“Amarone is a piece of Baroque Art. It is that much, that is never too much”
Philippe Daverio, famous Franco-Italian art critic, and writer, 2017.
Amarone is a unique wine because it is a dry red made with dried grapes. “Appassimento”, the traditional natural air-drying process employed to shrivel the berries, enhances the aroma complexity and the structure making Amarone della Valpolicella DOCG a full-bodied fine wine.
Amarone has an intense garnet-red colour and displays black cherry, prune, chocolate and spices notes. On the palate, it is rich, complex, extremely round, and long-lasting. Thanks to its richness, Amarone can pair meat, game, and matured cheeses, but it can also be appreciated with chocolate or on its own.
Amarone is a magnificent wine suitable for ageing, but, differently from other fine full-bodied red wines, it is appreciable also when young. Indeed the round tannins, the concentration of fruit flavours and the high level of glycerine make the wine soft and pleasant.
1st STEP OF PRODUCTION: APPASSIMENTO
Amarone uniqueness derives from appassimento, a traditional technique that consists in leaving the grapes to shrivel into a well-ventilated room called “fruttaio”. Amarone harvest is carried out only manually in order to avoid any damage, indeed only the most ripen and soundest bunches can undergo appassimento successfully.
After 3/4 months of appassimento the bunches are ready to be crushed. The partially dried grapes lose about 35/40% of the water. The loss of water concentrate aromas, flavours, sugar, and polyphenols.
3. MACERATION & FERMENTATION
The juice is left to ferment in contact with the skins for 35/40 days into fermenting vats. Maceration and fermentation last for a quite long time because on the one hand the juice is supposed to extract most of the aromas, flavours and polyphenols developed during appassimento, on the other hand fermentation is carried out at low temperature.
4. DRAWING OFF
After 35/50 days of maceration pomace and wine are separated. Then, the wine is put into barrels to age, while the skins are used to make Valpolicella Ripasso.
Before being released on the market, Amarone must be aged for at least 2 years, but usually, the ageing period is extended. Amarone della Valpolicella DOCG can be also labeled with the “riserva” specification when it undergoes 4 years of aging and if the sugar-free dry extract is greater than or equal to 32 g/l.