A region but not an actual wine variety, Amarone can be described as a distinct kind of wine crafted exclusively for Valpolicella. It’s not the only wine made here; the other types are equally interesting to explore.
It is located around the beautiful city of Verona; Valpolicella stretches over 11 valleys covering over 8000 acres of vineyards. In 2021, the area produced more than 75 million bottles. The wines are made on the native wine grapes Corvina and Corvinone with the help of Rondinella (anywhere between 5 and thirty percent). An extensive selection of other Italian wines is available only in small quantities.
Although the wines are an underlying mixture, they’re produced in distinct styles. Each has its designation that is tied to particular methods of making wine.
Valpolicella is a viticultural area in the province of Verona, Italy. Valpolicella ranks just after Chianti in total Italian Denominazione di Origine Controllata wine production. (Photo taken from italianowine.com)
Its designation of the area identifies it; Valpolicella represents 27% of the total production. It is produced, like many red wines using fresh-picked grapes.
“It is a wine that expresses most immediately and directly the character of our grapes and the diverse terroir of Valpolicella,” says Gabriele Righetti at Vigneti di Ettore.
Light to medium-weight and moderately alcoholic (12-13%), along with delicate tannins and bright acidity. Right up, Valpolicella wines are a quick and lively drinking experience. In many cases, oak is not a hindrance, and the freshness of the fruits is allowed to shine. The classic summer berries can be complemented by appealing floral, peppery, or herb notes.
It’s also not an entry-level wine. “Valpolicella represents the culture of drinking in Verona, the famous glass of red in the city’s casual eateries,” says Antonio Cesari at Brigaldara. The idea of a commonplace wine could need to understand the meaning of low quality. In reality, Cesari prefers to describe Valpolicella as an ‘everything’ wine, demonstrating its capacity to be paired with an enormous range of food.
The wines of Valpolicella have notes of summer berries and freshness and are accentuated by the appealing pepper, herbal or floral. They are flexible and can be enjoyed with a variety of foods.
Amarone della Valpolicella DOCG
Amazingly, coming it is made from the lightest grapes. It is from Corvina, One of the most potent wines produced. This is because of the appassimento method. After harvest, the selected grape bunches are dried for up to two months before they are crushed to make vinified. The grapes shed up to 30% of their initial mass, which increases sugar and tannins while also permitting the development of complex flavors and glycerol formation.
Despite having the same variety of grapes from the same region, Amarone is thus stylistically distinct from Valpolicella. While Valpolicella is lighter, refreshing, and fruity, Amarone is whole, complete, and intense, with dried fruit notes and a heady alcohol that hovers about 16 percent. Amarone is also a more expensive choice – not a drink-in-the-day wine. It’s been described as a wine of meditation, a wine you can sip slowly or with slow braised meat or aged cheese.
At the estate of Tedeschi, Riccardo Tedeschi refers to Amarone as “the flagship not just of Valpolicella but also of the Veneto.”
Amarone is a DOCG appellation, typically dry, rich, and full red wine with a dry fruit character. It is generally made from dried grapes from the Corvina and various grapes from the same region. (Photo by Michaela Morris)
Recioto della Valpolicella DOCG
It is the sweeter version because it is more precious than Amarone; Recioto is made similar to Amarone using air-dried grapes. The main distinction is that the fermentation process stops when there’s significant remaining sugar.
Recioto is older than Amarone by several centuries. Appassimento’s longstanding practice produced concentrated musts that were hard to dry ferment, and, as a result, the wine was nearly always sweet. The dry version, known as ‘Recioto Amarone, which was the name it was originally named, is believed to have been created accidentally in the 1930s as the rare vat could ferment all sugars to dryness. It took some time to allow Amarone to gain popularity, and it was only in the mid-90s that been enjoying a massive rise in popularity.
The process of natural partial dehydration of grapes to produce a greater concentration of colors, aromas, and flavors in the wine is called Appassimento. This technique dates back to the times of the Ancient Romans. (Photo by Michaela Morris)
While sweet wines have long gone out of fashion, only a tiny amount of Recioto is made. It’s only half of the total region – against 25.5 percent for Amarone. Unsurprisingly, many producers have decided to stop making Recioto entirely. “Unfortunately, no one buys Recioto, so it essentially steals from Amarone,” says Camilla Rossi Chauvenet of Massimago.
Some estates are steadfastly committed to the traditional winemaking of small quantities to enjoy on occasion, with sbrisolona (a dry almond cake that is crumbly and dry) or even soppressata Veronese, a salame from the region. According to Antonio Cesari’s dad, Stefano, the ideal time to sip Recioto is “at 5 o’clock, instead of tea.”
Soppressa veronese – a local salame, is a classic match for Recioto.