ITALIAN AMARONE - Printable Version

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- jmbigley - 08-22-2008 01:55 PM

Was introduced to this wine over a month ago.
Wife and I immediately fell in love with it.
Was told a dry wine...thought more to be a med dry...fullbodied..bought several bottles
..any thoughts/inputs on this wine ?

- wondersofwine - 08-22-2008 04:58 PM

Tom Hyland in his Guide to Italian Wines has one of the best explanations of Amarone (which I also love):

Amarone is produced in the region of Veneto by estates that make Valpolicella, one of the most popular wines of this area in Northeastern Italy. The same grapes, primarily Corvina (usually the leading component in the blend) along with Rondinella and Molinara, are used to produce Amarone. But the difference between the two wines is usually striking; where Valpolicella is a medium-weight wine meant for consumption with lighter fare with in its first 3-5 years, Amarone is a much more robust wine that is perfect with game birds or other such sturdy fare over the course of 7 to 15 years.

The reason for the stylistic difference in these wines is in the winemaking. To produce an Amarone (properly known as Amarone della Valpolicella Classico), a winemaker will take the harvested grapes and lay them on a straw mat, often in an attic or other warm room. The grapes then dry over the course of several months creating a raisiny flavor that is a distinctive character of Amarone.

As Amarone comes from the Italian word amaro ("bitter"), most examples have a tartness or slightly astringent edge to them. Alternatively, you may notice a sweet edge to them that can be explained in the concentrated sugars the grapes pick up during the drying process. Certainly, the combination of raisiny and sweet black fruit can make Amarone an irresistible temptation.

That slightly sweet edge in the finish can also come from the fact that a particular Amarone may not be entirely dry. Amarone is actually a recent innovation, dating back only from the 1950s. Before that, the process of drying grapes in this fashion (known as appasimento) resulted in a sweet, super-rich wine known as Recioto. Legend has it that the first Amarone was a mistake, as a winemaker had let a barrel of wine ferment too long and the wine's residual sugar had been eliminated. Recioto is still made today and its sweetness and richness make it a perfect choice at the end of a meal, often with powerful cheeses. (Many producers of Amarone also produce a Recioto – the official name is Recioto Della Valpolicella – with Masi and Tedeschi among the best.)--cTom Hyland

I like the young fruity Valpolicella and also like the Valpolicella Superiore, or Recioto, Ripasso or Amarone styles. Have you tried a basic Valpolicella? Do you enjoy these?

- brappy - 08-23-2008 01:49 AM

Great post Wonders.....

- jmbigley - 08-23-2008 11:39 AM

No..I have not tried a Valpolicella.....but from what you are saying you can get a Valpolicella that doesn't say Recioto or Amarone though they are both a Valpolicella wine? I take it that Masi and Tedeschi are both brands of Valpolicella ? Now from what you sent me I see how the Amarone gets the raisiny isn't that rasins are put in the wine it is that the grapes are dried to the raisin contrast that gives the flavor...very interesting......also are there any good winerys in NC...going to FL in a few weeks and visiting winerys down and back...

- jmbigley - 08-23-2008 12:21 PM

ALSO....Where would you put Chianti in comparison to Amarone ? still learning !!!

- Duane Meissner - 08-23-2008 05:33 PM

In a sauce... maybe [img][/img]

- wineguruchgo - 08-23-2008 06:50 PM

Amarone is my "Im going to Jesus wine". If they tell me I'm going to Jesus forget the last supper - just bring me a case of Amarone!

When compared to Chianti Amarone is going to have a fully body, yet it is still going to be fruit forward because of the concentrated fruit.

It should be earthy, yet will be as smooth as a Brunello.

I just love this wine!

- wondersofwine - 08-25-2008 11:14 AM

Yes, you can get a basic Valpolicella (translates as Valley of Many Cellars--wine cellars that is) that is not a Recioto or Amarone and will be less expensive.

I think North Carolina wineries have a long way to go yet. Some, like Duplin, use a lot of native labrusco grapes. Childress is a fairly new winery that may produce serious wines sometime in the future. I do enjoy some of the wines from Biltmore, but they get many (most?) of their grapes from outside North Carolina.

Masi and Tedeschi are both producers in this region. Their wines, particularly Masi, tend to be very expensive, and there are other producers that I find enjoyable at a lower price. You could ask a wine retailer for help selecting some samples.

Chianti wines have Sangiovese as the primary grape in the blend. They can be tannic when young and I often like them better the second day (I recork and put in the refrigerator overnight.) They often mellow a bit overnight once opened. I like them with tomato-sauced Italian pasta dishes, lasagne, etc.