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What Makes Amarone Wine Unique

What Makes Amarone Wine Unique

Hailing from the northern Veneto region, Amarone della Valpolicella is one of Italy's most popular red wines ranking up there with Barolo and Brunello. What makes this silky red so special? Keep scrolling, vino lovers!

WHAT IS AMARONE DI VALPOLICELLA DOC? 

Although it is often simply referred to as Amarone,  the official name is Amarone di Valpolicella, denoting the viticultural zone where it is produced. Located in the northern region of Veneto, Valpolicella is a winemaking area boasting rolling hillsides and a mild to cool climate. It is the second largest winemaking area of Italian DOC wines and in fact, Valpolicella means the "valley of many cellars" in Greek.

Unlike other wines, Amarone undergoes a very unique process prior to fermentation. In late October, grapes are harvested and allowed to dry for around 120 days. Known as the appassimento technique, the drying process traditionally occurs on straw mats. However, modern Amarone winemaking usually involves temperature controlled drying chambers.

The result of all this drying? Using partially dried grapes helps concentrate the juices and increases skin contact. This gives the wine a very ripe, full-bodied flavor and high alcohol content, usually 15% or higher. No other wine is made this way, making Amarone one unique vino!

Bunches of grapes used for Amarone

After the grapes have dried, they are crushed and fermented at low temperatures for one to two months. Finally, the wine is ready to be aged in oak barrels, typically for five or more years.

HOW DOES AMARONE TASTE? 

In Italian, Amarone means "the Great Bitter," thanks to its tannic, yet pleasantly bitter finish. Still don't get the wrong idea–this wine is not acidic or extremely sharp on the palate at all! This silky red often boasts a ripe, full-bodied texture and an almost chocolatey flavor with hints of red cherry and dried fruit.

Amarone pairs exceptionally well with rich, hearty dishes, like red meat and hearty pasta plates, which help support the strong flavors and high alcohol content. Our experts also recommend serving it after dinner with aged cheeses such as Parmigiano Reggiano DOP, pecorino, and gorgonzola.

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Have leftover Amarone? Try this tasty Radicchio Risotto recipe, which uses Amarone wine during the cooking process.