The Beauty of Amarone!

 

Amarone is one of the most famous Italian red wines. It is produced in Valpolicella, a region located few kilometers from Verona, in Veneto region (Italy).  Today it is considered one of the great Italian iconic red wine.

Amarone is made from indegenous blend of red grapes. The grapes, that historically grow only in Valpolicella. Amarone is a DOCG (Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita) wine which must be produced following parameters and requirements set by a regulation. The choice of grapes is one of them. Some varietals are a must whereas some others are optional, depending on the choice and taste of winemaker.

The mandatory grapes are: Corvina + Corvinone (45-95%). Rondinella (5-30%)

It is also possible to include up to a maximum of 25% of grapes coming from the following varietals: Molinara, Negrara, Forsellina, Pelara, Oseleta, Rossignola, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot & Syrah.

Manual harvest is another fundamental step to understand how Amarone is made. The first is the selection of the bunches which only a human (and skilled) eye is capable of doing. In fact, not all bunches are suitable for the next step, the drying process. Amarone grapes must be perfectly healthy, with not damaged skin. The bunch must not be compact but scattered and laid on wooden or plastic crates (Appassimento), in order to ensure air circulation among berries and therefore avoiding the risk of mold and fungus. Secondly, grapes must be handled with delicacy and care in order not to break skins, not to release must and not start fermentation.

The grape crates are stacked and stored in proper rooms called “Fruttai”. These rooms are large lofts with high ceilings and big windows which allow maximum ventilation. Grapes stay here for about 100-120days period during which air circulates and dries the berries.

After these days, the grapes would have lost about 40% of their weight. About twice the quantity of grapes is needed to produce a bottle of Amarone then for other wines. Amarone fermentation is slow and long. It can last up to 30 days, which is about the double of the average of other wines. By law, Amarone della Valpolicella has to age for at least 2 years before its released on the market.

The drying process plus the long maturation gives Amarone a very high ageing potential. It’s a wine that can last even 20 years in your cellar, if stored in the proper conditions.

After the maturation, it follows a few months bottle refinement to integrate its components and to reach the perfect balance.

This long and complex winemaking process explains also the cost of this wine, which is more expensive than the average of other Italian reds.

Thanks to all these steps Amarone is a full bodied, complex and velvety wine.  As a result, it is a “meditation wine” in which the high alcohol volume is balanced by its smoothness and its rich bouquet.

CHEERS!

 

 

 

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