A Guide to Valpolicella and Amarone wines

Did you know that two of Italy's most legendary wines come from the Valpolicella area in the north-east of Italy? This is an area that lies between Lake Garda, the cities of Verona and Vicenza as well as the Venetian Alps. Recently I was given the opportunity to discover more about this wonderful area and the exceptional wines produced there.

This guide to Amarone and Valpolicella from Independent Wines is definitely worth a read; it details the different wines produced there, information on the specific grapes and growing zones and the methods used to produce the wonderful wines.


Types of Valpolicella and Amarone wines
There are lots of different types of wine bearing the Valpolicella name from fruity and fresh to bolder, spicier wines with complex and concentrated flavours. 

Amarone wine is made with dried grapes. It is intensely concentrated, rich and dense wine with flavours of  candied strawberry, prunes, raisins, cinnamon spice and dark chocolate.

How are the wines made?
Valpolicella wines are made from Corvina, Corvinone and Rondinella grapes. The grapes are grown in a conventional way to preserve their authenticity. Harvest time usually occurs during the third and fourth weeks of September. The grapes need to be fairly ripe so that they have the correct sugar level which produces wine with a minimum alcohol level of 11%. The fermentation takes place at a controlled temperature which usually takes around two weeks for Volpolicella. For Valpolicella Superiore, it can take around three weeks in order to extract more colour and flavour. Often winemakers will choose stainless steel for this wine rather than oak barrels as this preserves the fresh aromas of red fruits.


Amarone wines are made using the appasimento method. This is a process that involves picking the grapes by hand at the end of September while they still have a high level of natural acidity. After being picked, the grapes are dried in indoor lofts for 3-4 months. The grapes will practically turn into raisins as they lose 30% of their weight. This results in dried grapes with very highly concentrated levels of sugar, acid and flavour. The grapes are fermented and turned in to a deep, bold and dry wine with a 14-15.5% alcohol content. Amarone wines are aged for at least two years (whilst Amarone Riserva wines are aged for four years) in oak barrels, stainless steel tanks or in bottles. 


Wines to try!
Independent Wines is a great choice when it comes to selecting wines. There are a variety to choose from including-

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