veneto italian - Printable Version

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- shana cantoni - 03-02-2002

I just got back from a wine tasting today and tried an amarone that was fabulous. Since this wine was a little pricey I settled for what the wine steward referred to as a 'poor mans amarone' a ripasso. Could someone please explain this amarone/ripasso situation to me.

- Botafogo - 03-02-2002

Shana, they make four types of (traditional) red wine in the Valpolicella zona:

Valpolicella (or V. Classico or V. C. Superiore) which is made from Corvina, Rondinella and Molinara grapes vinified in the same way as most other reds.

Amarone (which may also come in classico or superiore versions and may also say Amarone della Recito del Valpolicella if the winery is feeling verbose) is made from the pressed juice of the above grape variteties after they have been air dried by 30-50% (indoors under somewhat controlled conditions, NOT out in the sun to make raisins) and is fermented dry. Amarone literally means "the big bitter one".

Recioto is made from the juice (nearly paste in some cases) of grapes that have been dried so much that the resulting must is so rich that the yeast cells die of alcohol poisoning before the sugar is used up. These are quite rich and somewhat sweet wines and can get VERY expensive. They are fabulous with blue cheese and nuts OR a good book and a fireplace.

Ripasso is made by racking the Amarone into the aging vessels yet LEAVING the skins and other solids in the fermentation tank then filling it with normal Valpolicella and refermenting it to resolve any residual sugars and absorb what Amarone is still in the solids. This give much added richness to the wine at almost no added expense. "Ripasso" literally means "the second pass". This whole thing is not unlike making soup from bones or even po' folk and slaves taking the leavings from the meals cooked for the Big House and inventing Gumbo, Jambalaya, hushpuppies and such....


- Drew - 03-03-2002

Great definitions, Roberto....thanks.


- winoweenie - 03-03-2002

Boy I be hungarie!!!!ww

- wondersofwine - 03-04-2002

Your definitions helped me. I've tasted a very attractive amarone but wasn't clear about the different processes.