Origin of Amarone
Amarone is a really well known wine, but with a very recent history. As a matter of fact, it started as a mistake! Amarone is the brother of sweet Recioto. Both are wines made from dried grapes: Corvina, Corvinone, Rondinella, Negrara and Oseleta. These are hand-picked in September and left to dry naturally in small boxes (appassimento).
The water contained in the grapes evaporates and the juice naturally concentrates. By January, when we crush the grapes, the sugar level is very high and that makes Amarone a full bodied wine. The main difference between Amarone and Recioto lies in fermentation: With the concentrated juice that is destined to become Recioto, the fermentation is deliberately stopped in the middle to create a dessert- style wine with high sugar levels.
However, with Amarone, all the sugar is converted, resulting in a dry, structured, red wine with a high alcohol content (15+%).
As mentioned above, Amarone started with a mistake around seventy years ago when a winemaker lost track of a barrel of Recioto: the natural yeasts started fermentation again and all the remaining sugar was converted into alcohol.
As a result, the wine had a stronger, slightly bitter taste. Amaro is actually the Italian word for bitter. Until that time Recioto was historically the most prestigious wine. The “mistake” now makes Amarone the more famous and well known!