Sommelier: Monte Zovo Amarone

Amarone is red, bold and true Italian. Long before Napa produced big reds, Italy set the standard with their powerhouse Amarone wines. These unique blends are crafted with a special drying process wherein the sugar strangles the grape to produce a high-octane, fruit-forward style that so many California wine aficionados happen to love. And incredibly, it takes 10 times more grapes to produce Amarone than other red wines.

A best buy is Monte Zovo Amarone. This Italian stallion exudes aromas of pipe tobacco and hints of spice up front, with baked cherries mid-palate and decadent dark chocolate on the finish. Like Casanova and Marco Polo, Monte Zovo was born and bred in northeastern Italy. But no need to take the train from Venice to Verona. Just hold onto your socks and celebrate the fireworks with a bottle of Monte Zovo Amarone. This liquid pleasure is available BTB for $35 at Alexander’s Highland Market. Or better yet, drive down Highland Road to French Market Bistro where it’s served BTG, pairing perfectly with Executive Chef Borivane Khemmanyvong’s Broiled Lollipop Lamb Chops.