Intense texture and concentration occur when juicy ripe grapes are allowed to dry to a raisin while lying on straw mats to create one of Italy’s finest, dry red wines. The process is called appassimento, and it has been used in the Vento region of Valpolicella for generations, producing the beloved wine from varieties including Corvina, Corvinone, Rondinella, and a small percentage of a handful of other approved grapes. Though the process is time-consuming, as grapes are left to dry all winter long before fermentation has even begun, and production consuming, as you the dried grapes with their concentrated juices have usually shrunk by half, meaning you need twice as much fruit as you would make a traditional Valpolicella wine to make a single bottle of Amarone, the resulting product is incredible.
The Allegrini family has been producing Amarone della Valpolicella in their Veneto estate since the 16th Century, with generation after generation celebrating the history of the region by producing signature wines of the region from their 247 acres of vineyards in Valpolicella Classico. Allegrini Amarone della Valpolicella Classico DOCG ($95) highlights this history. We enjoyed a 2012 the other evening (wow!) but the current vintage is a 2015. The wine reveals notes of dried blueberry, prune, and dried fig along with fruit-forward cherry and plum, wrapped around toasted spice, wild woody herbs like thyme and sage, and dusty truffle notes. The bottle age enhanced the Old World earthy character, creating a delicious wine with character. With any vintage you enjoy, allow the bottle to breathe a bit after opening before you enjoy it. #cheers