History Of Amarone Wine
Amarone della Valpolicella is one of Italy's greatest styles of wine. According to folklore, Amarone was created by chance near Verona in Veneto region of Italy in the 1930s following the over-fermentation of a forgotten barrel of Recioto della Valpolicella wine. Amarone means "great bitter" in Italian; the wine was primarily called this due to its taste and to differentiate it from the sweeter Recioto manufactured in the same region. Other Valpolicella wines include Valpolicella Classico and Valpolicella Ripasso.
When the winemaker rediscovered the neglected barrel, he expected to discover a low-quality, undrinkable mess, but instead found an unexpected delight. The resulting wine was bitter, but also bold, velvety, and full-bodied. It was at that point that Amarone della Valpolicella started being produced in the region and developed into the unique wine we know and love today.
Here, we'll walk you through all you need to know about Amarone della Valpolicella, including our favorite wine's history, production, and flavor profile. While our primary goal is to provide a general overview of Amarone, we've included plenty of interesting information for the wine's diehard fans as well.
What Kind of Wine Is Amarone?
Amarone is a vibrant red wine that hails from the Valpolicella region within the Veneto area of northeastern Italy. It is well-known for its extremely powerful flavor and high alcohol content. It can contain up to 15–16% alcohol by volume.
The Amarone dell Valpolicella we are familiar with today is actually a fairly recent production from winemakers. The name Amarone first appeared on bottle labels from the Veneto region in 1939, but the wine was not produced on a regular basis until 1953.
Corvina, Corvinone, and Rondinella, plus a few lesser known grapes, are the only grapes permitted to make Amarone. Once the grapes for the Amarone have been harvested, they are placed on racks in a facility where they will naturally dehydrate at least until December. The drying time varies greatly depending on the grower and the nature of the harvest.
After the drying process, the grapes for Amarone are crushed. They undergo a dry, low-temperature fermentation process that can take up to 30–50 days toward the end of January/beginning of February. French oak barrels, Slavonian oak barrels, or Slovenian barriques are typically used to mature the wine after fermentation.
Amarone is considered a collector's wine since it takes longer to age and has such a distinct flavor profile and mouthfeel.
What Is Special About Amarone?
This wine is so special because of the care and patience put into producing it. Amarone's dramatic voyage begins on the vine and ends at the table. To be classified as an Amarone, a wine must only contain grapes from authorized varietals. Among them:
A procedure called 'appassimento' is used by Amarone producers to transform these grapes into wine. The grapes are left to dry for 3 to 4 months before being pressed and fermented. Afterward, the wine is aged in barrels for two and five years, depending on the desired finish. The Amarone wine is then bottled and ready for international shipping.
What Does Amarone Wine Taste Like?
As mentioned earlier, Amarone wines are full-bodied, vibrant, and robust in every single sip. They have a unique flavor because of their lengthy drying, fermenting, and aging process. The method enhances the wine's flavor by making it more concentrated.
Amarone wines have a medium-plus to high acidity, with notes of black cherry, chocolate, and brown sugar, all balanced by high alcohol content. Furthermore, the older the wine, the more brown sugar, molasses, and fig tastes it will have.
How Much Does Amarone Wine Cost?
Many wine enthusiasts are familiar with Amarone by name, but only a select handful are acquainted firsthand. This is certainly owing to the fairly expensive entrance cost.
We are frequently asked about wines under $20, and to be honest, we drink wine within that price range in our day-to-day enjoyment.
However, there are occasions when you desire a wine that is well worth the extra cost (say, $50-80 per bottle). Quite a few of these indulgent wines are Amarone della Valpolicella.
Why Is Amarone Della Valpolicella Wine Expensive?
Why Is Amarone Della Valpolicella Wine Expensive?
After grapes for Valpolicella Classico are harvested, they are crushed and fermented immediately. It is a light, high-acid red wine typically not aged in wood and is an excellent complement for traditional local appetizers. Any food paired with the delightful Valpolicella Classico will taste great, even if it's a simple olive bowl at a tavern in Verona.
By comparison, the fruit that will produce Amarone goes through a very different process. After all, it is the family patriarch – most wineries would save this wine for the older, more mature vineyards. To ensure maturity, grapes are plucked slightly later – often in mid-October. They are then let to dry throughout the winter to form raisins.
Over the winter, Amarone grapes (Corvina, Corvinone, and Rondinella) need a long time to dry out. The grapes will lose between 30% and 40% of their weight throughout the drying process, which takes around 120 days. As a result, there is extreme concentration and high sugar content, which translates into alcohol concentrations of 15% or greater. Additionally, it attracts a premium price. You can do the math: a bottle of Amarone della Valpolicella has far more fruit than a bottle of Valpolicella Classico. The drying process needs a lot of time and space commitment from the winemaker.
Who Makes the Best Amarone?
The majority of manufacturers of Amarone also manufacture Valpolicella Classico and Valpolicella Ripasso, or "Baby Amarone." Ripasso is made by infusing fresh Valpolicella Classico wines with Amarone wine skins. The resultant wine absorbs more body and flavor. You end up with a dry, medium-bodied wine with the complexity of Amarone at a lower price point.
When Should I Drink Amarone?
The ideal way to enjoy a bottle of Amarone wine is with excellent friends and even better cuisine. Amarone is rich enough to be served as an aperitif at the end of a long day. It can also be used as a complement to hearty dishes.
Our picks for pairing Amarone wine with your next cuisine are as follows:
- Red meats, especially a juicy steak
- Game (venison, bear, reindeer, elk, rabbit, etc.)
- Chocolate with a strong, buttery flavor
- Ripe cheese (including gorgonzola and parmesan)
For a "date night" meal, Amarone wine is ideal. It's perfect with a cheese board for dessert. Perfect for a night of chocolate indulging. It is truly versatile and great for any special occasion.
The Valpolicella wines are the most versatile in Italy. Irrespective of the season, event, or budget, you'll never go awry with this collection.
Where Can You Get the Best Amarone?
If you are looking for a convenient place to get yourself a bottle of Amarone della Valpolicella wine, Liquorama is for you.Liquorama is the top online liquor store where you can find a wide range of alcoholic beverages, including wine, beer, whiskeys, tequilas, and other favorite spirits.
Shop for best-selling Amarone wines from Liquorama today!