Amarone is a specialty of the Valpolicella region in Veneto, it is made by drying the grapes for up to three months after harvest. This process reduces the amount of water in the grapes and makes for tasting a more concentrated wine. Traditionally in Italy this was done on straw mats in attics and random rooms in the valley, forward thinking wineries and wine estates revolutionized the production by building a temperature and humidity controlled building to prevent the grapes from being infected by ‘noble rot’ in the wine cellars. Noble Rot is the character that is important to producing Sauternes in Bordeaux and Tokaji in Hungary, both white wines. The Noble Rot character is lovely in a white wine but some people find it intrusive in red wines…especially dry ones such as Amarone.
This wine is deep and dark, with aromas that are reminiscent of both big Rhone reds and Ports, but has a very clean attack and notes of dried black cherry, raspberry, black pepper, gamey characters and some well proportioned oak. The palate is rich and full with sweet fruit character and more oak in the very long finish. This big wine is best suited to robust Italian fare, cheese and cold winter nights. All Amarone is at least 15% in alcohol, so be careful, the smoothness and sweet fruit could trick you into over indulging.