Cos’è l’Amarone della Valpolicella?
Valpolicella's Amarone è uno dei vini italiani più importanti e conosciuti. Viene prodotto in una territorio abbastanza limitato della provincia di Verona che si estende dal Lago di Garda, continuando sulla zona pedemontana, fino a toccare quasi la provincia di Vicenza; quest’area include cinque vallate: Valpolicella, Valpantena, Val Tramigna, Val d'Illasi and the valley of Mezzane.
Amarone is characterized by its intense flavour, dry taste and a red colour which, thanks to ageing, tends to become garnet in colour and can even be kept for more than twenty years. The grapes used in its production, according to the specification, are harvested between the last week of September and the first week of October and are Corvina, Corvinone and Rondinella.
The name Amarone was created to distinguish it from another wine produced in the same geographical area and with the same grapes, Recioto. The history of Amarone is very curious, because it is a wine created by mistake.
This name was born in 1936 in Villa Mosconi, situated in Arbizzano di Valpolicella, which at the time was the headquarters of the winery Valpolicella, thanks to Adelino Lucchese. Adelino was the head of the winery, one day he found a barrel of Recioto forgotten for a long time and, after tasting it exclaimed enthusiastically: "This is not bitter, it is an Amarone (really bitter). In a nutshell, Recioto, put in cask and then forgotten, continued to ferment until it became dry. The sugars were all transformed into alcohol and have lost the sweetness typical of wine.
Obviously, Amarone was not like the one we know today but, over the years, it has been perfected to obtain the current product.
Produzione dell’Amarone della Valpolicella
Durante gli anni il metodo di produzione utilizzato per questo vino è rimasto più o meno lo stesso: le uve vengono raccolte solamente se sono perfettamente sane e completamente mature poiché dovranno poi affrontare una fase molto delicata, l’withering.
Nowadays, the grapes are carefully selected from the moment they are harvested and are then carefully arranged in a single layer inside wooden or plastic crates. This type of arrangement allows, when the crates are then stored in the withering rooms , the air to dry the bunches appropriately without risking the formation of mould that would affect their quality.
In the withering process, which can last from three to four months, it is very important that the level of humidity in the air is controlled and, if it becomes too high, producers can use conditioning systems operating at a temperature similar to the found during the traditional process.
During the withering process a series of transformations take place in the bunches: the reduction of acidity, the change in the ratio between fructose and glucose which increases the concentration of polyphenols and, last but not least, the increase in glycerine which makes the final product completely different from the one obtained with the traditional vinification of fresh grapes. Thanks to withering, another substance is also formed, resveratrol; according to recent scientific studies this substance, in case of regular and moderate consumption, helps to reduce the risk of heart attack and arteriosclerosis because it keeps arteries clean.
Once the withering process is over, the grapes are pressed and then vinified following two possible methods: the traditional method, and a modern method in which winemakers are mostly used. The traditional method is carried out at room temperatures, which are low due to the time of the year, followed by a few months of fermentation on the bunches. This method gives the wine inimitable characteristics and taste, greater longevity but requires very long ageing times. The modern method, on the other hand, is characterized by the use of modern machineries which controls and manages the fermentation temperature, and allows to obtain a softer and more fruity wine in a shorter time.
At the end of the vinification, in both methods the wine produced is aged for different periods of time in French oak barrels or in Slavonian oak barrels. The wine is then bottled in glass and further refined before sale.
Abbinamenti gastronomici e ricette con l’Amarone della Valpolicella
TheValpolicella's Amarone is the perfect wine to pair with important dishes such as game and roast meats, stews and braised meats but, at the same time, is also ideal with aged cheeses and cold cuts platters.
One of the typical dishes of the tradition in Verona is prepared with Amarone, from which it also takes its name, the Amarone risotto. This risotto is a very tasty dish, and it's prepared with ingredients entirely produced in Verona and its province.
Il riso utilizzato nel risotto all’Amarone viene coltivato nella zona più a sud della provincia ed è il Vialone Nano, durante la preparazione il riso viene bagnato con l’Amarone e infine mantecato con un formaggio tipico dei monti Lessini, il Monte Veronese.