Amarone & Valpolicella: Rich Reds of Italy

Two of a Kind

Sara Sparks | March 8, 2019

If you love full-bodied reds, likely you have tasted bold Amarone della Valpolicella from the Veneto. Its flavors of rich dark fruit and palate-coating tannin appeal to lovers of modern-styled California red and old-world classicists alike.

Masses of dried grapes, rather than fresh berries, are fermented to give concentration and heft to Amarone, a technique known as passito. Though capable of long aging, many choose to drink these formidable wines upon release.

Valpolicella is like an Amarone-in-training. Bottles designated ripasso are given a boost when the passito leftovers of Amarone are added to the fermentation vat. Floral and fruity aromatics carry through these expressions, which are less imposing than Amarone.

The richness of these Veneto reds begs for a big meal. Osso buco over pasta or braised duck in wine sauce are just the beginning of pairing options.