Amarone della Valpolicella Classico Superiore
DOC, Giuseppe Quintarelli, 1983
|Origin:||Italy / Veneto / Amarone|
|Grape variety:||Corvina, Rondinella, Sangiovese, Molinara|
|Serving temperature:||16 to 18 °C|
Italy – Where wine is a way of life
The Italian wine regions are extremely diverse, and this is made clear in their wines. Established varieties such as Merlot, Syrah, and Sauvignon can be found on just 15 percent of the total vine growing area. The remaining 85 percent is reserved for autochthonous, indigenous varieties. More than 2,000 different grape varieties are grown under diverse conditions and pressed with various techniques into wines that reach the top tier of the international wine market.
Veneto: land of the Amarone and Prosecco
Veneto stretches from the Alpine foothills, through the flat Po Valley, to the Gulf of Venice on the Adriatic coast. Two types of wine in particular have been able to celebrate spectacular successes here in recent years: Amarone growths impress with their opulent body and force, while the cheerfully bubbling Proseccos please with their fruity, grape freshness. But the region also produces drinkable everyday wines, including the white Soave and the red Bardolino.
The cherry-fruity red Rondinella is number two in the league of Amarone grapes. The Corvina traditionally takes the lead role; Molinara plays the third violin. Winemakers appreciate Rondinella’s extreme resistance to fungal diseases. This is important because the grapes for Amarone are dried for several months prior to pressing. While this takes place in a well ventilated area, it is nonetheless advantageous if the berries are not susceptible to the consequences of potential moisture. Rondinella is also placed in the sweet wine Recioto, the second specialty of the Valpolicella region, as well as in Bardolino, the house wine of the nearby Lake Garda.
Content in the supporting role
Do you know the whitish film that forms on ripe damson plums? Nature has adapted it to protect the fruit from drying out. The same phenomenon is observed with Molinara grapes. At the time of harvest, the red berries appear as though dusted with flour. This is how the variety gets its name: from the Italian “mulino” or mill. But the Molinara rarely shows up on the wine label. The grape is the smallest component of the Amarone and Recioto blends, the specialties of the northern Italian Valpolicella. It also mixes discretely into Bardolino, a dry red from Lake Garda.
Epitome of Tuscany
Chianti classico, Brunello di Montalcino, Vino nobile di Montepulciano: the Sangiovese is in each of the classic red wines from Tuscany. For a long time, it was assumed that its birthplace was here. After all, it appeared under various synonyms in Tuscan documents dating from 1600. But in 2004, researchers unveiled that one of its parents originated in Calabria in southern Italy. Today, it is the most planted variety in Italy. In addition to Tuscany, it fares well in Emilia-Romagna, Marche or Umbria. It is an exceptionally lovable wine: its aromas of cherry and plum, violets and spices are complemented by fresh acidity and a juicy texture. It wins people around both as cheerful, drinkable wines with pizza and pasta and as barrel-aged top class wines. Carried by Italian immigrants, it found its way to California and Argentina. However, it does not have the same reputation there.
Everything stays in the family
This triumvirate is inseparable: the red Corvina grapes and their genetic offspring, Rondinella and Molinara. They come from Valpolicella in the northern-Italian Veneto. There they are processed together into the flagship wines of the region: the opulent Amarone and the sweet Recioto. The principle is always the same: the winemaker dries the grapes after harvest for a few months. Thus the water evaporates in the berries, and the sugar concentrates, similar to raisins. The Corvina always plays the lead role in this. It shines with a deep red colour, juicy, sour cherry fruit and mild tannins. It contributes the same qualities to the Bardolino, a dry red from near Lake Garda. A bold tip: try Amarone with grilled Wagyu beef.