The method used to make it is truly singular: after the appassimento process is complete, and the juice crushed out of the dried grapes for turning into Amarone, the pomace – the stems and most importantly the dried grapeskins – is removed and added to vats of selected Valpolicella wine while it’s fermenting, before any barrel ageing. The effect is to beef up the wine – the extra phenolic compounds leeched out of the pomace help to boost the wine’s body and structure, and add an extra boost of concentration and fruit flavours.
As the base wines chosen for this method (ripasso – ‘re-passed’) tend to be particularly good Valpolicella Classico, the result of this imaginative yet inexpensive process is a really exceptional bit of value for money. All the freshness of Valpolicella normale is retained, but with real added heft and seriousness. For a more accessible, more everyday alternative to Amarone, look no further!
Colour: dense plum-purple, with reddish hues, turning browner with age.
Aroma: blackberries and sour cherries; lifted spices like cinnamon and cloves.
Palate: thick, viscous mouthfeel, bright acidity; red and black cherries, damsons, smokiness; size and weight overall.
Food Pairing: braised meats; wild mushrooms; aged parmigiano.