Amarone


Amarone Amarone is universally recognized as the most prestigious of the wines of Verona, one of Italy's most important reds and today in demand world-wide from connoisseurs of fine wine. Amarone is the modern day evolution of Recioto, one of the most ancient products of Italy's century-old tradition of wine production. It was a sweet, velvety wine which took its name from the dialect word 'recia' for the wings or 'ears' of the bunch, the finest and ripest berries from which this very original wine was made. With the passing of time, although the system of drying the grapes remained unaltered, the wine which emerged from the fermentation became gradually much drier than the original Recioto. However, rather than representing a problem, the evolution of the style, from sweet to dry or 'amaro' - hence 'amarone' in Italian - has met with remarkable success.

The grapes are generally picked - barring anomalous weather conditions - between the last ten days of September and the first week of October. In order to successfully complete the critical phase of "appassimento" or drying, the fruit must be fully ripe and in perfect condition. Once picked the grapes are laid out carefully in a single layers, to allow air to circulate around the bunches, in either wooden or plastic trays or on bamboo cane mats and placed in special drying rooms located over the wine cellars.

The grapes remain in the drying rooms for three to four months. The grapes lose around half of their original weight through evaporation, increasing the concentration of sugar to around 25%-30%. There is a reduction in the level of acidity and change in the ratio of fructose to glucose which favours the concentration of polyphenols and a significant increase in the amounts of glycerine and other components which make Amarone completely different to wines made in the normal way with freshly-picked grapes. The drying process also leads to an increase in the amounts of a substance called resveratrol, to which authoritative international research has attributed the beneficial effects of moderate wine drinking. Resveratrol helps to reduce congestion of the arteries and consequently the risk of heart disease and arterial sclerosis.

In Valpolicella today two approaches to vinification exist side by side. The more traditional one involves long fermentation at the low natural cellar temperatures of January and February and a period of maceration which may last several months. In the more modern approach wines are vinfied in multi-functional vats which allow the producer to control temperatures, break up the cap and stir the skins in the must with the overall objective to making a softer style of Amarone with distinctive fruit character which can be enjoyed after a shorter period of ageing.

Whatever the style of vinification, Amarone undergoes a period of natural ageing in wood which may be in larger Slavonian oak barrels or the French barriques.

Current regulations allow a mere 8.4 tons of fruit per hectare to be put aside for drying for the production of Amarone and Recioto della Valpolicella.

  • Grapes: blend of grapes: 40%-80% corvina (of which up to 50% can be replaced by corvinone) and from 5% to 30% rondinella. Other dark, non-aromatic varieties recommended or authorised for the province of Verona can make up a total 15% of the blend
  • Colour: bright and intense red colour with garnet edges.
  • Bouquet: profumes of ripe cherry and red currant, chocolate and spices.
  • Flavour: full-bodied with great structure but at the same time round and elegant and balanced wine.
  • Aging: Minimum 2 years
  • Alcohol: 15%
  • Best served with: delicious with game, smoked meat,
  • Serving temperature: 18-20 C opening the bottle in advance.