Written by: Tim Edison

Updated on: October 28, 2019

A Beginner’s Guide to Amarone Wine

Learn everything about Amarone wine from its history to what it should be paired with right here.

amarone wine

For anyone thinking about buying a bottle of Amarone wine, we urge you to do so. The pleasantly bitter notes of this hugely popular wine, along with the meticulous quality control it endures makes it a great choice for any wine lover.

Not every wine appreciator will be familiar with Amarone wine, some may have heard how good it is on the grapevine, while others may recall something from somewhere. If either of these sound familiar, this guide is for you.

We have packaged everything you need to know about Amarone wine into a handy post to explain everything from its origins, history, its grapes and more. Read on to learn about all of these things – and you might just encounter some exceptional recommendations.

Where Does Amarone Wine Come From?

The best Amarone wine comes from a region of northern Italy known as Valpolicella and is sometimes called Amarone Valpolicella to separate it from lesser-quality editions.

Not to be confused with a Valpolicella wine, which as you guessed it, also comes from this region. The area is not just a home to the grapes used to make Amarone wine – which we will come onto soon – but it is home to a variety of different grapes which make the region famous for producing distinctively different red wines.

In fact, the region is joyfully guilty of helping wine lovers taste sweet, dry, spicy and our topic of discussion, a pleasantly bitter wine.

Vineyards in Italy

Valpolicella is located in the Veneto region of Italy and has a northern border neighboring the Alps and the valleys of Lessini Mountains. The whole area is almost 250 square meters and is made up of its renowned alluvial soil. The area provides a spectacle for the eyes as well as the taste buds due to its large rolling hills. The tallest part of Valpolicella is even taller than the Empire State Building in relation to sea level.

Recommended Reading: Don't miss our guide to Montepulciano next!

The Origins of Amarone Wine

The birth of Amarone wine is speculated to go as far back as the Roman Empire. Apparently our Roman friends had a taste for Amarone because of its high alcohol content.

Side note, Amarone wine usually has an alcohol reading around 15%. Legend tells us that the first barrel of Amarone was made by accident after a barrel of another type of wine made in the Valpolicella region was over-fermented. 

Grapes ready for winemaking

Why Quality Matters with Amarone Wine

As we mentioned earlier, Valpolicella is located in northern Italy in a region named Veneto. Veneto is responsible for mass producing a large volume of Amarone wine each year. This meant standards were lower and Amarone came cheap. However, as of 2011, Amarone earned a DOCG wine classification and production became closely controlled and monitored.

The result of this is that Amarone is now as good quality as it has ever been. Some examples of high-quality producers of Amarone wine, and some of our recommendations we might add, include Novaia, Piccoli, Quintrelli and Monte dei Ragni.

Due to the added quality controls put in place, the number of grapes that it takes to manufacture the wine and not to forget the time it takes to produce, Amarone wine is priced slightly higher and ranges up to around £50 per bottle. This is justified for the aforementioned reasons and with your first taste.


The Lowdown on the Grapes

For a wine to be given the Amarone name, it must only use three types of grapes, although it may just use two of these in some circumstances. The three grapes come from the Valpolicella region and are called Corvina, Corvinone and Rondinella.

The majority of the wine is made up of Corvina grapes but up to 50% of the Corvina content can be substituted for Corvinone grapes. The remainder of the grape used are Rondinella grapes which could be between 5% to 55% of the overall content.

That’s the grapes covered but what about the process of making Amarone? The exact process is known as “appassimento” and involves drying out the grapes for many months, pressing them and fermenting them until they are dry. The wine is then left in their barrels for up to five years, bottled and sent to wine lovers in all four corners of the globe.

Vineyard for amarone wine

What Does Amarone Wine Taste Like?

Due to the drying process along with the slow pressing, Amarone wines are vibrant, rich, powerful and full-bodied. The taste is highly concentrated with unique notes. This is what makes it an appealing type of wine for lots of wine lovers and is what places it in high demand.

The flavors of the wine have stood the test of time and have been enjoyed by everyone, from Romans of yesteryear to today’s bunch of connoisseurs.

What to Pair Amarone Wine With?

Pair Amarone wine with good food and even better company. Although we will leave picking your dinner party guests down to you, we can give you some recommendations as to the best food and Amarone pairings.

When it comes to meals, Amarone goes well with meats. Most specifically red meats such as steak and venison. Although it also pairs well with stews and similar hearty dishes. However, this wine is not just for your main courses. It also pairs fantastically with some cheeses and chocolatey desserts. The fact that Amarone pairs with starters, mains and dessert makes it convenient and even the most ideal date night choice.

Try It Yourself!

That concludes our beginner’s guide looking at this old and fabulous wine. We have covered everything to do with Amarone wine from its origins to its grapes and more. We have even provided some great meal ideas that this wine will pair with well.

The only thing left for you to do is try a bottle for yourself. Reading about Amarone wine is great, but sitting down with friends and family, or just your latest read, and sipping away at a glass of Amarone as dusk settles is even better!

About the Author Tim Edison

Tim started Wine Turtle way back in 2015.
These days he contributes to Wine Turtle (and other renowned wine publications) while continuing his wine education.
Tim's wine of the month is the Coates & Seely Reserve Brut NV (from Hampshire, England).

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