BLOG

ARCHIVES

  • Amarone – A display of power & character

    Posted: 09/03/2017 6:13 pm EDT Updated: March 11, 2017 2:00 pm
    By The Wine Guy WILLIAM SEAH 
    CSW, CSS, WSET Adv, FWS, CSP
     

    When most Singaporeans speak about Italian wines, the big five usually will be the first to dominate the conversation – Barolo (Piedmont), Brunello (Tuscany), Chianti (Tuscany), Super Tuscans (Tuscany), and lastly the powerful red AMARONE della Valpolicella (Veneto).  Usually known as just Amarone, meaning “The Great Bitter” in Italian, is a dense and powerful wine that attains its richness via the appassimento method, a process that requires the drying of the harvested grapes before fermentation.
     
    The production of the Amarone wine is limited within the regionof Valpolicella, in the province of Verona, Northeast of Italy. This region has been producing wines since ancient time, many of which were highly reputable back then. The grape varieties involved are mainly:
    – Corvina (describing the grape as black as crow “Corvo”)
    – Rondinella (meaning small swallow due to the shape of the grape bunches)
    – Molinara (means “miller” due to sprinkled flour appearance on the skin of the grapes),
    and other indigenous ones such as Croatina, Negrara and Oseletta.
                                                        
    The grapes are usually harvested during the first two weeks of October, where the meticulously selected bunches are set to air-dried using a process called appassimento (meaning to dry and shrivel). In th
    e past, the grapes were traditionally spread out on straw mats, however, modern technology has allowed present wineries to dry the grapes under special chambers with controlled conditions that improve efficiency and reduce spoilages of the fruits. The whole process will take about 120 days, with which the grapes will have shrivelled with very concentrated flavours and rich in natural sugar.
     
    After which the raisin-like grapes are crushed and sent thru a temperature controlled fermentation that may last up to 50 days with an alcohol of minimum 14%. From then, the wines, if labelled under “Amarone della Valpolicella”. will be subjected to two years of ageing, four years if it is a Riserva.
     
    History has it that the introduction of Amarone was actually quite brief, with the first commercially recorded bottle in 1938 and actively traded in the 1950’s. It is in fact, its “sweeter brother”, Recioto, that was mentioned by the Romans back in 2nd century BC. The sweetness is achieved when the yeast used on the shrivelled grapes (thru appassimento process) during fermentation dies off under certain conditions and not all natural sugar is being converted to alcohol. The word “Recioto” is derived from a local Italian dialect “orrechie”, meaning ear, as the grapes used for the winemaking are from the top corners of the bunches or “ears” which considered the ripest due to more exposure to sunlight.
     
    At some point in history, a memory lapsed under different fermenting conditions, caused the yeast in a barrel of Recioto to continue converting, resulting in dry, yet strong red which accidentally created a worthy red called Amarone.
    Amarone della Valpolicella only achieved its DOC status in 1990 and was promoted to DOCG in December 2009. With the rich pomace, leftovers from the pressings of Amarone and Recioto, it is added to Valpolicella wines by producers for extended period of maceration, drawing out more colour and flavours, adding further body, tannins, texture and complexity to the wine. This wine is called the Ripasso, nicknamed “Baby Brother” of Amarone.
     
    At WINE & CHEF, we highly encouraged our guest to pair our AZIENDA VIVIANI Amarone della Valpolicella Classico DOCG wine, specially picked by our Fabio Magnani Selection via Papawine, with our
    (1) “Blackmore Wagyu Minute Steak” or upgrade to our
    (2) “Angus Pasture Fed Ribeye” else pampered with our prized
    (3) “300 Days Grain Fed T-Bone Steak” craved from Ranger Valley (Black Onyx) Angus Beef

    The perfect package for a flavour bursting and palate indulging dining experience.

    At WINE & CHEF, we don’t just sell food or wine, we share with you the stories of our cuisine and the romance of our wines, adding interesting “flavours” and enlightenment to the good stuffs that immerse our taste buds.