Italian wines can be scary! Long names we can’t pronounce, grapes we don’t know (because we barely see them in other countries) and wines that are recognisable by their regions (like in France)… It is a world on its own! I won’t pretend to shed some lights on this universe today. Today, we will just have some fun with some great classics from Valpolicella: Amarone & Ripasso. It is one of my favorite story to tell;)
Do you like big body fruity wines? Have you ever tried an Amarone and/or a Ripasso? They are gorgeous wines worth the try.
Here is why they are so big and deliciously fruity. First the grapes for the Amarone are selected by the best vines in the vineyard, then the harvest is done later in the year resulting in a higher sugar content (and higher alcohol content). But that is not all! Then they spend part of the winter drying to become raisin. Water evaporates from the grapes leaving only a delicious grape concentrate. Now you can only imagine why Amarone is so expensive! It takes twice as many raisin to make a bottle of Amarone! Italians are smart. What do they do with the left over grape skins from the Amarone wine making? The re-pass Valpolicella Classico trough it to extract every little bit of deliciousness and make a more affordable little brother to the Amarone, the Ripasso. Re-pass hence Ripasso. You have guessed it Ripasso is more affordable and has some of the great characteristic of the Amarone.
Now this is a very interesting and unique process that, until recently, was only mastered by the Italians. But the technique has now been brought to the New World and you can find fantastic wines in Argentina and Australia made with the same process. Now, the Old World and their funky laws… you won’t recognise them by the Amarone or Ripasso names as those appellations are reserved for wines from Valpolicella. You might recognise them by Amarone style wines, second pass, or Appasimento which is the name of the technique to make Amarone and Ripasso.
If you are interested in trying some of those delicious wines, here are the ones you can find at UnWined@3Sisters
Amarone: Musella $60
Ripasso: Torre del Falasco $24
Amarone Style from Argentina: Enamore from Renacer $38
Ripasso Style from Australia Alfredo Second Pass from Nugan $19