Drying the grapes beforehand usually results in a sweet wine, comparable to the Ice Wine made here in cold climates. Ice wines made here in Michigan are very popular and sought after. They are also very pricey.
However, the drying of these grapes can be done using several different methods meaning that not all wines made in this method are necessarily sweet. This made me happy because I don't care much for sweet wines.
My next stop was Wine.com where I had a lengthy chat with Agent Seth who was very knowledgeable about these wines. When told I needed a wine made with Appassimento Method, Seth's first recommendation was a sweet wine should I want to go "full on Recioto". He also mentioned that they had some good Amarone that would be in the Appassimento.
I asked Seth if he could explain these wines to me and that I prefer a dry wine if possible. Seth went on to explain that "appassimento means that the grapes are dried, most traditionally on a straw mat." Seth also told me this concentration of the sugars raises the alcohol potential which if not converted by yeast leaves a residual sugar.
Seth went on to explain that Amarone are generally dry however they are not inexpensive. This is due to the intensive labor needed for small yields. Amarone also has a high alcohol content.
Seth recommended this bottle of 2013 Masi Costasera Amarone Classico on sale for $58.99 and normally priced at $65. This wine gets huge ratings, consistently in the 90+ range. I don't normally spend this much on wine that is not for a special occasion so I created a special occasion and invited our daughter Nicole and her husband, Pierre, to join us for dinner and wine tasting.
When I asked if there were any good wines made in this method that were less expensive this is what Seth had to tell me.
"So, one other way that you can get some richness that they use in the Veneto (the are around Valpolicella where the apassimento method is used to make Amarone) is ripasso- the process of putting Valpolicella wine back on the lees of Amarone for a second fermentation. They're using the leftovers from the appasimento to help with a second wine."Seth then recommended a 2015 Zenato Valpolicella Superiore Ripassa priced at $30 but on sale for $24.99. I bought this bottle as well and served both when Nicole and Pierre joined us for dinner.
Nicole and Pierre had been working selling their Artisinal Petoskey and Pine Products at a local art fair on the day they came for dinner. It poured rain all day long. It was chilly and blustery and miserable out but they still had visitors to their booth and a successful weekend of sales.
They were happy to come in and relax with this warm, comforting meal of Italian Meatball Stew that I chose to pair with the wines.
The wines were very dry. The Amarone was beautifully smooth and delicious with a touch of spice. The Valpolicella was also dry but fruitier and lighter than the Amarone. I thought they were both good values for the price.
Let's take a look at what the others are bringing to the party this week:
- Jennifer at Vino Travels will share “An Amarone Pairing with a Visit to Brunelli”
- Jeff at Food Wine Click will share "Dip Your Biscotti in Montefalco Sagrantino Passito"
- Linda at My Full Wine Glass will share “Passito and peaches –perfect late-summer fare (#ItalianFWT)”
- Camilla Mann at Culinary Adventures with Cam will share “Polpette al Forno + Sartarelli Verdicchio Passito 2013”
- Wendy Klik at A Day in the Life on the Farm will share “Appassimento Method explained in Layman Terms”
- Kevin Gagnon at Snarky Wine will share “Great Sweet Wines of the World Part 2: Passito”
- Cindy at Grape Experiences will share "Italian Night? Pair Appassimento from Abruzzo with Homemade Wild Mushroom Ravioli"
- Nicole at Somm’s Table will share "The Sweet Side of ILatium Morini: Sette Dame Recioto di Soave Classico with an Old-Fashioned Strawberry Cake"
- Gwendolyn at Wine Predator will share "Let Pasqua Put a Little Love in Your Life Appassimento Style
- Katarina at Grapevine Adventures will share “3 Different Italian Appassimento Wines That You Will Love”
Please join us this morning at 11 AM ET for twitter chat following #ItalianFWT for more information on this method that creates these amazing wines.