Cab cost us about 1/3 as much as the Sartori Amarone did, so we were very satisfied. Kendall Jackson grapes are grown in Napa and Sonoma Counties and are 100% Jackson Estates grown.

The Sonoma mountains and hillside add black cherry flavors while the Napa County mountain vineyards add blackberry, cassis and cedar flavor.

The juice is aged in French and American Oak barrels for 15 months and the end result is a wine that is rich and well rounded.

About an hour had passed now and as we were eating dinner I smelled fresh flowers. Joe noticed me looking around and he asked "is something was wrong". I asked him where the flowers were and he said there were no flowers in the house. Then I asked him if he had an air freshener nearby and again he said no. I got up and walked to the decanter that contained the Amarone. OMG! The bouquet was oozing from the decanter that held Amarone. He looked at me and both our eyes lit up! I poured us each a glass. The wine had magically transformed from this musty, moldy, stale vinegar to this fragrant full bodied sexy vixen with legs that lingered from the rim of the glass all the way down to the stem. This luscious, full bodied beauty had hints of dark chocolate, rasiny and was mildly spicy with a hint of oak. I don't think we could have done anything to improve this wine other than to give it time to breathe. To this date was one of my most memorable wine-drinking experiences.

I always knew that a fine red wine required time to breathe. Some how when the wine and air mix something magical happens and the wine comes to life. It's as if the air resuscitates the juice that has been kept dormant. Every sip we took was better than the last and when the bottle was dry we just sat quietly and relived the entire experience.

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    • beingwell profile image

      beingwell 5 years ago from Bangkok

      Nice. The oldest wine I've had is a 5-year old. Long enough... but nothing compared to you 2-decade wine. Voted up and shared!

    • profile image

      stessily 5 years ago

      TycoonSam, It is understandable that this episode is at the top of your wine memories. The transformation in wine just from being given space to breathe is enchanting, a true metamorphosis from an ugly duckling into a graceful swan. I hope that you share more of your wine tales here.

      Appreciatively, Stessily

    • tonymead60 profile image

      Tony Mead 5 years ago from Yorkshire


      nice evocative hub; it sounds a real treat. I love the pleasure of opening a wine laid-down maybe a decade before and then brought back into the light. There can be disapointment, but when it is right it is perfect. I love a matured auslese or ice wine from Germany because they turn into pure honey.

      you Italian red sounds devine, my friend Fabio is drooling at the thought of it.



    • TycoonSam profile image

      TycoonSam 5 years ago from Washington, MI

      Thanks for the comment Rick. It definitely a memorable experience.

    • TycoonSam profile image

      TycoonSam 5 years ago from Washington, MI

      Thank you for that insight rjsadowski!

    • rjsadowski profile image

      rjsadowski 5 years ago

      Amarone is a rather unusual wine in that the grapes can be almost raiseny when the wine is made. This often results in high alcohol content and a slightly oxidized taste which may account for the initial slightly musty taste.

    • Denise Handlon profile image

      Denise Handlon 5 years ago from North Carolina

      Great story! Thanks for sharing.

    • TycoonSam profile image

      TycoonSam 5 years ago from Washington, MI

      Sylvaine, Thanks for stopping by and commenting.

    • TycoonSam profile image

      TycoonSam 5 years ago from Washington, MI

      Thanks for reading Rick. I have a lot more wine stories but this one is at the top of the list.

    • TycoonSam profile image

      TycoonSam 5 years ago from Washington, MI

      Peggy, That's a great idea to call the restaurant ahead of time to decant the wine for you! Thanks for the advice.

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 5 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Many wines...especially older ones...need that breathing time to fully open up as you experienced with the Amarone. Years ago we called a favorite Italian restaurant of ours and had them open a bottle of wine several hours before we even got there. Check out my wine decanters hub. There are good reasons to let wines breathe ahead of enjoying them. Glad that it worked out for you and your friends. Up and interesting votes.

    • tammyswallow profile image

      Tammy 5 years ago from North Carolina

      This is a very enjoyable read. You have great writing skills!

    • Rickrideshorses profile image

      Rickrideshorses 5 years ago from England

      Great description of your wine drinking experience. It seems incredible that the win transformed how it did after having time to 'breathe'.