The Amarone della Valpolicella DOCG is one of the most famous Italian red wine, mainly made of Corvina, Molinara and Rondinella, grapes grown in the Valpolicella area, between the Lake Garda and the city of Verona in Veneto, that are also used in the production of all Valpolicella wines.
The whole list of grapes allowed in the production of the Amarone della Valpolicella DOCG are listed in the “disciplinare”, the wine regulation that tells winemakers the characteristics the wine should have and the wine making process, 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 change between vintages, therefore Amarone della Valpolicella DOCG wines can be very different between them.
Within the Valpolicella area, there are two subareas, one called “Classico”, the original growing area, and another called “Valpantena”, an area located in the north east of the Valpolicella area, and all wines produced in the two areas are allowed to have the word “Classico” or “Valpantena” on the label together with Amarone della Valpolicella DOCG. Amarone della Valpolicella produced outside the areas cannot have any additional word about their provenance on the label.
The Amarone della Valpolicella DOCG is a unique wine due to its wine making process, after the grapes are picked, they are dried for what is normally a period of around 120 days, process called appassimento, with the aim of concentrating the 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 two years and what is left is used in the making of the Valpolicella Ripasso, where the Valpolicella wine is "ri -passo", passed over, left, in the amarone pomace for 10/12 days to become the Valpolicella Ripasso. In the best years, Amarone della Valpolicella Riserva can be bottled and it has to be aged for a minimum of 4 years.
The Amarone della Valpolicella is a powerful, big red wine that ages well, and in 2009 it was granted 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.