This DOC area, where are produced some of the most renowned wines of northern Italy, stretches along the Prealpine amphitheatre that surrounds Verona from north-west to east. Within this area we have two geographical sub-areas, the Valpolicella Classico produced in the municipalities of Valpolicella valley and the Valpolicella Valpantena produced in the municipalities of Valpantena valley. The peculiarity of the wines produced in this area is that the combination of the geographical sub-areas and the different types of winemaking gives rise to a large number of different denominations starting from the same blend of grapes. It is clear that, while remaining within a single specification, in case of wines obtained from a blend of several grapes, the freedom of dosage and the different location and the different soil of the various vineyards can produce significant differences from a winemaker to another. But in this case, we also have diversified production procedures. The base blend of the red wines of Valpolicella is made by Corvina grapes 45-95%, Rondinella 5-30%, Corvinone up to 50% in place of Corvina, and other local grapes such as Molinara, Negrara, Oseleta and Forselina up to a total of 25% and not more of 10% for each single variety.
The “base” wine that is produced from these grapes is Valpolicella DOC, with various geographical variations. If it is aged at least 12 months from 1 January after the harvest it can be defined as Superiore.
From this base, the winemakers obtain the other Valpolicella wines, two of which obtained the DOCG.
The first of these is the Recioto della Valpolicella DOCG. It is a sweet red raisin wine obtained by pressing the healthiest grapes after having dried them in ventilated rooms, once on cane trellis and now, often, in low plastic baskets, for about 90/120 days to lose liquids and increase the sugar content of the grapes. The term Recioto derives from the Venetian recie, or ears, with this name the Venetians called the two upper lateral appendages of the bunch, which, thanks to their position, reach a greater degree of ripeness and a more sparse arrangement of the berries, making them more suitable for withering than the rest of the bunch.
From Recioto DOCG comes Amarone DOCG, one of the greatest meditation wines in Italy. It is a raisin wine that instead of being sweet is dry because the long fermentation leads to the change in alcohol of almost all sugars. It is, therefore, a wine with a high alcohol content of 14 ° / 15 ° which is ideal for ageing in barrel (at least two years) and then for long life in the bottle.
the name Amarone dates back to 1936 when in the headquarters of the Cantina Sociale Valpolicella, in those years at Villa Mosconi, the cellar manager Adelino Lucchese, finding an old barrel of Recioto hidden for a decade in the cellar and tasting the wine, exclaimed: “This is not an amaro is an Amarone” given the goodness of the wine. From 1938 the Cantina di Negrar began to sell the Recioto that had continued the fermentation under the name of Amarone. But it was in 1953 that the Bolla winery began marketing the Amarone made by choice and not accidentally obtained from the “wrong” ageing of Recioto.
The last wine we are talking about is Valpolicella Ripasso DOC, it is a Valpolicella DOC which, before being aged in cask, is poured into the vats where the Amarone has just macerated and is left to rest in contact with the skins for about 15/20 days. In this further maceration, the wine is enriched with the typical aromas of Amarone.
To conclude, without Recioto we would not have Amarone and without Amarone, there would be no Valpolicella Ripasso.