Recioto di Valpolice

Like Amarone, it is a wine of notable body and structure, produced from partially raisined grapes which dry in special lofts known as 'fruttai' located in the hills of the Valpolicella area. Unlike the dry Amarone however, Recioto is a sweet or semi-sweet wine.

The drying process also has a profound effect on the taste and aroma of the wines, which together with the varietals character of the cultivars themselves - corvina in particular - are what give Recioto its unique and inimitable character. Recioto is made principally from the corvina and rondinella varieties. Its name comes from the dialect word "recie" meaning ears, a reference to the fact that traditionally the wine was made with the smallest, ripest grapes taken from the wings ('ears') of the bunches.

Today the grapes are laid out to dry either on bamboo mats or in slatted wooden or plastic cases which are stacked on top of each other. The traditional but less suitable method of hanging bunches on vertical or horizontal wires to dry has fallen into disuse today, although at one time it was widely practiced. Interestingly, when the grapes were dried in this way, bunches were hung not by the stem but by the point, in order to open the bunch and allow more air to circulate around the berries.

The lofts used for the preparation of the fruit for Recioto must be dry and well-ventilated with shutters to allow the air to pass and preferably located in the hills, far from the mist and fog of the valley bottoms. The mild autumn temperatures of the Valpolicella (15-20 degrees) and the relatively low humidity (65-70%) are critical for the early part of the drying process . In ideal conditions and with fully ripe fruit, the duration of the drying may not need to go beyond 50-60 days, but it may also be 100-120 days or more before the fruit loses the necessary 30-35% of its original weight.

Recioto 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.

One of the risks of this style of winemaking is that of contamination of the grapes during the drying process with botrytis cinerea. Grape rot can have seriously damaging effects, giving the wines a character which recent research seems to indicate is not appreciated by the consumer. The spread of botrytis can be virtually impossible to control, above all in humid conditions, and result in the loss of whole batches of fruit. For this reason it is of paramount importance that the grapes destined for drying are in perfect condition and the subject of scrupulous selection by trained and experienced workers, both after the harvest and before they are crushed at the end of the period of drying.

  • 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: semi-sweet with great structure but at the same time round and elegant and balanced wine.
  • Aging: Minimum 2 years
  • Alcohol: 14%
  • Best served with: delicious with strong cheeses, cakes with plums and spicies.
  • Serving temperature: 18-20 C opening the bottle in advance.