Italian Amarone to Warm Up Your Winter

amarone

Italian Amarone to Warm Up Your Winter

With winter in full swing, nothing says “warm up by the fire” like a glass of Amarone. Americans are longtime fans of this full-bodied, velvety red wine, and the U.S. is the second largest destination market, accounting for 14% of total exports.
Produced across 19 townships in the northeast province of Verona, Amarone is created from dried grapes, a method called appassimento in Italian. After harvesting high-quality grapes that can withstand the grape-drying process, bunches are carefully laid in wooden crates or on bamboo racks in a single layer to allow air to circulate. These crates or racks are then placed in large, ventilated rooms to ensure ideal conservation. After 100–120 days, the withered grapes lose up to half their weight. This increases sugar content that in turn increases the alcohol content in the finished wines, which generally range between 15–16.5% alcohol by volume (abv). The drying process also decreases acidity levels, resulting in softer wines.
According to the recently revised ­production code, Amarone must be made with 45–95% Corvina and/or Corvinone while Rondinella can be 5–30% of the blend. Up to 25% of other red, non-aromatic grape varieties can also be used.
Amarone comes in different designations: Amarone della Valpolicella, Amarone della Valpolicella Classico and Amarone della Valpolicella Valpantena. Classico is the original ­growing area and must originate from vineyards located in the municipalities of Negrar, Marano, Fumane, Sant’Ambrogio and San Pietro. Valpantena is also one of the oldest growing zones and wines with this specification can only come from the Valpantena ­Valley.
Styles vary among producers and depend largely on vinification ­methods and wood aging. Some producers use more traditional fermentation methods and age in large casks, while others use shorter fermentation methods and age in French barriques. Both schools of thought produce rich, bold wines that combine opulence and elegance.
Monte del Frà 2016 Tenuta Lena di Mezzo (Amarone della Valpolicella Classico); $60, 94 points. Aromas of ripe red plum, new leather, blue flower and pipe tobacco mingle together in this bold red. The full-bodied palate features steeped prune, raisin, licorice and sandalwood alongside tightly woven, velvety tannins. Drink through 2028. Vision Wine & Spirits. Editors’ Choice. Click here to read more.

Italian Amarone to Warm Up Your Winter

With winter in full swing, nothing says “warm up by the fire” like a glass of Amarone. Americans are longtime fans of this full-bodied, velvety red wine, and the U.S. is the second largest destination market, accounting for 14% of total exports.
Produced across 19 townships in the northeast province of Verona, Amarone is created from dried grapes, a method called appassimento in Italian. After harvesting high-quality grapes that can withstand the grape-drying process, bunches are carefully laid in wooden crates or on bamboo racks in a single layer to allow air to circulate. These crates or racks are then placed in large, ventilated rooms to ensure ideal conservation. After 100–120 days, the withered grapes lose up to half their weight. This increases sugar content that in turn increases the alcohol content in the finished wines, which generally range between 15–16.5% alcohol by volume (abv). The drying process also decreases acidity levels, resulting in softer wines.
According to the recently revised ­production code, Amarone must be made with 45–95% Corvina and/or Corvinone while Rondinella can be 5–30% of the blend. Up to 25% of other red, non-aromatic grape varieties can also be used.
Amarone comes in different designations: Amarone della Valpolicella, Amarone della Valpolicella Classico and Amarone della Valpolicella Valpantena. Classico is the original ­growing area and must originate from vineyards located in the municipalities of Negrar, Marano, Fumane, Sant’Ambrogio and San Pietro. Valpantena is also one of the oldest growing zones and wines with this specification can only come from the Valpantena ­Valley.
Styles vary among producers and depend largely on vinification ­methods and wood aging. Some producers use more traditional fermentation methods and age in large casks, while others use shorter fermentation methods and age in French barriques. Both schools of thought produce rich, bold wines that combine opulence and elegance.
Monte del Frà 2016 Tenuta Lena di Mezzo (Amarone della Valpolicella Classico); $60, 94 points. Aromas of ripe red plum, new leather, blue flower and pipe tobacco mingle together in this bold red. The full-bodied palate features steeped prune, raisin, licorice and sandalwood alongside tightly woven, velvety tannins. Drink through 2028. Vision Wine & Spirits. Editors’ Choice. Click here to read more.
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