Posted on November 04 2016
Amarone is a wine that ticks most boxes... rich in flavour? Tick. Luscious texture? Tick. Good with food? Tick. Impress your friends? Tick.
But, what is Amarone and what makes it interesting?
Well, Amarone is top of the food chain in the Valpolicella region. Made from the same obscure grapes; Rondinella, Corvina and Molinara, but with a traditional technique that provides a deep red wine full of prunes, figs and chocolate. Yum!
What is this technique?
Well, it can best be described as 'raisening'... which isn't technically a real word, but it is the best one I have to describe the process. You see, the grapes are left on the vines for much longer than usual. Many years ago, some clever person realised that if you twist the grapes on the vine then their ability to take in water from the plant will cease or be reduced. That wouldn't normally be useful, of course, until you decide to make a wine from dried grapes.
Eventually, the 'raisened' grapes are picked and then subjected to even further drying. Left to dry in traditional crates or on mats in a dry building for 120 days or so, they lose around 30% of their volume in liquid. This leaves very intensely flavoured, concentrated raisins from which the wine is made.
What effect does this have on the wine?
Well, it is going to have high alcohol levels due to the increased sugar concentration - often over 15% abv.
It also has the effect of creating a wine like no other. It is very rich and luscious, concentrated and intense in flavour.
What food will it go with?
Amarone can be great on its own, but it will also really work well with something rich and flavourful. A venison pie; a beef wellington, a game ragu. Or, dark chocolate desserts that are low in sugar.
A luxury wine, but worth the money...