Amarone is one of my all time favorite wines. It is a red wine made in the Valpolicella region, which is near Verona (one of my favorite Italian cities). The taste of Amarone is robust with just a little sweetness. Actually, not really a sweetness, more like a smoothness that feels a little sweet.
The grapes are harvested in early fall when they are ripe, and then left to dry to concentrate the flavor.
The drying process is incredibly laborious, the winemakers must pick through the bunches of drying grapes by hands, discarding rotting grapes to make sure the entire batch is not ruined.
Once the grapes have dried to almost raisins, the remaining juice is extracted and left to age in beautiful old wooden barrels.
Several vineyards in the Valpolicella region make Amarone, but the winery I buy mine from is Tommasi Winery. There are still three remaining wine barrels from 1902 that they use to make Amarone (they also use new barrels, but I love the old ones). You can even see that they have had to renumber the old barrels to fit the new numbering scheme.
I also love the gigantic wine barrels. The small looking ones on the left are actually about thigh high, if that gives you any reference to just how big the barrels on the right are. Just think of all that wine in those barrels.!
Because the process of making Amarone is so intesive, it is more expensive than many of the wines in the region. It is excellent for special occasions or celebrations, but I definitely would not recommend using this as a table wine.
The leftovers from the process of making Amarone can also be used to make Amarone grappa. A nice treat if you like Grappa.
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