The 35 Best Producers Of Amarone
Amarone della Valpolicella is widely recognized as one of Italy’s most powerful and iconic red wines since it was first produced in the 1950s (many people are surprised to learn that Amarone as we know it today only dates back that far; the production method has been used for more than two millennia, but until the 1950s, the wine made was always sweet; this is known today as Recioto).
The process used to make Amarone is known as appassimento, in which the harvested grapes are air-dried on mats or in plastic boxes in a temperature and humidity-controlled room; this lasts about three months and the resulting grapes lose much of their natural water, and shrivel, looking a bit like raisins. Amarone is generally a powerful wine (16%-16.5% alcohol), and the wines can age for more than twenty years, but the finest producers continually craft wines of elegance that reveal their true character starting at age ten.
Amarone della Valpolicella is produced from several local red grape types, most notably Corvina, Corvinone and Rondinella, while other varietals that can be used include Oseleta, Molinara and Croatina. It should be noted that the Valpolicella production area is most famous for the classica zone, divided into five sub-zones: Sant’Ambrogio, Marano, Negrar, Fumane and San Pietro in Cariano. However excellent examples of Amarone are also made in the Valpantena zone as well as the Ilasi valley, both situated east of the classica zone.
Here is my list of the 35 finest producers of Amarone della Valpolicella:
Monte del Frà – Marica Bonomo has become well-known for her exquisite white wines, but her versions of Amarone are just as special. There are three: Casa Capitei, Le Undici Terre, and two from the Lena di Mezzo estate in Fumane: Amarone Classico Tenuta Lena di Mezzo and Scarnocchio, a riserva Amarone. The style of these wines are judicious fruit and distinctive spice, as well as impressive structure, especially with the examples from the Lena di Mezzo estate.