Saturday, September 7, 2019

Appassimento Method explained in Layman Terms #ItalianFWT

When Katarina of Grapevine Adventures invited the members of ItalianFWT to join her in sampling wines made in the Appassimento Method, I wasn't sure what to expect.  Upon reading her invitation post I learned that this method is made by dehydrating the grapes before the wine making.

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 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:

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.


  1. Both of those wines look fabulous! I will have to hop on and see what is available. Soon!

  2. What a great idea to create and occasion, and how better to do that than to have your daughter and her spouse over for dinner. What a treat for everyone!

    1. It was Jeff, we don't get to see them as often as we would like. Life is so busy.

  3. Special wines made for a special occasion. Yes the ripasso is a lesser way to get part of the experience without having to put up the $$$.

    1. Yes, that's what I found and while the ripasso wasn't to the same standard as the Amarone it was still a very good wine.

  4. I didn't realize your daughter was also named Nicole! How fun. So lovely to create an occasion to share the wines.

    1. It was a lovely occasion. Beautiful people deserve beautiful names.


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