Amarone grapes

The Enchanting Tale of Amarone della Valpolicella

Immerse yourself in the enchanting tale of Amarone della Valpolicella, a wine that effortlessly marries the robustness of a heavyweight dry red with an immediate allure, nestled in the heart of Verona by the Adige River in the Veneto region of northeastern Italy. Amarone, a name that intriguingly translates to “very great bitter,” is anything but ordinary. Its journey from an accidental discovery to one of Italy’s most prestigious wines is a testament to the serendipity that often accompanies greatness.

The Accidental Birth of Amarone

Imagine the surprise when, following World War II, Valpolicella’s vintners found bottles of Recioto—originally an intensely flavored, sweet red wine made from dried grapes—transformed. This transformation wasn’t just a mere change in taste; it was the birth of Amarone as we know it. These bottles, left to ferment and age far beyond the intended period, underwent a kind of alchemy. What was supposed to be a sweet nectar evolved into a dry, richly complex wine with a hint of bitterness, a serendipitous twist that gave us Amarone della Valpolicella.

This accidental magic is rooted in the wine’s chemical journey. Typically, sweet wines like Recioto halt fermentation to preserve some of their natural sugars, preventing them from converting entirely into alcohol. However, when these particular batches were left to ferment too long, they lost their sweetness, aging into the dry, sophisticated Amarone.

A Symphony of Grapes: Crafting Amarone

Crafting Amarone is an art, blending Corvina and Corvinone grapes with a cast of supporting varieties like Negrara, Molinara, and Rondinella to name a few. This ensemble creates a full-bodied, intense, and elegant wine that sings with full-flavored notes of cherry, enriched by well-rounded tannins. It’s a process that respects tradition while embracing the full potential of its varied terroir.

Amarone Today: A Global Emblem of Italian Excellence

Fast forward to the present, and Amarone stands tall among Italy’s wine royalty, boasting the Controlled and Guaranteed Denomination of Origin (DOCG) certification—a nod to its unmatched quality and legacy. What started as a local marvel not commercialized until the late 1950s has blossomed into one of Italy’s most sought-after exports. It’s particularly revered in regions as diverse as Scandinavia, Germany, the U.S., Switzerland, and Canada, celebrated for its elegant simplicity yet complex, full-bodied character.

Ripasso: The Legacy Continues

The story of Amarone doesn’t end in the bottle. The semi-dried skins used in its production find new life in the creation of Ripasso, a rich wine that revisits and intensifies the Valpolicella experience. This process, wherein fresh Valpolicella Classico wine meets the semi-dried grapes of Amarone, epitomizes the sustainable, circular philosophy of winemaking in Valpolicella, ensuring that nothing is wasted and everything is cherished.

Amarone della Valpolicella is more than just a wine; it’s a narrative of happy accidents, traditional craftsmanship, and the enduring appeal of Italian viticulture. Its journey from an overlooked batch of Recioto to a world-renowned dry red wine encapsulates the magic that can arise from the vineyards of Veneto, making every sip a testament to the beauty of unforeseen outcomes.