Vineyard: Sourced from the Vigneto Alto vineyard which was planted in 1970. 260m in elevation.
Soil: Toar (basalt) & chalky gravel.
Viticulture: Work in the vineyard is measured by the months and the seasons. In order to avoid excessive impoverishment of the lands, the various soils are periodically analysed and a programme of interventions with organic fertilizers is drawn up.
Vinification: Left to dry from mid-September 2000 till mid-January 2001, they achieved a advanced degree of “appassimento” (drying), arriving at a degree “Babo” of 27/28 (almost 300 g/l of residual sugar). Fermentation lasted 55 days with frequent pumpings over.
Aging: The wine was then racked and transferred to stainless steel vats for 10 days, after which – still with a residual sugar of 40 g/l – it was racked again and put into new 12-25 hectolitre barrels of Slavonian and French oak. Here the wine remained for 30 months, on its own fine deposit, while very slowly it completed its alcoholic and malo-lactic fermentation. It was racked again and “assembled”, then bottled in December 2003. Normally it is aged for four months in bottle before release onto the market.
Production: 5,000 bottles produced.
Notes: Tommaso Bussola began working at his uncle Giuseppe's estate in 1977. His uncle Giuseppe still works the vineyards.
Publication: Wine advocate
The 2003 Amarone della Valpolicella Classico Vigneto Alto TB is an explosive wine that shows an impressive level of territorial and varietal tipicity. There is a spot of volatility that is in line with grapes that see the appassimento drying process. You can't really describe this as a traditional expression of Amarone, nor is it a modern rendition. The wine's thick extraction, deep aromatic layering and wide scale intensity put it somewhere in the middle on this continuum. Sweet plum, tobacco and baking spice wrap thickly over the palate. It is extra rich and warm with 16.5% alcohol. No matter what, it is built to last.
Publication: Wine Spectator
Rich and concentrated, this silky red shows impressive balance and integration, with a bright and tangy vibrancy to the flavors of steeped cherry and mocha, herbes de Provence, date and fig bread. A streak of tarry minerality underscores the flavor range and echoes on the grippy finish. Drink now through 2028. 225 cases made.
I remember tasting the 2003 Amarone della Valpolicella Classico TB Vigneto Alto when it was in barrel and the fermentations were very slow. Today, it is has emerged from that awkward state and developed into a very beautiful Amarone. Dried dark cherry notes meld into cloves, pipe tobacco and worn-in leather in a striking, beautifully delineated Amarone loaded with complexity. The flavors are a touch developed, making the 2003 an excellent choice for drinking now and over the next decade or so. The 2003 doesn't quite reach the level of the very best years - which would have been nearly impossible in this vintage - but it comes very close. There is a lot to like here, especially for readers looking for a near-term fix of Amarone.