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2 Feb


Nicolis 2009 Amarone Della Valpolicella

In the spirit of full disclosure, let me preface this very first Friday Sips wine post with the fact that I am nothing remotely close to a Sommelier nor am I relatively close to being a Wine Connoisseur. I am simply your average everyday wine loving girl.

What I would like to accomplish by starting this series of posts is to share with you my thoughts on a particular wine I’ve tried and through that learn something in the process. I hope you join me along this journey. Shall we begin?

Step one to getting us closer to becoming a wine connoisseur a well-informed wine enthusiast (baby steps) is to begin by building our wine know-how. We will do this by drinking our wine with the four S’s in mind. Some say 4 S’s, others say 5 S’s, even 6 S’s. I am a less is more type of girl and I also have a terrible memory. So we are going to stick with the 4 S’s.

This week we will explore the first ‘S’.


Before we begin to swirl, smell, or even sip our wine we must first examine its color, clarity, and opacity. Preferably against a white background to better determine it’s hue.

What’s the big deal about examining its color? By examining the wine’s color we are able to determine a few things about the wine. Such as vintage(age), varietal(grape variety), density of flavor, and more.

Wine gets its color from being in contact with grape skins. The longer the skins are in contact with the grape juice during fermentation the more color gets transferred to the wine. If the grapes are skinned and then juiced, meaning they never come in contact with their skins the resulting wine will have no color.

If we pour ourselves a glass of white wine and its color is light and bright we can assume this wine spent little time with its skins and probably wasn’t aged in an oak barrel. What we can expect from this type of wine is a crisp and refreshing taste.

If the color of the wine is a more of a deep yellow as is the case for most chardonnays. It is usually an indicator that the wine was probably fermented in oak barrel and aged in an oak barrel.The taste we can expect from these types of wines is much richer, bolder and smoother.

The same rules apply to reds. Take for example an average rosé its muted pink shade indicates a light and bright wine. As the wine starts getting into the darker shades of red and into the maroons the wine becomes much bolder and richer. Which is again, an indicator that the grape juice was in contact with the grape skins for a much longer time during fermentation and probably spent more time aging in an oak barrel.

Here are a couple of very informative articles on understanding types of wine by color. One specifically on reds and one on whites.

Nicolis 2009 Amarone Della Valpolicella

Now that we’ve got our first ‘S’ down. Let’s chat about this Nicolis 2009 Amarone Della Valpolicella which my boyfriend so kindly picked up for me during a routine trip to our local Costco.


Average price: $40
Winery: Nicolis
Grapes: Corvina · Rondinella · Molinara · Croatina (This combination of grapes is also known as Valpolicella Blend)
Region: Amarone della Valpolicella Classico, Veneto, Italy
Regional style: Italian Amarone
Food Pairing: Beef, Lamb, Venison, Blue cheese
Wine style: Red – Rich and Intense


I don’t have a decanter (I know!) I’ve been making due with that sad little bottle aerator you see in the pic above. So sad right? I intend on getting one soon, I just haven’t done my research to find the best one out there yet. Any suggestions are welcome.

Upon taking my first sip of this wine I was hit in the face with a burst of cherry. That was really the only flavor I picked up, remember I’m still learning to discern. I thought the wine was bold and smooth, it went especially well with my dinner of lamb, rice, and tzatziki. For dessert, I had a slice of walnut chocolate chip banana bread and surprisingly I enjoyed it with that too! I rated it four stars on my Vivino app and would definitely have it again.

If you would like to expand your knowledge on Amarone, here is an incredibly detailed and informative article.

Nicolis 2009 Amarone Della Valpolicella

Let me know your thoughts on this series, did you like the format? Was it too much? Too little? Are there any changes you would like me to make? Thanks so much for taking the time to read this super long post! x -j

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