Monte del Drago
SURFACE AREA: 20 acres

GEOLOGICAL COMPOSITION OF THE SOIL: tuffaceous with white clay.


EXPOSURE: South-West.


ESTATE: Musella

WINEMAKER: Maddalena Pasqua di Bisceglie

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Musella estate

Monte del Drago is a picturesque vineyard with a south-west profile, located at the top of the hill of the same name that rises in the middle of Tenuta Musella. Its geological composition sets it apart from other vineyards on the estate due to the different soil properties: a limestone base is topped by a layer of pure tufa which mixes with the characteristic red clay (found in all the soil on the estate’s hills), making it a little finer and less dense, ideal for enhancing the complexity of the Corvina grapes that form the basis of Amarone. Monte del Drago has a very significant standing within the estate. The panoramic views from the summit have been a frequent inspiration for all of the most important decisions made by Maddalena and her family. It is no coincidence that the site of the house currently inhabited by Maddalena and her children once featured an ancient hermitage or meditation point. When enjoying the view, it is easy to appreciate why it has always been a place that allows reflection and contemplation. Apart from the five acres at the very summit that are dedicated to white Garganega and Pinot Bianco grapes, the remainder is planted with Veronese grapes used for the production of Amarone: Corvina, Corvinone, Rondinella and Oseleta, which are planted alternately and together with the colourful cover crops revitalise the hillsides in the spring.

According to the production code, Amarone is 45% to 95% made from Corvina grapes, with the remainder coming from Molinara grapes (from 5% to 30%) and other red varieties. The minimum aging period is two years; after four years it can be labelled as a reserve wine. The minimum ABV is 14%.

This history of Amarone dates back to the end of the Second World War in the mid-1940s. Legend has it that during the war many winemakers hid bottles of Recioto in their cellars, and as they were not able to check on them regularly, some of the wine had enough time to ferment, mature and age. This practice had never been attempted previously; indeed, at the time there was no tradition of aging wine, not even the highly praised Recioto. The Recioto that was allowed to continue to ferment was dubbed Recioto scapà (‘escaped’ Recioto). When tasted it was no longer sweet, in fact it had turned rather bitter. It was later renamed as Amarone, from the Italian for very bitter: “Senti che amaro è questo vin, anzi… è amarone!” Amarone’s great potential was certainly not recognised immediately. On the contrary, initially the wine was greatly misunderstood, and considered the product of a costly mistake. It clearly was not pleasing to the palates of the time, and so ‘escaped’ Recioto was considered to be a ruined wine that could be decanted in small amounts into weak Valpolicella to fortify its structure. The Bertani and Bolla cellars were the first to grasp the product’s great potential, aging it for ten years and then bottling large quantities that were successfully exported across Europe. The wine’s major commercial breakthrough year was 1985, when Amarone achieved hitherto unknown success and became the most famous Veneto red in the world. At the beginning there was no production code for Amarone. In 1968 it was still confined to a single line: “there is a dry version of Recioto della Valpolicella known as Amarone”. How things changed in less than twenty years! To all intents and purposes, Amarone is a fairly recent phenomenon. It was initially only consumed locally, although it was appreciated by true connoisseurs the world over. It is a wine with unique characteristics, rich in alcohol and with a high glycerin content, it is very well structured and powerful, but still retains its elegance. It is deep ruby red in colour, soft and well structured, with claret or violet hues, and has a ripe fruity aroma, with hints of spices, chocolate and underlying pyrite.
The grape varieties available
in Amarone - Musella