• Italy: Valpolicella in  Veneto


  • Like the Barolo, a good aged Amarone is a great gift and also a perfect wine for a special occasion. Just make sure the dinner is quite rich.


  • Wines aged up to 10 years: decant for 2 hours
  • Wines aged more than 10 years: keep the bottle standing for up to a day for the sediment to go down then decant for minimum 30 minutes
  • 18 – 20 °C (64 – 68 °F)
  • Shiraz wine glass


  • Risotto, pasta with tomato or truffle sauce, red meat dishes
  • Parmigiano, aged Gouda, Gorgonzola, Danish Blue

Valpolicella Ripasso, Amarone

Amarone della Valpolicella as the name indicates is one of Valpolicella’s wines near Verona in the Veneto region. This wine is definitely the hero of Veneto, having the same blend as the Valpolicella wine (Corvina or Corvinone, Rondinella and Molinara) but produced in a different way. Valpolicella Ripasso is probably the closest that you can get to Amarone on a budget however unlike the Valpolicella wines, Amarone is full bodied, with great aging capabilities.

The alcohol content is minimum 14% although it usually goes above 15% and can reach 16%. This is a wine that can sustain heavy food, something one would serve at a Christmas dinner.

How Amarone is made

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The method through which Amarone is made is called Appassimento in Italian. During harvest, the best bunches are selected with grapes that are not bruised and have enough space between each other in order to avoid the possibility of mold creating during drying. This process is done by hand by professionals who know which grapes to pick.

The grapes are then dried for 3 to 4 months until less than half the liquid disappears which intensifies the flavors in the grapes. After this the grapes are slowly pressed and slowly fermented (35 to 50 days). The remaining pomace is used in the production of the Valpolicella Ripasso. The wine is then aged in oak for a minimum of 2 years for the Amarone “normale” and a minimum on 4 years for the Riserva. In fact Amarone can age for 10 to 15 years and even longer. The older the Amarone, the better and the pricier it is.

Traditional versus Modern Method

The above mentioned method – Appassimento – is the traditional method of naturally drying the grapes. With the modern method, the grapes are dried much faster in rooms with controlled heat and humidity and then aged in new oak barrels. Traditional methods also usually use the classic grape blend while the modern method can include grapes like Merlot and Sangiovese.

Wines made with the traditional method can age longer as the wine maintains its acidity for longer while with the modern method, wines do not has as long lasting aging capabilities.

  • Excellent vintages: 1993, 2000, 2001, 2004, 2006 – 2008, 2010 – 2012, 2015
  • Exceptional vintages: 1990, 1995, 1997, 1998, 2009, 2016

Recioto versus Amarone

Amarone is basically Recioto with a longer fermentation process. The difference between the two wines comes from when the fermentation process stops. If it is stopped earlier then the resulting wine will have residual sugar and hence will become a sweet wine called Recioto with an alcohol content of around 12%. Besides being enjoyed on its own as a sweet wine, Recioto is also used in the production of sparkling wines.

Bolla Le Poiane

Amarone, 2016

  • Country and region: Italy, Veneto, Amarone della Valpolicella Classico
  • Producer: Bolla
  • Blend: Corvina, Corvinone, Rondinella
  • Alcohol content: 15%
  • Tasting notes: raisins, cherries, spice, pepper, cinnamon, full body, well balanced, velvet tannins, long finish.