What Type of Wine is Amarone?

by Karoline Arberg
Amarone Wine

The Amarone della Valpolicella is a very particular wine. The producers elaborate the wine from partially sundried grapes. This production method is similar to the one used for the Pedro Ximénez variety to obtain the sweet wine of the same name. They produce most wines made from dried grapes the same way. But the Amarone differs in more than one way. Firstly, winemakers use local red grape varieties instead of white. And secondly, the production method results in a dry wine with different organoleptic characteristics.

Characteristics of the Amarone

The colour of the wine is dark red, which tends to turn claret as the wine ages. It presents an accentuated scent and a full, warm, and velvety flavour. The nose has notes of ripe fruit, cherry jam, and raspberry jam.

As the wine ages, aromas of moss and tar may also be noticeable. The residual sugars are a maximum of 12 g/L, while the alcohol content ranges between the minimum 14% and 16%. The recognised production zone for the Amarone is the province of Verona, in the Veneto region of Northern Italy. The winemakers normally use the varieties Corvina veronese, Corvinone, and Rondinella. There might be a limited presence of other red grape varieties too.

Elaboration of the Amarone

The production of Amarone follows the same principle as that of other wines. The aim is to increase the concentration of sugar in the grape. The winemaker also strives to enhance its aromas and acidity. This is the process for the German Eiswein (ice wine) or Strohwein, the French vin de paille, and other wines from Greece, Cyprus, or Italy, among others. If you have a wine like any of these they almost always pair well with desserts.

Drying Process of the Grapes

The grape drying process takes about 120 days or even longer. It depends on the original water content of the fruit and the strict control of ventilation and humidity. You must control these aspects to prevent fungi from growing. These measures also ensure proper drying as the outdoor weather conditions change when winter comes. At the beginning of February, the winemakers press the grapes, and they macerate the skins for 30-50 days. Gradually, the sugars convert into alcohol, because of the yeast. This goes on until the wine reaches the alcohol content determined for the Amarone. If you keep the concentration of sugars above the determined mark, the resulting wine will be renamed Recioto della Valpolicella. This wine is a sweet red wine which presents different characteristics.

Pairing

Unlike the Recioto, you would usually pair the Amarone with heartier fall and winter dishes, such as roasts, game, sausages, aged cheeses, risottos, and other typical dishes of the region. You can also enjoy it on its own to mark the end of a good dinner. Serve the wine in a wide glass which favours the oxygenation. The serving temperature should be around 18 to 20º C.

Do you want to try Valpolicella wines? Below we suggest both an Amarone and a Recioto so you can choose the one you prefer:

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