Valpolicella & Amarone della Valpolicella
Valpolicella is a series of valleys in Italy’s pre-Alps bordering the region of Soave, but here it is only red wines that are produced. The varieties used are a combination of Corvina, Corvinone, Rondinella and Molinara, but others are permitted. As in neighbouring Soave, the best vineyard sites are on the hillsides, away from the quantity led, fertile soils of the lower plains.
There are a number of styles of wine produced here: Valpolicella and Valpolicella Classico are the styles simply made from freshly harvested grapes. Amarone della Valpolicella is made from grapes which have been dried in the winery until they reach a point of desiccation, followed by pressing and fermentation in the normal way. Due to a higher concentration of sugars from the drying, Amarone is a much more profound wine. Valpolicella Superiore is not strictly regulated as to be precise in its vinification methods, but is normally a blend of dried and fresh grapes. There is another style which is gaining momentum and that is Valpolicella Ripasso. This is an almost unique style of wine to this region where the fresh Valpolicella is refermented with the gross lees (the residual solids from the fermentation) from the same year’s Amarone.
Richard Ballantyne MW