Monday, March 10, 2008

Amarone...It's More Than Big

Pronounced ah-mah-ROH-neh, it means “big bitter” in Italian. Its full name is Amarone della Valpolicella. Its name comes from Vaio Amaron, the name of the vineyard originally owned by Serego Alighieri, a member of Dante Alighieri's family. Dante was an Italian Florentine poet. His greatest work: The Divine Comedy, is considered one of the last and greatest literary statements produced during the Middle Ages, and one of the first of the Renaissance.

This is a wine produced from exactly the same grapes as a standard Valpolicella. Corvina for richness and aroma, Molinara for smoothness and balance and Rondinella for color and tannin. But it is significantly different due to the unique wine making process called “Appasimento”. This technique involves selected bunches of grapes being dried for up to 3 to 4 months on straw mats or in boxes in specially adapted sheds, where the grapes lose approximately up to a third of their weight. The result is an intensity that would not be present with a traditional fermentation. Amarone is finished dry, but as the grapes pick up a raisiny quality and are high in alcohol, there is the impression of sweetness.

Amarone will age well and as the wine is quite full in body as well as intense in flavor, it is much more enjoyable when consumed 7-10 years after the vintage. Amarone pairs well with game, poultry (duck is a great match), lamb or aged steak.

Experience an Amarone. Go big or go home...Run with the big dogs...Big as life.