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Italian wine and grape guide : Amarone


The Amarone della Valpolicella is one of the most famous Italian red wine mainly made of Corvinia, Molinara and Rondinella grapes plus other red grapes grown in the area, in the Valpolicella area, between the Lake Garda and the city of Verona, in Veneto, listed in the Amarone "disciplinare", the wine regulations that tell winemakers the characteristics the wine should have. Within the Valpolicella area, there is the area called “Classico”, the original growing area, and wines made with grapes grown in the area, are allowed to have the word “Classico” on the label.

Because of the long list of grapes allowed in the Amarone della Valpolicella blend, it is rare to find wines made with exactly the same grapes and percentages and even within the same producers, using the same grapes, percentages can changes between vintages therefore Amarone della Valpolicella wines can be very different between each other.

The Amarone della Valpolicella is a unique wine due to its wine making process, after the grapes are picked, usually the first two weeks of October, they are then dried for what is normally a period of around 120 days, this step is called appassimento, and its aim is to concentrate sugar. The most immediate result of this process is wines with higher alcohol content and enhanced flavours. The dried grapes are then pressed and aged in barrels for at least one year and what is left is used in the making of the Ripasso della Valpolicella, the Valpolicella wine is "ri -passo", left in the amarone pomace for 10/12 days and becomes the Valpolicella Ripasso.

The Amarone della Valpolicella is a powerful, big wine that ages well and in 2009 it was granted the DOCG status. Due to its commercial success, there are more and more Italian wines made following the "appassimento" method, drying the grapes to concentrate the sugar, wines that cannot be called Amarone due to the name being protected, but wines that have the word “appassimento” written on their label to highlight their style and wine making process.

A good Amarone is a an expensive wine due to its very intense labour wine making process, from hand picking the grapes to the ageing in barrels to the additional time in the bottle before the wine is released to the public.

Wine makers making the wine