A super video of Pierangelo Tommasi giving a brief overview of his family’s Amarone, timely as we release the 2009 vintage into the market.
Tommasi is historically and today a standard bearer of the Amarone appellation, and one of the most important quality producers in the Veneto. The family-run estate was founded in 1902 by Giacomo Tommasi in the village of Pedemonte, which lies in the heart of the Valpolicella Classico region that extends north-west of Verona. The family owns 234 acres in Valpolicella Classico, making them the single largest land owners in the area. Over the years they have steadily expanded their holdings in other areas of the Veneto, and now own a total of 370 acres. As has been the case since the winery’s establishment, the family works only with grapes they grow, an important quality decision and reflection of their deep connection to the Valpolicella soil.
Tommasi is now run by the fourth generation of the family, six siblings and cousins who share different responsibilities at the winery. Giancarlo Tommasi, 38, is the principal winemaker, and studied winemaking the University of Udine in Friuli. Strict in his philosophy to respect the integrity of the terroir and the traditional ways of winemaking in Valpolicella, he dries all grapes for his Amarone in the traditional fruttaio room for at least three months, and prefers to age his wines in large oak casks over small barriques. Tommasi is known for this classic approach that favors elegance and balance, with deep fruit complimented by spicy, earthy flavors.
Giancarlo’s uncle, Sergio Tommasi, manages the viticulture at the estate. The five valleys of San Ambrogio, San Pietro in Cariano, Fumane, Marano and Negrar dominate the western, best and Classico-designated part of the region, and are often said to resemble the fingers of a hand. Tommasi’s vineyards are located in two of these valleys: Sant’ Ambrogio and San Pietro in Cariano. While they have a very traditional approach in the cellar, Tommasi is considered an innovator in the way they manage their vineyards. Tommasi was one of the first wineries to introduce the guyot method over the more traditional pergola system of vine-training, and their vineyards are planted at very high density, with resulting lower yields and fruit of increased complexity and concentration.
The winery made a major series of investments in 1997, when it purchased new land in and around Soave and Lake Garda, as well as a second estate in the coastal area of Maremma in Tuscany. They also made major investments in the winery in Valpolicella over the last several years, extending the winery’s vinification facilities and building a new aging cellar for their Amarone, due to open in April of 2012. The family also owns Villa Quaranta, a seventeenth-century villa just outside of Verona that has been converted to a beautiful hotel and conference center, and two of Verona’s beloved restaurants, Antico Caffé Dante, which they own entirely, and Bottega del Vino, in which they are part owners.