What is Amarone Wine? How is Amarone Made? What Does It Taste Like?

Amarone is a red wine blend, pronounced AH-MA-ROW-NAY, most commonly made from Venetian grapes Corvina, Corvinone, Rondinella, Oseleta and Molinara. The grapes are grown and produced in Valpolicella, located in the Veneto region of northern Italy. What makes these wines unique is the process that takes place after harvest known as the “appassimento process.” Traditionally, after harvest, they were laid out on straw mats to turn into raisins in the sun. Nowadays, the grapes are laid out on wooden racks in climate-controlled drying rooms called Fruttaio.

How Are Amarone Wines Made?

The basic idea is to dehydrate the grapes, which in turn, increases the concentration and the sugar in the grape, adding richness, balance and a higher alcohol content to the final product. Due to the dehydration in the grapes, it takes twice as many grapes to produce the wine, which has a lot to do with the very expensive price tag associated with it. This process takes place for anywhere from about 90 to 120 days. Like all wines, there are different styles determined by the producer’s style and the location of where the grapes are grown, and of course, the blend that is put into the wine.

Amarone Taste & Structure

When it comes to Amarone, it is very important to know the style that you are drinking. When people think about Amarone, what typically comes to mind is full-bodied, robust with dark fruit flavors of prunes and plums. This can be the case but there is also a leaner style with more acid and structure that has a bit more longevity. A very large factor is ripeness at harvest and the length of the appassimento process. As the grape ripens it loses acidity, so the producers that pick early in the season have the tendency to have a wine that will have a more maintained acidity. Producers that allow their grapes to ripen longer will exhibit wines that have lower acidity.

Another important factor is the appassimento process. Producers that allow for longer drying times will often have more raisinated and pruney styles. Conversely, the ones that don’t dry their grapes as long will give you a slightly leaner style with more notes of cherry and plums.

Amarones can range anywhere from 14%-18% in alcohol content, so even the leaner expressions are strong wines.

More Ways To Explore and Learn About Italian Wine

Learn About The Wine Region of Veneto Italy (Where Amarone Originates)

Le Bignele Winery — Boutique Amarone Production in Valpolicella

The Sangiovese Wine Grape Variety — Taste, Terroir & Beyond

10 Charming Italian Towns To Visit if You Love Food & Wine

5 Small Towns in Central Italy To Explore

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An expert in all things wine and cocktails, Jared Gelband is the Wine and Beverage Director for Italian Village Restaurants, overseeing the award-winning wine cellar with over 20,000 bottles. Working as a server at Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steakhouse, Jared quickly discovered his passion for wine and went on pursue his Level 1 Certification with the Court Of Master Sommeliers. He spent nearly two years as a Sommelier at Eno Wine Bar before joining Italian Village Restaurants in 2016. In addition to handling wine purchases for all three restaurants, creating crafting new cocktails, and teaching weekly wine classes for employees, Jared also focuses on developing specials and programs including a newly launched Coravin program, summer Rosé program, and more. At Italian Village, his philosophy revolves around variety, integrity and staying ahead of current trends across the U.S. and Italy. When he’s not drinking or working with wine, Jared enjoys snowboarding, golfing, traveling and exploring Chicago’s culinary scene – all while studying for his Level 2 Certification.

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