This blog is dedicated to Suzanne and Kelly who sent me a photo of one of Italy’s Iconic red wines which they were enjoying in a restaurant in Ottawa.
The production of Amarone (Great bitter one”) involves a unique labour intensive twist on the conventional method. The process called Appassimento turns the relatively light reds of Veneto in Northern Italy (Valpolicella) into rich syrupy “high alcohol monsters.
This is how they do it. About 40% of the harvest is allowed to ripen later than the rest of the crop. These late ripened grapes are then laid out on bamboo mats for three to four months.
The grapes shrivel which results in a greater concentration of sugar and flavour.
When the grapes are eventually crushed and fermented the result is a rich full bodied wine that can sometimes have up to 16% of alcohol by volume. The grapes are primarily Corvina blended with some Rondinella, Molinara and Negrara. The result is a rich opulent raisiny red.
Consumers are willing to pay a premium for the extra time and work that goes into the production of a fine Amarone ($60.00 and up).
In Niagara many tobacco drying sheds have been converted to Appassimento warehouses.
The setup is exactly the same and the results are similar to those in Northern Italy.
Mild reds are boosted into high octane powerhouses.
A good buy that falls somewhere in between Valpolicella and Amarone is anything described as Appassimento. At Fellinis we carry a great example of this:
Pasqua Passimento LCBO #141952
It is made near Verona Italy 14% alcohol $13.99
Ripe cherries , cranberry, vanilla and spices .