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Italian wine and grape guide : Amarone della Valpolicella

Amarone della Valpolicella

The Amarone della Valpolicella wine is one of the most famous Italian red wine mainly made of Corvinia, Molinara and Rondinella grapes grown in the Valpolicella area, between the Lake Garda and the city of Verona, in Veneto.

The whole list of grapes allowed in the production of the Amarone della Valpolicella are listed in the “disciplinare”, the wine regulations that tell winemakers the characteristics the wine should have, and because of the long list of grapes allowed, it is rare to find wines made with exactly the same grapes and percentages. Even within the same winery, percentages and grapes can changes between vintages therefore Amarone della Valpolicella wines can be very different between each other.

Within the Valpolicella area, there are two subareas, one called “Classico”, the original growing area, and another called “Valpantena”, an area located in north east of the Valpolicella area, and all wines produced in two areas are allowed to have the word “Classico” or “Valpantena” on the label.

The Amarone della Valpolicella is a unique wine due to its wine making process, after the grapes are picked, they are then dried for what is normally a period of around 120 days, 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 red 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.

Wine makers making the wine